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It’s A Weird World

SUSPENDED: A city bureaucrat in western Japan was suspended from his job after officials discovered he visited porn websites at work almost every day, often spending hours gazing at nude photos, a city official said.


The 57-year-old man, who was working in the construction division of Kinokawa City in Wakayama, surfed porn sites from an office computer almost every day for eight months from June 2007, spending up to three hours a day on the websites, said Kazuhiko Ueyama, a Kinokawa City official.

Angered citizens called city hall all day last Friday, saying the suspension was not enough, he added.

The city only found out about his activities in February when it noticed that his computer had picked up the same virus repeatedly from the sites, Ueyama said.

“These were foreign ‘adult sites’ and they got through the security net” that the city had installed for its computers, he said. — Reuters.

PAYBACK: Just in time for mother’s day. If anyone was wondering where French avant-garde novelist Michel Houellebecq got his talent for character assassination, the answer is clear: his mother.

In his seminal 1998 novel Les particules elementaires, known in English as Atomised, Houellebecq vented a lifetime of anger against his mother by portraying her as an egocentric, sexually promiscuous hippie who neglected her children.

Now it’s pay-back time.

Lucie Ceccaldi (83) has returned to France from her home in the Indian Ocean island of Reunion to publish a book of her own, The Innocent One, in which she heaps insults on her son. “My son can go and get screwed by whomever he wants, he can write another book, I don’t give a toss,” she says in one excerpt, widely published in French media on Wednesday. — Reuters.

MISTAKE: Two women were hospitalised after a New Zealand café mistakenly served dishwashing liquid as mulled wine, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Chico’s Restaurant Ltd in the mountain resort of Queenstown on South Island pleaded guilty to a charge of selling food containing extraneous matter — the chemical sodium hydroxide — that caused injury, the Southland Times newspaper said.

Prosecutor Sarah McKenzie told Queenstown District Court that the two women were taken to a hospital after drinking the liquid last July, the newspaper reported.

Customer Sarah Ferguson had ordered a glass of “Mountain Thunder” mulled wine from Queenstown’s Old Man Rock café owned by Chico’s Restaurant Ltd. She spat out the liquid when she experienced a burning sensation on her lips and mouth. Café worker Bethany Sim offered to taste the drink and suffered a similar reaction.

“A check by café management indicated that a mulled wine container had unfortunately been filled with dishwashing detergent,” McKenzie told the court. — Reuters.

DONATED: THE head of Germany’s Social Democrats, who has ambitions to be his country’s next leader, is thinking about donating his beard to charity, but is not quite sure.

Kurt Beck, who as party leader has a strong claim to lead the SPD into next year’s national election, said in a panel discussion in Mainz that he might shave off his beard to raise 1 million euros (US$1,5 million) for charity, the newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported.

“It must be serious and not turn into a spectacle,” he told the paper. “The event would have to help the really needy.”

“I’m still thinking about it.”

Beck’s beard, like the rest of his hair, is short, grey and bristly. He recently told reporters his wife Roswitha, a hairdresser, had said he had “hair like a guinea pig.” — Reuters.

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