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Dubious distinctions



How others saw it: a selective sample of 1997 press clippings;;Hair's to you;Jan. 5;The (Auckland, New Zealand) Sunday Star-Times;;Kiwi men who fear going bald may soon be able to ensure they keep their locks for life. Hairdressers here are monitoring the success of a hair bank which has just been established in Orlando, Florida. Clients can store their snipped-off tresses which, if necessary, can later be used in wigs. "Keeping hair in good condition wouldn't be too much of a problem," says Hibiscus Coast hairdresser Davina Mayland. "And this idea could be a winner in New Zealand." ;;Tibet or not Tibet;May 1;Asia Times;;Over the past 15 years more than 60 million tourists visiting Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, have marveled at a film called "Wonders of China." A vertigo-inducing movie that literally envelops its audience, the Circle Vision 360 film takes people on a flight across China that ends in the autonomous mountain regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.;;"China is so vast that even within her borders there are distant lands," the film notes. The airborne camera then dramatically circles the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama as the narrator intones: "The Potala Palace dominates the city of Lhasa, the way Buddhism dominates Tibetan life.";;But China today is on the lookout for anything that hints its authority is less than total. And Disney, which stood firm in its decision to distribute Martin Scorsese's upcoming Tibet film "Kundun," is ready to compromise. So, starting this month, Tibet is no longer among the wonders of China: all references to Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhism have been excised.;;The film's editing has raised no outcry in Hollywood, which views the deletions as part of the logical rapprochement Disney must make if it is serious about building a number of theme parks in China.;;Women and children first;June 24;The (London) Independent;;The coding on the side of the missile fragment was difficult to read. When an Israeli helicopter pilot fired his rocket into the back of an ambulance in southern Lebanon on April 13 last year -- killing four small children and two women -- it detonated into dozens of pieces. But the legend "AGM 114C" identified it as a 5-foot-3-inch American-made Hellfire -- "AGM" stands for air-to-ground missile -- jointly made by Rockwell International in Duluth, Georgia, and by Martin Marietta of Orlando, Florida. How did a U.S. missile earmarked for the Marine Corps kill Lebanese women and children? The trail from the Middle East to Washington finds that Israel's arms build-up is coming at the expense of America's own armed forces. ;;Dead wrong;June 30;Ethiopian Review;;It has been over four years since Almaz Andarge's body was found in a luxury hotel room in one of the most exclusive areas of Orlando, Florida. The Clarion-Plaza Hotel sits on International Drive off Interstate 4 and is one of Florida's busiest tourist spots. It was in one of this hotel's rooms that Almaz's body was found slumped over an air-conditioning unit with a window blind cord wrapped around her neck. Orange County Sheriff's Office detectives at the scene presumed it was an "open and shut" case and concluded it was "suicide" without much investigation.;;On July 18, 1996, four years after Almaz's death, a Florida Compensation Claims judge ruled that she did not commit suicide. He stressed that the sheriff's investigators came to their conclusion based on misinformation and incomplete investigation.;;The judge expressed his regret that the investigation into Almaz's death may not be fully completed because after four years, evidence can be tampered with and contaminated.;;Fare warning;Sept. 14;The (Auckland, New Zealand) Sunday Star-Times;;My advice to any serious nighthawk planning to visit Orlando, Florida, is this: Take a good map. Or, better still, put aside enough funds for long spells in cabs. The city's best bars, restaurants and clubs are spread over a huge area and with little more than the towering searchlights of Disney World and Universal Studios to guide you, getting lost is inevitable. Not to be missed, however, is a bar called Bib Bamboo, where disgruntled Disney cast members/employees go to let off steam. ;;Shocking development;Sept. 14;The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union;;Florida's electric chair might be on hiatus while the Supreme Court determines whether it's cruel and unusual, but an Orlando tourist attraction is firing up its own version of "Old Sparky." A mock electric chair is planed for the WonderWorks attraction under construction on International Drive. A press release promises it "shocks guests as they strap in for a jolting experience.";;Death penalty foes say they're not amused.;;Lip schtick;Sept. 16;Scottish Daily Record;;Waitress Becky Howell won a Porsche -- after kissing it for 33 hours, 17 minutes. Becky, 31, of Orlando, Florida, beat 14 rivals in the bizarre competition, but suffered cramped legs, a swollen neck and two loose teeth.;;Love taps;Oct. 13;"Dateline";;Ryan O'Donnell and Rob Lukas said they were hit by Courtney Love while attending her band's concert in Orlando, Florida. And prosecutors charged Love with two counts of battery. During the trial, Love's attorney suggested that alternative music concerts, like those of Courtney Love, tend to get rough, and that by showing up at her concert, the boys had consented to be part of the rough physical contact that goes along with it.;;Stardust memories;Oct. 16;Moscow News;;Svetlana Nugzarova has worked in the Moscow Circus for 45 years. She performs acrobatics on horseback with her family. Crowds have hailed them with ovations in every circus of the world. But after the Moscow Circus moved to Orlando last February hoping to open a permanent and money-generating branch, sometimes as few as 50 people would turn up for the show. In May the circus was forced to close down. One time the troupe had to cancel a show -- only 10 tickets had been sold. And the tent has a capacity of 1,600 people!;;The troupe believes that the organizers were stingy with the advertising.;;"I don't believe that we have failed," Svetlana Nugzarova told U.S. journalists. "We have never failed anywhere before.";;Booty-scootin';Nov. 30;Scottish Sunday Mail;;A line-dancing club has been closed down because gorgeous girls taught routines in the nude. Authorities were stunned to find the girls just wore cowboy boots and spurs at The Silver Spurs Dance Studio near Orlando, Florida. ;;Over and out;Dec. 4;The Economist;;If the arrival of the digital highway is not being greeted with much fanfare, then history is to blame. Five years ago John Malone, head of the biggest American cable-TV firm, Tele-Communications Inc., announced that television was on the verge of the 500-channel digital world; Time Warner followed this with its much-trumpeted interactive television trials in Orlando, Florida. When they failed miserably and shares in cable companies dropped, attention turned to other methods of delivery, such as satellite or telephone lines.

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