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May 09, 2003

120 people sucked out of plane in Africa
BBC | Submitted by: optional
At least 120 soldiers and civilians were sucked out of a military cargo plane over the Republic of Congo when the aircraft's rear loading ramp suddenly opened mid-flight. One survivor described his harrowing ordeal: "When I woke up the pilot told everyone to get to the front of the plane and there were about 40 of us, but people kept dying... there were only about 20 survivors."

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Forcible colonic ends in prisoner's death
Mainichi Daily News | Submitted by: Tim Howard
According to Japanese prosecutors, a prison guard mortally wounded an inmate by spraying water into his rectum with a fire hose. The guard denies inflicting any injury, but admits dousing the con: "While I was cleaning the cell, another prison guard pointed to the inmate's anus, and I sprayed water on him, thinking that he wanted me to clean him." Evidently the prisoner was unable to move or shield himself because he had been handcuffed.

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Cornered suspect attempts suicide with flare gun
Florida Times-Union | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"When a South Florida SWAT team yesterday captured Anthony 'Bubba' Oyibo, the Jacksonville man suspected in the slaying of his 5-month-old son, he had shot himself in the mouth with a flare gun... 'The smoke was still coming out of his mouth when he was secured,' said spokesman Joe Flescher of the Indian River Sheriff's Office."

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FISA wiretaps suddenly in vogue for FBI surveillance
Wired | Submitted by: Tim Howard
Federal investigators seem to prefer the supersecret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for wiretap approvals, rather than dealing with considerably less sneaky federal judges. While FISA wiretaps significantly increased in 2002, the number of Title III wiretaps actually declined over the same period. Why does this matter? Because total secrecy means no accountability. "Since FISA's inception in 1978, the court has approved every FBI application it has received, despite disclosing last year in a report that the agency had misled FISA judges in 75 cases."

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Taiwanese bra manufacturer retools for SARS
WKMG-TV 6 Orlando | Submitted by: Rio
Due to the shortage of surgical masks resulting from hysteria over the SARS epidemic, Taiwanese residents have been forced into huffing brassiere cups. "A bra factory is producing the make-shift masks, with workers cutting each of its colourful bras into two and sewing on extra straps to help the desperate villagers." Of course, the masks afford no real protection since the virus is primarily acquired through the hands. And besides, what's wrong with a little profiteering?

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Family plunges lemminglike into well
Sun | Submitted by: Tim Howard
A small child and both his parents have drowned after falling into their well. "Police reckon 20-month-old Lukas Baumann fell in first -- moments after dad Franz lifted up the manhole-style cover to get some water. Mechanic Franz, 47, is then believed to have leapt into the 9ft deep water to save him, but got into difficulties. Wife Jutta, 42, jumped in after hearing his shouts for help. But the water was 3ft below the manhole edge -- and neither could reach high enough to climb out." Come on, people: it's called Reach, Throw, Row, Go.

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"Ding, dong, the bitch is dead!"
Wire Services | Submitted by: Tim Howard
A pensioner in the small town of Lauterbach, Germany has been fined $3,000 for publicly celebrating the death of a neighbor. Celebrating how? Evidently he was seen "setting off fireworks and singing in jubilation" as the decedent's coffin was carried away. Did we mention that the dead man was gay?

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Spud guns ruining lives, one frog at a time
CBS News | Submitted by: I weep bitter tears for this young man. Really.
"In the eyes of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, spud guns are not illegal. But across the country, some towns want them outlawed and police are confiscating spud guns regularly." Even through they don't shoot bullets, people are getting injured or killed by projectiles fired from these homemade cannons. One man was permanently blinded when he got shot in the face with a frog. Yes, a frog.

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SARS bad for Asian economies, good for everyone else
Reuters | Submitted by: D. Rango
While scientists and public health workers struggle to get the SARS epidemic under control, economists are beginning to see the bright side. Western economists, that is. If the disease manages to disrupt China's manufacturing exports, that could help drive up prices for Western goods, thus avoiding the deflationary spiral Japan that is stuck in. How long will it be before some country begins releasing biological agents strictly for economic warfare?

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Car thief thwarted by guy with sword
KNBC-TV 4 Los Angeles | Submitted by: Tim Howard
When a suspected car thief fleeing from police in Monrovia, California ran inside some random person's home, he was suddenly faced with its katana-wielding occupant. The swordsman then "confronted the intruder and ordered him outside... The man then held the suspect at sword-point until police arrived." This guy is destined to guest host on the knife show for that home shopping channel. You know the one.

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U.S. doublecrosses terrorist group in Iraq
Washington Post | Submitted by: optional
Three weeks ago, the U.S. signed a treaty with the Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iraqi group which is listed by the State Department as being a terrorist organization. Now we've decided to renege on the pact, because Iranian troops are joining the group. Despite the fact that we were fully aware of this when we struck the deal. One official's take on the situation: "I know it sounds Machiavellian, but it played out that way."

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Patient awake for gall bladder removal
News Corporation | Submitted by: Tim Howard
During gall bladder surgery, a patient woke up when there was an anesthesia failure. As a result, she "experienced complete awareness and full sensation of pain... 'I felt the first incision ... and the pressure of probes pushing around my upper abdomen. The pain went on and on.'" The only twist here is that the patient was herself a physician, and wrote up the experience for an Australian medical journal.

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Grandma arrested after toddler swallows meth
AZ Central | Submitted by: Col. Klink
"A 45-year-old woman is facing felony charges after her 15-month-old grandson became ill from ingesting methamphetamine that authorities said she hid in his crib." The woman is accused of stashing 17 grams of crank in the boy's crib. With photo of grandma.

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Don't drink the water
New York Post | Submitted by: Brownie
Members of an unchartered fraternity at Plattsburgh State have been charged with killing freshman Walter Dean Jennings by "forcing him to drink huge amounts of water through a funnel... The cause of death was listed as water intoxication, a condition where excessive water intake causes the brain to swell."

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Protester fighting the Man with polka dots
AZ Central | Submitted by: Tim Howard
A committee of historic preservationists in Avondale Estates, Georgia rejected Stan Pike's proposal for an unusual round stoop, so he proceeded to paint his house lime green with big purple polka dots. "Pike doesn't plan to stop at dots. Scattering old toilets filled with geraniums tops his to-do list. Meanwhile, City Manager Warren Hutmacher and his staff are searching for a city code that would force Pike to repaint his house a more neutral color, but they've had no luck."

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