News you may have missed...
April 1999

S.Korean fragrant suits prove heaven scent

SEOUL, April 12 (Reuters) - Stumbling home after a night out at a pub in southern Seoul, office worker Lee Gyung-wook stands outside his apartment building, shaking and rubbing his suit. Though he gobbled down spicy side dishes and mugfuls of draft beer in smoky surroundings, Lee, 31, does not have to tiptoe into the apartment afraid that he is reeking of booze and cigarettes. Instead, Lee enters with a confident, if slightly wobbly stride, smelling sweetly of lavender. Scented suits from three local clothing companies -- Kolon International, LG Fashion, and Essess Heartist -- have become something of fashion rage in the hard-drinking male culture of this blue collar capital of South Korea. The three companies recently began selling suits made from fabric soaked in a chemical containing perfumed micro-capsules. When popped, they give off fragrances whenever the wearer moves or touches his suit. The average lifespan of the micro-capsules is about three years, or 15 to 20 drycleanings. Popular among office workers in their 20s and 30s, the suits range from about $250 to $400 a piece and come in various colours and designs.

LG Fashion was the first to launch scented menswear in mid-January, when the company began selling lavender suits at its retail and department stores throughout the country. "The men's suit industry was hit hard by the economic crisis, so we had to come up with a clever marketing plan. And that's why we began producing the scented suits," LG spokesperson Suh Young-ju said. The lavender suits were a hit. All 1,000 suits, which came in five styles in LG's winter collection, were sold out by early February. "People like the idea because it adds another useful function without having to pay extra," said Suh. Buoyed by its early success, LG Fashion quickly shipped 100 lavender suits to showcase at its retail shop in Los Angeles. Kolon International followed suit by selling peppermint formal and casual menswear with the catch phrase, "controlling myself with the fragrance". Its new "scent-wear," launched in late February, takes up about 10 percent of Kolon's menswear production and is outselling its regular suit lines. "We put out about 3,500 scented suits at the end of last month and we've already sold over 1,000 pieces, a more than satisfactory result considering the fact that we are still in an economic slump," said Kolon spokesman Park Suk-jin At about the same time, Essess Heartist, a fashion house of Samsung Corp, stocked its stores with about 8,000 pine-scented suits and jackets. In a matter of weeks, the company had sold over 3,000 suits without any television or print advertisements.

The suits are not only keeping the makers happy, but the buyers too. "My lavender (scented) suit helps me keep the peace at home," said office worker Lee Gyung-wook. "Without it, my parents would be all over me because of the stench of soju (Korean liquor) and spicy sidedishes after nights out with my colleagues and friends," Lee said. "It's a huge relief since I no longer have to pour cheap cologne all over me. All I have to do now is just shake and shimmy in front of my house, and then go in with a frown on my face, saying, 'Man, I hate nightshifts'," he added. Moon Chol-ho, 28, who was buying a scented suit at Essess Fashion, said: "After a hard day's work, we don't smell good with sweat. It's nice to wear the scented suit. It doesn't give off an unpleasant smell to others."

All three fashion houses say they had more in mind than money when they began producing the scented suits this year. The companies said the suits appeal to people because lavender, peppermint, and pine have therapeutic effects such as relieving stress and clearing the mind. "We wanted to lift the spirits of stress-worn office workers who are suffering physically and mentally due to the economic downturn," said Suh from LG. "Aromatherapy has become big here in Korea, so many of our customers ask if the suit they picked comes in the scented model," said Essess Heartist spokesman Shim Mun-bo. But one local aromatherapist expressed doubt over its effectiveness as the scents are dulled by capsulisation. "Lavender relaxes the body and mind while pine-scent is good for clearing the lungs and blood. Peppermint could have some perfume effect, but it is not commonly used in aromatherapy," said an aromatherapist at Korea Aroma Co.

Brazil's Playboy boasts all-star lineup

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Any Playboy magazine editor knows that simply filling pages with photos of beautiful nude women is not enough to make copies fly off newsstand racks. What is really needed is an erotic pictorial of a top celebrity. And nowhere in Playboy's huge, 17-nation empire are stars as eager to strip for their adoring fans as in Brazil, where admiration of the human form competes with soccer as the leading national pastime. Singers, actresses, Olympic athletes, even political activists line up to bare all on the glossy pages of the popular men's magazine. Such immodesty by Brazil's rich and famous has helped make its Playboy edition the No. 1 selling version outside the United States.

For years, Playboy has served as a shortcut to the top for budding stars. Marilyn Monroe, Kim Bassinger and Sharon Stone all kicked off their careers on its pages. But editions of Playboy in the United States, Germany and other countries tend to lure unknown actresses trying to break out of the B-movie rut or mature stars hoping to boost flagging careers. In Brazil, Playboy nabs the biggest stars at the peak of their popularity. "The American Playboy also looks for the hot stars but Brazilian culture makes this a lot easier for us," said Ricardo Setti, editor of Brazil's Playboy. "The U.S. culture of political correctness and militant feminism is very strong and a top star who can get $20 million for a film is not going to pose nude for a fraction of that if it will hurt her public image and upset sponsors," he said.

Far from tarnishing images, Playboy is prestigious in Brazil, a country famous for its steamy soap operas, sultry Carnival and revealing thong bikinis. A photo layout in Playboy is a rite of passage for Brazilian stars, a sign they have made it in a fiercely competitive entertainment industry. And competition is heating up as the millennium approaches. Playboy is toying with the idea of offering the cover of the January 2000 edition to the star whose cover edition sold the most copies throughout Playboy's 24-year history in Brazil.

Until recently, model Adriane Galisteu, girlfriend of the late Brazilian Formula One racing legend Ayrton Senna, appeared to have the prize in the bag with her August 1995 edition that sold 1 million copies. But Suzana Alves, a 20-year-old ballerina turned soft S&M queen has just broken the record, selling 1.2 million copies of the March 1999 edition. Alves plays the seductive "Tiazinha," or "Auntie," on a popular TV variety show. Each week night she parades in thong underwear, a teddy, high heels and a Zorro mask in front of two male volunteers who have been strapped to reclining chairs wearing nothing but silk boxers. If the cheering teenage audience fails to answer current event questions correctly, Auntie doles out the punishment: playful swats with a riding crop or painful removal of leg and chest hair with wide strips of tape. "My character was ideal for an appearance in Playboy," Alves told Reuters in an interview. "If I had not done it my fans would have gone crazy." The young star said it was not just money that finally got her to shed her trademark outfit, which left little of Brazil's leading sex symbol to be revealed. "Everybody here wants to be in Playboy. After the fifth time they asked me to do it I thought I would lose my chance, that this would be the last offer," she said.

Still, money matters a lot. Playboy is published in Brazil by the powerful Grupo Abril, Latin America's largest publisher. With the backing of such a strong publishing house, it can offer top stars nearly $500,000 including modeling fees and a share of newsstand sales. Prior to devaluation in January the figure was closer to $800,000. Few other Playboy editions outside the United States can come up with such an enticement. The newsstand price of the magazine is also high at $4 in a country where the minimum wage is just $75 a month. Some low-income Brazilians, anxious to get a peak at Tiazinha's March issue, paid 50 cents to enterprising countrymen who rented out their copies for three-minute glimpses of the star.

Gary Cole, photography director at Playboy's headquarters in Chicago, said it is becoming increasingly important to get a recognizable face on the cover to boost sales. He admitted Brazil had the edge in this department. "In Brazil, there is a more relaxed attitude toward nudity. Things are a little more uptight in the United States but we have had our fair share of breakthroughs," Cole said, noting the magazine recently featured super model Cindy Crawford, some 10 years after her first appearance in Playboy. But Cole said Playboy did not always need a TV celebrity or glamorous model. In fact, one of the most sought-after models in recent times has been former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who has declined all offers so far. "She really has two choices now. She can try to slip away and hide and hope the public forgets her or she can do something like Playboy," Cole said. "We think people would be very interested in seeing Monica. We think she is a very beautiful girl -- but we would have to work on the weight."

Not surprisingly, Brazil has had better luck at getting politics into its pages. The closest it ever got to a Monica Lewinsky was a 1992 pictorial of Wanya Guerreiro, who was having affairs at the same time with the brother and the chief of staff of former President Fernando Collor. Guerreiro topped the cover of the June 1992 edition under the title "National Scandal." In 1997, Playboy created an uproar among the ranks of Brazil's stodgy left when it persuaded a prominent member of a landless workers movement to pose nude. Prior to the photo shoot, former President Jose Sarney, a centrist, wrote a moving newspaper column defending the woman's right to appear in Playboy without seeking the approval of movement leaders. "We have had our little Monica Lewinskys," Brazil Playboy's Setti boasted.

What's in a name? In Brazil, literally anything

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Sherlock Holmes or Michael Jackson? Rock Hudson or Ben Hur? Dead, alive, even fictional -- they are immortalized in Brazil, where anything and everything can inspire a name. In a country where one state governor is called "Holy Hand" and a member of the national women's soccer squad goes by the name of pop star Michael Jackson, few eyebrows are raised at what must be one of the world's strangest collection of names. Nothing is sacred when Brazilians name their children and their imaginations know no limits. Classical deities, soccer and soap opera stars, clothing labels, even soap brands are fair game, as are any acronym, abbreviation, number or word written backward.

One frequently told story is about the maid who named her daughter "Madeinusa" after fetching a pile of laundry to put in the washing machine. Asked by her employer how she chose the name, she is supposed to have replied: "I was just getting your clothes to wash and I read the label on your T-shirt and the word 'Made in USA.' I thought it was so nice." Apart from the memorable Madeinusa, words for names are found in places such as Pennsylvania or Tanzania and even brands of soap or film such as Lux or Kodak.

What Brazilian could resist the inspiration of soccer, the national passion? Brazil's lineup at the 1970 World Cup, considered by many to be the greatest team ever, produced a display of artistry that has become the stuff of legend. Such was the rejoicing in Brazil when the national team dazzled and danced its way to a 4-1 win over Italy in the final in Mexico City that six Brazilian icons -- Tostao, Pele, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto, Gerson and Jairzinho -- found their nicknames amalgamated into a single name, Tospericagerja. Soccer is taken so seriously that when goalkeeper Taffarel's two dramatic penalty saves put Brazil into the World Cup finals last July, for ecstatic parents there was only one way for the player to be properly honored. A baby born in Brasilia at the moment Taffarel made his first save was named Bruna Taffarel de Carvalho and another born in Belo Horizonte at the moment of the second match-winning save was named Igor Taffarel Marques.

"People are very inventive, they take the first two letters of the father's name and then half the mother's," said one pediatrician with a private practice in Rio's fashionable district of Leblon who preferred not to be identified. "I don't see it in my practice here but it happens at the public hospital where I also work. It tends to be poorer people who don't look ahead (to the baby's future), they see a name they like ... or take one from the books you buy at newsstands," the physician said. A popular practice is combining words to make an entirely original name, particularly if famous people are involved. Avagina, for example, pays homage to actresses Ava Gardner and Gina Lolobrigida.

While adults bearing unorthodox names have the right to apply for a change, many seem to be happy with their lot. Rock Hudson Lopes da Silva, 25, who works at a Brasilia drugstore, was named after the suave actor who died in 1985. He said he liked his name and had never wanted to change it. "It was very common at that time to give these types of names. My father read the name in a newspaper, liked it and gave it to me. And my mother had nothing against it," he said. Numbers are popular as names, whatever the language. "I think the strangest name belonged to a very rich sugar cane planter from Pernambuco (state) named Um Dois Tres de Oliveira Quatro (1-2-3 of Oliveira 4)," said Hungarian-born Thomas Hartmann, who has lived in Brazil for nearly 50 years and has long been fascinated by its strange names. "But there is one family with children who are named from Un (1) to Catorze (14) in French." The family, whose surname is Rosado, comes from the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte and now boasts a "Vingt Un Rosado" ("21 Rosado").

Although many of Brazil's weirdest names are found among poorer sections of society, people in positions with a degree of authority can also boast some fairly exotic monickers. The governor of Piaui state goes by the names of Mao Santa, or "Holy Hand," while a congressman who won the most votes in last year's state elections in Mato Grosso do Sul is a constitutional law professor called Ben-Hur Ferreira. Hartmann said he believed the frequency of unusual names was a result of inadequate education, common in a nation where many leave school early and work to support their families. "A lot of people are only half-educated and they can reach some pretty high positions. Many of these people get to be deputies and senators," he said. Interest in Brazil's wealth of bizarre names gathered momentum after its new constitution in 1946, when the government began to publish detailed lists of electors. The sheer diversity and extravagance of some names sparked huge media interest, various academic studies and now a number of Web sites on the Internet devoted to the subject.

In Brazil's Congress, there have been at least three attempts to restrict the practice of giving names that could be considered humiliating to the bearer. The law now in force dates from 1973 and allows officials the right to refuse to register a name they think might expose the child to ridicule. The parents may appeal but the child can legally do nothing until he or she has reached 22. Many Brazilians with unusual names view them as normal and pass them down to their children without a second thought. But Rock Hudson said he had no intention of seeing his name bequeathed to any children. "I haven't got any children but if I did I would give them a normal name, like Mateus ... or maybe Jonathan in English."

Drunken tank mine dare kills three in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, March 21 (Reuters) - Three Cambodians were killed when they set off an antitank mine during a drunken game at a provincial restaurant, a newspaper reported on Sunday. A local militiaman, a tax collector and another civilian were drinking in a restaurant in the southeastern province of Svay Rieng last weekend when the militiaman placed the 25-year-old mine under the table, Rasmei Kampuchea reported. "They started playing with it with their feet and stepping on it," the paper said. Other diners and villagers fled and the mine exploded with a thunderous roar minutes later, killing the three men instantly, it said. After decades of armed conflict, Cambodia remains strewn with landmines and unexploded ordnance. Accidents are common despite warnings by the authorities not to tamper with the devices.

Romanian footballer and girlfriend found dead in car

BUCHAREST, March 23 (AFP) - Romanian footballer Mario Bugeanu and his girlfriend have been found suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning in a car parked in a garage, police said here on Tuesday. The naked bodies of the former Rapid Bucharest midfielder, who was contracted to first division Gloria Bistrita, and his girlfriend Mirela Iancu were found by the player's father. The body of Mirela was found in the back seat of the car, while Bugeanu's was lying beside the car. Attempts to revive the two failed, police said. According to preliminary reports, neighbours were alerted after they heard the car motor running while the garage door was closed. Bugeanu, 24, and his 23-year-old girlfriend died after having sex on Sunday in a garage with the car running, police colonel Dumitru Secrieru said.

Contempt of court...

TORONTO - Among a group of motorists who lost their driving licenses in a Toronto court in a 10-day period last month, eight promptly got into their cars and attempted to drive away. Police were watching, flabbergasted. The eight were quickly apprehended and charged again, Toronto Police Inspector Gary Wright told Reuters. Police had been keeping the courthouse under surveillance as part of a 10-day project at the end of March after realizing that driving bans were not being taken seriously.

Parrot hunters burned in Florida accident

CLEARWATER, Fla., April 12 (Reuters) - Two men were burned, one severely, in an ill-fated attempt to catch wild parrots at an electrical substation, a Florida sheriff's deputy said on Monday. The men were using a metal pole to try to dislodge parrot hatchlings from their perch atop an electric transformer at a Florida Power Corp substation in Clearwater, the Pinellas County Sheriff's office said. Damien O'Connell, 18, was shocked with electricity from a 15,000-volt source and suffered second- and third-degree burns on about half his body. He was in serious but stable condition on Monday at Tampa General Hospital, a spokeswoman said. James Martin Sr., 40, was standing next to O'Connell when the younger man was zapped, and was burned on his legs. He was listed in fair but stable condition on Monday at Tampa General. His son, James Martin Jr., 15, joined the expedition but was not injured, investigators said.

The three apparently slipped through a locked, barbed-wire-topped fence plastered with "Danger" signs and were trying to capture wild parrots that roost among electric transformers in the enclosure, sheriff's investigators said. Martin's wife Pamela described the parrot hunting as "a little hobby." "They like to go looking for those little baby Quaker parrots. I'm not saying where they went was right, but this was an accident," she told the St. Petersburg Times. The parrots, green with gray bellies, are known as monk or Quaker parrots and find the electric substations an alluring nesting site because they are warm and usually free from predators. Sheriff's deputies said O'Connell and the elder Martin could be charged with trespassing when they recover. The elder Martin could also face child endangerment charges.

Cross-dressers suspected in Calif purse-snatchings

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., April 13 (Reuters) - At least one and possibly four male cross-dressers are suspected of committing a string of purse-snatchings near this northern California beach town, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department said Jaime Bracamonte, a 20-year-old transvestite, appeared in court on Tuesday on charges that he and three cohorts stole a purse last week from a clerk in a flower shop in Aptos, Calif. Allyn said detectives believe the four cross-dressers are responsible for at least a dozen similar crimes in the county over the past few months. "They go into an office building or a business, and a few of them divert the victim's attention while the others steal items," Allyn said. Bracamonte, of nearby Watsonville, Calif., was arrested after the flower shop clerk picked him out of a photo line-up. Allyn said the 240-pound Bracamonte was wearing a dress and makeup when authorities arrested him on Monday morning. "This is a rather large Hispanic man making an attempt at being a woman," Allyn said. "I'm not sure it was working."

Dial X for sex in Vienna's brothel-on-wheels

VIENNA, March 30 (Reuters) - Feeling frisky in Vienna? Call Erotik Taxi. The mobile brothel sends out a black stretch Cadillac for $250 an hour complete with chauffeur, call-girl or boy, drinks, hard-core porn videos and condoms. Mileage is unlimited but the route is of little importance to passengers who show scant interest in a scenic spin around Vienna's imperial sights. "They're busy making out en route, they haven't got time to take in the sights," said the manager of Vienna Erotik Taxi and the Sweet Dreams escort and modelling agency, who asked to be identified only as Albert. "People come to us because we offer a thrilling alternative to sex at home or in a hotel," he said. Most of the clients are businessmen, who use the service to pick them up at the airport or ferry them around the city between appointments. With the going rate for a house call at $180 an hour, Albert feels his service offers good value at only $70 more.

The lovemobile, which he says is unique in Europe but popular in the United States, has gone down so well in Vienna since its inception in October that another Cadillac has been ordered. "Our girls are top-notch and we cater to every taste. Blonde, black, or redheads. Tall, short, big-bosomed or ones who specialise in certain acts," Albert said. Clients can choose from 40 women aged 19 to 40 pictured on the agency's website. There is also a handful of men on offer. The cab is also booked for bachelor parties, coming of age bashes as well as for wedding presents. The limousine's bar is stocked with beer, wine, sparkling wine and spirits and in case of particularly thirsty customers, the boot serves as a reserve cellar. "Anything and everything goes," Albert said in reference to car conduct rules. "But we don't provide under age escorts and we insist that people use rubbers (condoms). If they want sex without, we tell them to go to a bordello."

The taxi service is mindful of clients' desire for privacy. The chauffeur remains in the driver's seat throughout the trip and has no contact whatsoever with the client. Only the escort meets her passenger. "I get to meet so many interesting people from all walks of life," cooed a 20-year-old raven-haired call-girl called Nina in a thick Hungarian accent. "Some want it this way, others like it that way. It's a great job because there's so much variety." The eight-metre (26 feet) long limousine's windows are blacked out on all four sides, including the partition separating the driver from his passengers. Even with the lights on inside and the television running, people outside can barely see in. The mobile love-nest is also fully soundproof and the doors lock automatically once the car starts moving to avoid unsolicited interruption from the street. Contact with the chauffeur, whose main requirement is to offer a smooth drive and clean up afterwards, can be made only by hammering hard on the partition.

There is no limit to how many clients or escorts pile into the cab at one time, save space confines, perhaps. If a customer wants to frolic with two or more escorts, he pays an extra $250 each. The car can be ordered for trips anywhere, even abroad. A regular German customer booked the limo for a whole weekend in Munich at a cost of $5,000. Bookings are made via the internet or by telephone. Each call is traced back to the caller within five minutes to check against hoaxes. "We have to screen callers as we get our fair share of perverts and pranksters," said Erotik telephonist Kristina. Albert said the police leave his service alone as the business as well as his escorts is registered with the authorities. No illegal immigrants are employed, he added. Should police decide to carry out a spot check, however, they would probably not find the canoodlers strapped in, as required by law...Or maybe not.

Israeli motorist ticketed for sex drive

JERUSALEM, March 24 (Reuters) - Drivers beware: unsafe sex is a punishable offence on Israel's highways. Police said on Wednesday they had ticketed a driver for reckless driving on Tuesday while he had sex on the coastal highway with a hitchhiking woman he picked up. "I saw a naked girl sitting on the driver and they were having sex," a prison guard, who was driving along the same road, told Israel's Maariv newspaper. The guard, who saw the car zigzagging along at a speed of 40 kph (25 mph), signalled the couple to pull over beside the road and called traffic police who arrived to find them still naked. Police said the driver told them: "While driving I became attracted to her. She was a pretty girl and I forgot myself."

Car sex could get you three years' jail-Italy court

ROME, April 9 (Reuters) - In the movies, Kevin Costner and Sean Young did it in a taxi in Washington DC. Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet did it a vintage car below deck on the Titanic. But from now on in Italy, sex in the backseat could get you three years in jail. Italy's highest appeals court has quashed a 300,000 lire ($176) fine imposed on a couple caught making love in a car for engaging in an "indecent public act". In its judgment late on Thursday, however, the Court of Cassation found that car sex constitutes the more serious crime of an "obscene act", which is punishable by up to three years in prison. It sent the case back to the lower court. "It is true that times change and that certain nakedness which at first was considered inoffensive only in nudist camps has now become accepted with general indifference...However, (sex in a car) has to be considered an obscene act," it said. "A sexual act that is certainly not obscene in private becomes so if it is done in a public road," the court said. Offenders can escape jail only if their car's windows are "covered" so passers-by cannot see inside, it added.

The verdict prompted mixed reactions among Italians -- not a shy population when it comes to public displays of affection. For many Italians who stay at home with their parents until their late 20s and early 30s, romantic spots such as the riviera in Naples or Rome's Gianicolo hill overlooking the city are the perfect backdrops to romantic moments in parked cars. "The verdict is quite correct, but it punishes a typically Italian phenomenon," Italian author Carmen Llera Moravia told the Milan daily Corriere della Sera. But the manager of Italian porn star Cicciolina, Riccardo Schicchi, slammed the verdict. "Making love in cars has its own history and its dignity. Just think of drive-ins," he said.

Dryer lint proves happy medium for Canadian artist

CALGARY, March 22 (Reuters) - Canadian artist Bill Gardner would not argue with critics who dismiss his work as pure fluff. After all, that's exactly what it is. Gardner is making a name for himself in the art world with his prized portraits and still-life scenes made exclusively of lint from his clothes dryer. So far, the 42-year-old Calgary artist's works, such as uncanny lint likenesses of Britain's Queen Elizabeth and O.J. Simpson's famous mug shot, have commanded as much as C$500. Gardner began experimenting with the strange and fluffy medium while doing his laundry about 10 years ago. He produces pictures by placing stencils on the lint screen of his dryer. A dark load of laundry provides the darker shades, then he changes the stencil so the lighter-color loads can add other details. He then peels the finished works off the screen and sandwiches them between panes of glass.

To this day, Gardner only produces the works on Mondays, which, not surprisingly, are the days he does his wash. "It's usually just during the winter time, because I hang my clothes outside on the line during the summer," he said. The portraits tend to be topical because Gardner gets his inspiration from world events unfolding on the Mondays when he washes his clothes. "They are usually whatever's happening in the news or what I'm reading. I do them on the spot -- there isn't a lot of planning that goes into it," he said. "Like the O.J. Simpson one, that was the day before his verdict was released (October 3, 1995)." Gardner's works will be displayed in the lobby of a Calgary live theater.

Anti-nudity law poses puzzler in Florida

BRADENTON, Fla., March 24 (Reuters) - A county in Florida has barred women from exposing more than 75 percent of their breasts in public, and everyone from showing more than two-thirds of their buttocks. Now sheriff's deputies in Manatee County are wondering how they will calculate compliance. "I don't think we'll be tape-measuring," sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow told Reuters on Wednesday. The Manatee County Commission passed the measure in a 4-3 vote on Tuesday. After it takes effect on January 1, violators would face $500 fines and 60 days in jail. Bristow said deputies would meet with state and county attorneys to determine how to interpret and enforce the law. He said they might seek a volunteer for a test arrest to see if the law holds up in court. Otherwise, deputies will focus on flagrant violators. "It would have to be well beyond what the ordinance said, like naked," Bristow said.

Supporters of the measure said it would promote a higher community standard in the county, on Florida's Gulf coast south of Tampa Bay. Adult nightclub owners said it was a thinly veiled attempt to put them out of business. The ordinance allows exceptions for locker rooms, theatrical performances, nursing mothers and other situations in which nudity "is not a guise or pretense utilized to exploit nudity for profit or commercial gain."

Egypt clears orphanage accused of organ trade

CAIRO, March 25 (Reuters) - An Egyptian prosecutor has closed an investigation into an orphanage which was accused of trading in children's organs after he found no crime was committed, security sources said on Thursday. They said the eight-day investigation found that a number of children who were suspected of being murdered had died of natural causes. Earlier this month, 10 members of parliament had alleged that 25 children at the Shibeen al-Qom orphanage about 60 km (36 miles) north of Cairo, aged up to 13, had died in a three-month period and their body parts had been sold. The sources said the prosecutor questioned eight parliamentarians who said they became suspicious after seeing nine death certificates of children less than a year old who died. But the sources said that according to the orphanage's former management the children, who are mostly handicapped, had been living on the streets amid garbage and their life expectancy was low. The former management said the deaths occurred inside a hospital and were examined by a medical inspector.

BBC embarrassed by pundit mix-up

LONDON, March 27 (AFP) - A search by BBC radio for an expert on England's European Championship qualifier against Poland ended with a former dolphin trainer broadcasting live to the nation, it emerged on Saturday. The on-air clanger happened after producers at BBC Radio Five tried to enlist Celtic and Scotland defender Tommy Boyd to offer his thoughts during pre-match coverage of the tie against Poland. Presenter Eleanor Oldroyd was put through to interview the "footballer" - only to conduct an increasingly confused conversation with a mystery individual at a loss to explain the details of this weekend's soccer internationals. Red-faced Beeb chiefs later admitted that the programme had unwittingly played host to the footballing wisdom of Tommy Boyd - a breakfast radio host, former children's TV presenter and dolphin trainer in his youth.

A corporation spokeswoman said: "It was a mix-up with our contacts list. We had wanted to contact Tommy Boyd the footballer, but ended up with the radio presenter instead." Confusion had reigned immediately the interview began with Boyd telling listeners that he was unsure the nation would be able to hear him because "the kids are on the computer and I've got Five Live on in the next room." Realisation of the blunder began to set in after Boyd delivered a series of faltering answers to questions about his "disappointment" at the postponement of Scotland's Euro 2000 qualifier against Bosnia this weekend. The "real" Tommy Boyd is a 33-year-old Scotland international who began his career with Motherwell before moving to Chelsea and later Celtic - the team with whom he won a Scottish champions medal last year.

Vacuum cleaner saves choking Japanese pensioner

TOKYO, April 3 (Reuters) - An 80-year-old Japanese man choking on "devil's tongue" was saved by a quick-thinking emergency medical worker and a relative who dislodged the stuck food with a vacuum cleaner, fire officials said on Saturday. The pensioner living in suburban Osaka was eating sukiyaki on Saturday night with his family when the chewy food got lodged in his throat, they said. Devil's tongue, a grey, spongy paste made from arum root, is often used in Japanese stews and hot pots. The man fell unconscious and the emergency rescue dispatcher, who responded to a call from the family, advised them at first of other ways of saving him. When they failed, the dispatcher instructed the man's 25-year-old granddaughter on the proper way to insert the vacuum cleaner tube into the choking man's mouth. The granddaughter then flipped the switch on the vacuum cleaner, and out came the devil's tongue, a local fire official said. "The use of the vacuum cleaner was the absolute last resort," the fire official said. The man regained consciousness by the time the ambulance arrived and was expected to make a complete recovery, he said. "About two or three times a year we advise the use of a vacuum cleaner to aid a choking victim. Most of the cases occur around New Year when senior citizens choke on chewy rice cakes (a seasonal food)," he said.

And finally...

LONDON - A British schoolboy carried on enjoying life for six weeks oblivious to the fact he had a pencil embedded in his lung, the Daily Mail said. The pencil speared fourteen-year-old Roy Rowlandson when he was knocked to the ground while playing at school. It had been in the inside pocket of his blazer. The Daily Mail said the bruised boy was taken to hospital but an X-ray failed to show up the pencil. He was taken back six weeks later when his parents spotted a lump on his chest and a special scan found he had graphite and wood in his lung. "He has got to be the luckiest kid on the face of the earth," said the boy's father. "He appeared to be as fit as a fiddle after his accident. He has spent the past six weeks enjoying football games and rollerblading."

NOVATO, Calif. - The night manager of a Marin County Burger King was arrested for allegedly using the drive-through window to sell an item definitely not on the menu -- cocaine. Lt. Dennis McQueeny of the Sheriff's Department in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, said that Sadik Sufi was arrested after undercover officers observed drive-through drug sales taking place. "He'd put (the cocaine packet) in a cup of ice and hand it out," McQueeny said. "Some people clearly chose to get a hamburger while they were at it."

CALCUTTA - An Indian businessman freed by kidnappers said his prayers had worked miraculously to secure his release. But it also helped that the abductors had got the wrong man. Satya Brata Ganguly, chief executive of battery maker Exide Industries, showed up at home a week after he was kidnapped. He was blindfolded and taken to "the boss", who said: "Mr Ganguly, I am very, very sorry that we have picked up you instead of somebody else. It is our mistake. We apologise for that. I can assure you that we will not take (any money) from you or your family and I will release you." Ganguly said he was offered food and medicine and put on a train home to Calcutta.

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