Newsquirks | Revenge for Kudzu 

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Curses, Foiled Again
Two men tried to carjack a vehicle at gunpoint in Reno, Nev., but the driver grabbed the gun, causing it to fire in the air. Both suspects ran off. The Reno-Gazette journal reported that a police officer responding to the scene spotted one of them and chased him into a building and onto a just-poured concrete floor. Construction workers nabbed Rudy Aguas, 25.

• Police investigating a break-in at a tire store in Coquille, Ore., concluded that the burglar tunneled under a wall to access the building but was unable to remove anything because the tires, all for trucks, were too big to fit through the hole.

Revenge for Kudzu
Government officials trying to eradicate bluegill from Japan’s largest lake announced a campaign to encourage people to eat them all. Shiga province’s Website shows how to clean and many ways to cook the fish. A private company sells bluegill sushi. Declared a nuisance because it feeds on native species, bluegill used to be celebrated as “prince fish” after Emperor Akihito introduced the fish when he was crown prince after Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley gave him some when Akihito visited in 1960. Last fall, Akihito admitted, “My heart aches to see it has turned out like this.”

When the Emperor Takes Off His New Clothes
Australian authorities brought proceedings against a businessman who claimed to have invented a spray that acts as an “invisible condom.” Ravi Narain faces fines of up to $400,000 for misleading investors.

We Are the World
When 10 New York City subway riders yelling “Merry Christmas” attacked four other riders who replied “Happy Hanukkah,” Muslim college student Hassan Askari intervened, giving Walter Adler, one of those assaulted, a chance to pull an emergency cord to stop the train and summon police. “I did what I thought was right,” said Askari, who was physically and verbally assaulted during the confrontation. The 10 suspects, ages 19 to 20, were taken into custody. “That a random Muslim kid helped some Jewish kid,” Adler said, “that’s what positive about New York.”

Do-Gooder of the Week
Jay Moore started a Website (
MyFreeImplants.com) where women who want breast implants post their photos, and male donors can contribute to the cause. They correspond through anonymous messages. Since 2005, the site has helped 2,500 young women raise more than a quarter of a million dollars. None of the money has gone to any of the founders, Moore told the Chicago Sun Times. “We’re donors just like the other male members. We work full-time jobs and do this as a public service.”

Love Hurts
Elizabeth Hingston, 24, admitted helping her boyfriend swindle an insurance company by letting him break her leg. Gordon Thompson, 32, an unemployed chef jumped on her leg after placing it over a concrete block. The pair, from Plymouth, England, intended to sue the city council by claiming that a wall had fallen on top of her. Police thwarted the scheme when they raided Thomson’s home on an unrelated matter and found a 20-second video clip on his cell phone of Thomson jumping on her leg “with both feet,” said a friend who had seen the footage. “You could hear a cracking sound.”

Big-Bang Theories
When inspectors aboard a commuter train in Russia’s South Urals region asked to see a suspicious passenger’s ticket, the man, identified as Mikhail Ershov, 43, pulled a hand grenade from his pocket and demanded that the train divert to Vladivostok, several thousand miles away. After passengers had been evacuated, Ershov was negotiating with police when the grenade exploded, killing him. “Ershov had taken the pin out,” Liana Ergasheva of the local prosecutor’s office, explained. “He then tried to put the pin back in, but instead it exploded.”

Trading Places
One of the world’s richest and most secretive hedge funds told its traders to take female hormone pills to trade better, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court against SAC Capital. The $10 billion hedge fund is run by superstar trader Steven A. Cohen. The suit alleges that one of Cohen’s top bosses at SAC chided traders for being too aggressive and insisted they use a soft feminine touch to pitch more trades.

CNBC reported one junior trader, Andrew Z. Tong, 37, claimed that the boss, Ping Jiang, demanded Tong take the hormone pills to help erase his aggressive male ways so he could be more effeminate in his trading style. Eventually, the trader claims, the hormones caused him to start wearing dresses, avoid his wife’s touches altogether and allegedly begin a sexual relationship with his boss. Tong, who said he had to search for the illegal hormone pills on the black market, filed a sexual harassment case against his boss, claiming the pills wrecked his life and also made him impotent with his wife, who wanted to have a baby.

Missing the Point
Fair-skinned people in South Australia will be banned from using tanning salons, according to strict new rules that take effect in February, state Environment Minister Gail Gago announced.

Calling Plan from Hell
A North Korean firing squad executed a factory boss for making international phone calls. Britain’s Daily Mail reported that 150,000 people turned out to a sports stadium in South Pyongan province to watch a man gunned down for violating the government’s ban on communicating with the outside world using 13 phones he installed in a basement. Six spectators were crushed to death and 34 others injured in a stampede while leaving the execution.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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