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Wide World of Weird

October 16, 1998

A weekly roundup of unusual news stories from around the globe:

When Chickens Go Bad: A man in a chicken suit tried to rob a post office in Sweden on Wednesday, police said. The robber, disguised in a yellow chicken outfit and wielding a baseball bat, failed to steal any money from the post office in Kalmar, southern Sweden. However, the attacker smashed windows and seriously upset a female cashier.

"She's now psychologically disturbed by the event and undergoing treatment," a Kalmar police spokesman told Reuters.

Rats Join Worldwide Animal Conspiracy: Thousands of university applicants in Uganda were left in limbo after rats chewed through computer cables at the National Examination Board and crashed the computer system, a newspaper reported.

Earlier this year, rats gobbled up telecommunications wires in the African country, cutting off phone links to parts of western Uganda and Rwanda. And just last week it was reported that reams of vital computerized court evidence had been lost because of rats chewing up computer cables.

The Gandhi Police?: Sao Paulo police are being encouraged to study the ways of Mahatma Gandhi in an effort to curb violence by Brazil's security forces.

Police officers in South America's largest city have killed 4,745 people and wounded 14,693 others over the last seven years, prompting officials to rethink the way they do their job, local news wire Agencia Estado reported.

"These numbers [are] worrying," a police colonel said. Under the Gandhi and Non-Violence Project, Sao Paulo cops may opt to study the statesman's peaceful opposition to British rule in India and then write essays or fictional accounts on the theme of pacifist methods to achieve justice.

China's Porn Police Crack Down on Starr Report: China's antipornography authorities have seized a Chinese version of the Starr report, branding it an "illicit publication" for its graphic descriptions of sex in the White House.

Is Abominable Snowman Really a Bear?: A Tyrolean adventurer says he has destroyed the legend of the Yeti, the mythical creature that has terrified Tibetans for thousands of years. Contrary to popular myth, the Yeti or Abominable Snowman is not a humanoid ape but a large bear, and there are about 1,000 roaming Nepal and Tibet, usually at night, Reinhold Messner announced at the world's biggest book fair.

Better Late Than Never: Whoever it was carried the guilt for more than 50 years and wanted to set things right.

Someone sent an anonymous letter from the Phoenix suburb of Youngtown to a northern Idaho high school, addressed "to principal." Inside was $50 and a note: "Money taken from girl students in 1944 or 1945, plus interest. I'm sorry. Please excuse."

John Myers, principal of Lakeland High School in Rathdrum, Idaho, said it's never too late to make amends. "That person needs to know that they created a great lesson for us."

News McNuggets:

* A South African man killed a leopard with a screwdriver after it attacked villagers near the massive Kruger National Park.

* On Monday, the same thief apparently robbed the same Toledo, Ohio, restaurant for the fifth time in the last eight months. "I guess it works for him, so he keeps coming back," Sgt. Tim Noble said.

* Edible cheese-covered mealworms are just one of many treats awaiting brave-hearted, strong-stomached visitors to the Insectarium, a Philadelphia museum filled with thousands of butterflies, moths and other insects--some alive in naturalized habitats, the rest mounted on walls.

* Wide World of Weird is published every Friday. Off-Kilter appears Monday through Thursday.

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