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How bizarre How bizarre
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-02-06 10:32:40
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Bhutan monk faces jail for anti-smoking law violation

bizarre01_17A Buddhist monk is likely to face five years in prison for violating strict anti-smoking laws in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan. Police have not named the monk but said he is 24 years old and was caught with 72 packets of chewing tobacco. Bhutan says it is determined to become the world's first smoking-free nation. It banned the sale of tobacco in 2005.

But authorities admit that booming contraband traffic from neighbouring India has largely undermined the ban. Critics say the flow of illegal cigarettes is so strong that the ban has failed to make much of an impact. Kuensel newspaper said that the monk is the first person in the country to be charged under legislation passed in January which prohibits consuming and smuggling tobacco.

An earlier law passed in 2005 gives police sweeping powers to enter homes and search for tobacco products.  In addition it gives them power to jail shopkeepers for selling tobacco and arrest smokers if they fail to provide customs receipts for imported cigarettes - which are only permitted in very small quantities. Smokers can legally import only up to 200 cigarettes or 150 grams of other tobacco products a month. They must provide a customs receipt when challenged by police.

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Dutch prisoner 'too big for cell'


bizarre02_11A Dutch prisoner described by his lawyer as a giant has gone to court over the size of his single cell, arguing that it is inhumanely small. The prisoner, 2.07m tall (6ft 9in) and 230kg (36st), says he cannot properly sleep or use the toilet.

Prison officials have tried to relieve his discomfort by adding a a 2.15m plank and an extra mattress to his bed.

Named by his lawyer as Angelo MacD., he is asking to complete his two-year sentence for fraud under house arrest. His lawyer, Bas Martens, told a court in The Hague that his client's conditions of detention violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Visitors to Ohio shop say Virgin Mary statue is crying


bizarre03_06Some are calling it a miracle. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary that appears to be crying tears inside a Reading, Ohio, shop. In the back of the small shop is a statue of Mother Mary. It looks like she is weeping and there are two teardrops on her face. The statue of Mother Mary crying inside Our Lady Queen of Reading religious lending library is bringing tears to some visitors' eyes.

"I believe it's true. They were there. I saw them. It's true. I would imagine it's a miracle," said one visitor from Amberley Village. Television cameras were not allowed inside, but visitors snapped photos of the Virgin Mary. There are two tear drops on her face, one rests on her chin, the other on her cheek. There is another statue of Jesus sitting at the top of the stairs with tears falling from its eyes.

"I heard about it on the radio and I didn't think much of it. Being here at work and we saw the lineup of people. Out of curiosity I went over and looked and its unbelievable. It's forming. The tear is there. It does not look like it's water or anything. It's real weird, very weird," said Gayle Walker from Reading. Most want to believe what they see.

"Well I have faith that it is. We can't always be sure, but I prayed to her and I feel better about it and I'm glad I came," said one visitor from Reading. There are more visitors arriving every day as word spreads about the crying statues. Visitors who know the owner tells 9 News the owner wanted to keep it a secret for fear the statues would stop crying. Others say they believe the tears are a sign of hope. They believe it should be shared with the community. "You hear about it in other countries and then it's here in Reading of all places. It is a miracle. I think something will come of it, hopefully, something good," Walker said.

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Model pleads not guilty in corkscrew castration


A Portuguese model accused of killing a celebrity TV journalist in a hotel admitted to brutally attacking him for more than an hour -- castrating him with a corkscrew, stabbing him in the face, slamming a computer monitor into his head and stomping on his face, prosecutors said Tuesday. Renato Seabra, 21, remained silent at his arraignment in Manhattan State Supreme Court. His lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

bizarre04_06Court papers presented by prosecutors detailed the statement that police said Seabra gave to investigators after the Jan. 7 death of well-known Portuguese journalist Carlos Castro while the two were vacationing in Manhattan. The account depicted an argument in a hotel room that turned vicious and escalated into a prolonged frenzy -- with Seabra first choking his companion, then stabbing him with a corkscrew in his face and groin. Seabra also admitted to hitting the 65-year-old Castro on the head with a computer monitor and stomping on his face while wearing shoes, the papers said. After the attack, Seabra told police, he showered, put on a suit and left. When he ran into a friend of Castro's as well as her daughter, he at first refused to answer questions about Castro's whereabouts but then said he was in the hotel room and gave them the room number: 3416. He then left the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel, wandered around the city and eventually got into a taxi that took him to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, the papers said.

The city medical examiner has ruled Castro died of head injuries and strangulation. Defense lawyer David Touger said after the hearing that he and his client planned a "vigorous defense" and hoped for a positive outcome, though he would not elaborate. Seabra will remain in custody at Bellevue Hospital until the parties return to court March 4 for motions. Friends in New York have said Castro and Seabra were a couple. But Seabra's mother told Portugal's TVIndependente television network that her son isn't gay and "was not Carlos Castro's lover." Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called "A Procura Do Sonho," or "Pursuit of a Dream," which hunts for modeling talent. He didn't win the show but did get a modeling contract with an agency founded by fashion designer Fatima Lopes, who developed the show and was a judge on it.


     
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