Brazilian legislator Wilson Lima told reporters in April that he stood behind his proposal to require clubs and bars to maintain three restrooms (one for men, one for women and one for and gays and transvestites seeking protection from homophobic males), even though Brazil's largest gay-rights organization said it was horrified by such a prospect.
In rabies and in health
The ritzy Barra da Tijuca suburb of Rio de Janeiro is preparing for the October high-society wedding of Pepezinha and Winner, which will be an extravagant ceremony even though the bride and groom are dogs (a shih tzu and a cairn terrier). Pepezinha's owner, Vera Loyola, lives on an estate just down the road from the notorious Rocinha slum, a symbol of Rio's nauseating poverty. Said Loyola (who always serves her pooch its food on silver platters), "I believe my little Pepezinha is worth every cent."
According to the Massachusetts speaker of the House, the legislature's all-night session of April 13 -- in which the state budget was up for vote -- was more a giant "keg party" than a serious deliberation, with members drifting into the chamber from various receptions and some falling asleep at their desks. At one point, according to a Boston Herald story, the presiding officer asked the assembly, "Are you leaders or followers?" "We lead!" the representatives chanted, then broke into a cry of "Toga! Toga!" Giggles of joy were reportedly heard when legislators voted to fund their favorite obscure projects.
In January, at an open-air market in Kunming, China, an appliance dealer had his hand chopped off by a competitor who was upset that his rival was underpricing him.
Pink slip, golden parachute
In February, Coca-Cola CEO Douglas Ivester, who had just laid off 6,000 employees, received a retirement package of $17.8 million plus $3 million per year. The following month, John B. McCoy of Bank One was granted a send-off of $10.3 million plus $3 million per year after laying off 5,100 workers. And Sidney H. Kosann, CEO of Shelby Yarn in Shelby, N.C., who was reportedly earning a $300,000 salary and living in a $500,000 home, filed in February for state unemployment compensation immediately after he closed the company and put 650 people out of work.
Carrying a torch
According to figures released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and cited by the London Daily Telegraph in March, hundreds of Pakistani women are deliberately burned to death each year by their husbands, either for imagined infidelity or (increasingly) for economic reasons; some Muslim men, it is said, are finding it harder to maintain two-wife households during lean times.
Eighty-eight orbiting satellites (total value: $5 billion) will soon be allowed to vaporize by the Iridium telephone company, which lost hope in April and May of being rescued from bankruptcy. Iridium failed to last even 16 months, due to rapid and supposedly unanticipated improvements in digital cellular technology that made its bulky and expensive handsets useful only in remote areas. (Among the users of Iridium telephones were Chechen rebels at war with the Russian army.)
In March, Massachusetts officials shut down a day-care center in the town of Hudson, following reports that a caretaker duct-taped an infant to a wall for amusement. And a February Associated Press report touted Harrisburg, Ill., artist Keith Drone's line of duct-tape clothing, including baseball caps, wallets, pants, belts and a bikini. The products are "really cool looking," Drone said. "If it breaks, just put a piece of duct tape on it."
A police ethics committee in Montreal reprimanded officer Robert Royal in March, after he forced a motorist he had stopped for a traffic violation to follow him on his high-speed chase of another car. Royal was citing Pierre Boileau for an illegal U-turn when another officer summoned Royal to help him pursue another driver. Rather than let Boileau go, Royal ordered him to follow the chase, which reached a speed of about 70 mph (in a 30 mph zone). After Royal caught up to the second car -- the wrong vehicle, as it turned out -- he finished writing Boileau's ticket and sent him on his way.
Four years ago, Edward Weslock left his wife and fled New York City for France with the couple's entire $4 million in cash, leaving his spouse to support herself with modest jobs and suffer her eventual eviction from the family apartment. Since then, she has won several court orders against Weslock in the U.S. and his native Canada, but he has avoided the judgments by staying away from both countries. However, when Weslock stealthily returned to the United States for a brief April visit, Ms. Weslock got wind of his arrival and had him arrested. He had come back to have a new hairpiece fitted.
Swine before Pearl
In May, Enfield, N.C., resident Roger Powell, 59, was arrested for molesting a pig. He explained his odd behavior by pointing out that sex with his human girlfriend is undesirable because she is a "crack whore."