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Medical Mystery 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Medical Mystery
The Washington Post reported on July 14 that Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, is expected to be under observation at the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia for a few days while doctors try to determine the cause behind his chronic hiccups. Bolsonaro has been hiccupping for more than 10 days, even at public events. The leader is no stranger to weird health scares: While he suffered from COVID-19 last year, he was bitten by a large emu-like bird. For his part, he thinks the hiccups may be related to medicines he was taking after dental implant surgery.

Awesome!
David Olson, 33, was demolishing the back steps outside his home in Norton Shores, Michigan, on July 1 when he rolled a strike, so to speak: Olson found at least 160 bowling balls buried in the sand under the home. Upon seeing the first ball, he thought, "Maybe there were just a couple in there just to fill in. The deeper I got into it, the more I realized it was just basically an entire gridwork of them," he told the Detroit Free Press. Olson said many of the balls are in bad condition, and they all had spiral grooves cut into them. Former employees of a Brunswick plant nearby got in touch with him, explaining that workers used to take scrapped balls to use as an alternative to gravel or sand. Olson donated eight balls for a local church to use in a bowling ball cannon at a pig roast; his stepfather plans to use some as legs for custom furniture.

Least Competent Criminals
A 48-year-old unnamed woman from Brock Township, Ontario, Canada, managed to get herself arrested on July 9 for the theft of a surveillance camera in May, CP24-TV reported. "A suspect proceeded to take pictures of themselves with the stolen camera, which were remotely sent to the owner, unbeknownst to the suspect," the report from the Durham Regional Police reads. She was charged with possession of property obtained by crime.

• Stephan Elash, 24, of Campbell, Ohio, was pulled over by a state trooper on July 3 for speeding, WKBN-TV reported. In a panic, Elash put a baggie of marijuana in his mouth and tried to swallow it -- but he choked. Trooper Charles Hoskins used the Heimlich maneuver to force the bag out of Elash's throat, likely saving his life. Afterward, Elash apologized, and Hoskins responded, "I know. It's all right. It's a minor misdemeanor. Do you want to die over a minor misdemeanor?" Elash was charged with speeding and not wearing a seat belt, and he got a misdemeanor summons for possession.

What's in a Name?
In the U.K., Heather (not her real name), the mother of a teenager formerly known as Alexa, told the BBC that her daughter had to change her name and move schools to escape bullying and teasing related to the Amazon smart speaker's default name. Another mother, Charlotte (not her real name), said her 6-year-old daughter is already tormented: "'Alexa, play disco.' I think it's affecting her confidence. Adults make fun of her, too." And Lauren Johnson of Massachusetts, whose daughter is 9, said, "The whole thing is a step beyond 'normal' teasing and bullying. It's identity erasure. The word Alexa has become synonymous with servant or slave." In response, Amazon reminds users that "we also offer several other wake words customers can choose from, including Echo, Computer and Amazon. ... We're saddened by the experiences you've shared, and want to be very clear: Bullying of any kind is unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms."

Fan(atics)
Fans of the National Hockey League Champion Tampa Bay Lightning have a customized way to celebrate as of July 12: Coors Light Champions Ice, Business Wire reported. During the final, Coors scraped and collected actual ice from the arena and transported it to Golden, Colorado, where Coors products are made. The ice is filtered during the brewing process and then blended into the beer, "giving Bolts fans a literal taste of the action," said Marcelo Pascoa, vice president of marketing. Local fans will be able to enjoy the limited-edition brew at Tampa Bay bars.

Crime Report
U.S. Customs agents seized 3,000 pairs of false eyelashes at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on July 6, The Times-Picayune reported. The eyelashes were intended for a beauty supply store in New Orleans, but they were unlabeled and hadn't been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Customs spokesperson Matthew Dyman said. Unregulated falsies can lead to allergic reactions, eye irritation and other maladies. "There's no telling what's on those eyelashes," Dyman said.

News That Sounds Like a Joke
You are now free to get a haircut and shave in New York on a Sunday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on July 13 to repeal an "archaic" law banning barbers from working on Sundays. "Though rarely enforced, the law was shear madness," Cuomo quipped, according to United Press International.

Happy Accident
Barrington, New Jersey, resident Louis Angelino III, 27, works at a liquor store, but lately he's been cleaning friends' houses to make some extra cash. One day in June, Angelino was scheduled to clean the home of his friend Mark, NJ.com reported. He showed up, found the key under the mat, and spent 2 1/2 hours making the townhome sparkle. That's when Mark called him to see if he'd been able to get the job done, and Angelino said, "I'm literally in your living room right now playing with your cats." But Mark replied: "Louis, I don't have any cats." Turns out Angelino had written down the wrong address and tidied up a neighbor's home instead. Mark left a note for Tom and Beth Motzel, explaining the mix-up. Tom arrived home before his wife and called her, saying, "You won't believe it. Someone broke into our house and cleaned the entire thing, Swiffer and all." Beth has dubbed Angelino the Cleaning Fairy, and his business is taking off.

Inexplicable
In Santa Ana, California, on July 13, firefighters responded to a building on North Harbor Boulevard, where a woman was wedged, naked, between the concrete walls of two buildings, Fox News reported. Workers at a nearby body shop had heard the woman screaming but couldn't figure out where she was. "The cops came in and got on the roof and looked between the two walls and she's all naked," one said. "She was screaming in pain. She was upside down, too." The space was less than a foot wide, and firefighters had to cut a hole in the concrete and pull her out. As for how she got there, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Thanh Nguyen called it "a mystery to all of us here right now."

Bright Idea
Hollister Tryon, 18, of Glastonbury, Connecticut, was charged on July 9 with felony computer crimes after he hacked into a database to edit entries in the Glastonbury High School 2021 yearbook, The Smoking Gun reported. In May, school administrators discovered a quote from Adolf Hitler that was attributed to George Floyd under a senior's photo in the yearbook. Another student's quote was edited to include drug references and the name of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.

News You Can Use
Philadelphia police recently impounded a car with a technological innovation that might just take off: a license plate equipped with a remote-control flipper, which allows a driver to foil the red-light cameras placed around the city. Capt. John Ryan told WPVI-TV that police are capturing images of many cars with illegitimate temporary tags or otherwise disguised numbers, which puts officers in danger. "It gives us bad information. The car might be involved in a crime."

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.

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