News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORIES

-- Hard Times for Canadian Strippers: According to December news reports, Mexico stepped up what had been a low-key immigration policy: Canadian and U.S. nude dancers would no longer be permitted into the country to work under the special "high technology" skills category of NAFTA. And in Winnipeg, Manitoba, stripper Carole Levesque filed a lawsuit against the local police because officers forced her to raise her hands over her head during a drug raid despite her truthful protest that recent breast-enhancement surgery had left her unable to do that without pain.

-- What Goes Around, Comes Around: Since taking control of most of Afghanistan in September 1996, the religious Taliban army has enforced strict, conservative Islamic rule, especially regarding the work, recreation and dress of women. Now, according to a report in the London Daily Telegraph in November, a splinter Muslim group about 200 miles north of Kabul has begun to train a women-only battalion to fight the Taliban. Females from the Hazaras, a Turkic Mongol ethnic group, have been training at a secret location and will soon begin a major recruiting campaign.

-- Tough Guys: In Paris in December, just before being convicted of the murders of two counterespionage agents, international terrorist Carlos the Jackal was sentenced to 10 days' solitary confinement for calling a prison guard a "gnu." Two weeks later, Montreal Canadiens' defenseman Dave Manson underwent surgery to remove a Christmas tree needle that had gotten stuck in his ear.

COMPELLING EXPLANATIONS

-- David S. Marion, 36, and Michael C. Ahorn, 35, were found naked in a car in a public parking lot in East St. Louis, Ill., in November, having sex, and were charged with public indecency. According to the arresting officer, Marion said, "I know it was wrong, but I just couldn't wait."

-- William Garland, the father of the late rap singer Tupac Shakur, fighting for part of Shakur's multimillion-dollar estate in Los Angeles in August, despite his having had no contact with his son after age 5, pointed out at a hearing how he was a good father. For example, he said he would often tuck in little Tupac, a bed-wetter, with another Garland son, also a bed-wetter: "They could pee with each other."

-- In July, Toronto courier Alan Wayne Scott, 47, lost a three-year battle when the Ontario Tax Court ruled that he took improper business deductions. Scott, who makes deliveries on foot and by bicycle, had claimed that his body is a professional vehicle and that operating expenses (shoes, knapsack, the $13 a day in extra high-caloric food he must consume to do his grueling work) should be tax-deductible just like an automobile's expenses are. (And, as Scott pointed out, his machine is environmentally friendly: On the day of the court's decision, a NAFTA report named Ontario the third biggest polluting jurisdiction in North America.)

-- In November in Wasilla, Alaska, Duane Carr was sentenced to 28 months in prison for sexually molesting his 15-year-old baby sitter. Carr maintained that he did not know the girl was under the legal age of 16 because he and the girl are Jehovah's Witnesses, whose members do not celebrate birthdays.

THE CONTINUING CRISIS

-- Crisis at Nike: The winner of September's annual Angeles Crest ultramarathon, which started at the Wrightwood Resort in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles and finished in Pasadena, was Mexican Tarahumara Indian Cirildo Chacarito, 52, in a time of 19 hours and 34 minutes. Incredibly (if one believes shoe ads), Chacarito beat all the guys in $200 running shoes; he ran the race in sandals made from old automobile tires.

-- Robert Kong, 13, was arrested and charged with manufacturing a destructive device, namely a 5 1/2-inch pipe bomb that he had made, gift-wrapped, and presented to a female classmate in Corvallis, Ore., for her birthday. He said he followed the instructions he had seen on an Internet site.

-- In September, officials at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration changed their minds and decided it was OK for employee �Mr. Dale Robb, hired as a counselor in 1996 after 20 years in the military, to report for work every day dressed as a woman named Sabrina. And in an August story, The Washington Post featured a recent tourist, the very masculine Larry Goodwin, 51, of Douglas, Wyo., who took in the sites around town clothed as he usually is, in a dress. Said Goodwin, "I really love the feel of women's clothing."

-- According to a police report in Colerain Township, Ohio, in June, a restaurant manager trying to rid his property of drug paraphernalia turned over a homemade bong pipe that he found in a rear corridor of his building. The bong was actually a hollowed-out potato rigged with masking tape and aluminum foil, with marijuana residue inside, and had to be destroyed by the police, rather than kept as evidence, in that it was perishable food.

-- City Council member Ed Walker of Brier, Wash., was charged in September with spitting on a neighbor who had put up a yard sign touting Walker's opponent in the upcoming election. Said the neighbor to a reporter, "We've got him dead to rights. All we need is a sample of his spit (for DNA testing)."

UNDIGNIFIED DEATHS

-- In September, a basketball player for Southeastern Oklahoma State University was killed near Paris, Texas, when a flying cow hit the car in which he was riding, causing the driver to lose control and crash. The cow had been sent airborne when it was hit by another car.

-- In October, a court in Darwin, Australia, sentenced Christopher Sean Payne, 34, to 54 months in prison for causing the drowning of a 25-year-old woman at a local beach. Justice Sir William Kearney found that, though the intoxicated woman (0.287 blood-alcohol reading) had voluntarily gone underwater to perform fellatio on Payne, he deliberately held the victim's head too long in a "selfish" desire to "gratify yourself, to prolong your pleasure" and showed a lack of remorse in the aftermath.

RECURRING THEME

Latest Attempts by Women to Use the Law to Enforce Prostitution Contracts: In November, three teen-age girls were arrested after they called police in Oneida, N.Y., to ask for help because a man who had just had sex with them and paid them with a check for $1,500 wrote it on an out-of-state bank that the girls couldn't get cashed. And in June, a judge in Salt Lake City dismissed Kathleen Ferguson's lawsuit against Zions First National Bank for repossessing her truck. She had sued, believing she could keep the truck because she worked out a deal by having sex with the repo man.

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 8306, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33738, or Weird@compuserve.com. Chuck Shepherd's latest paperback, "The Concrete Enema and Other News of the Weird Classics," is now available at bookstores everywhere. To order it direct, call 1-800-642-6480 and mention this newspaper. The price is $6.95 plus $2 shipping.)

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