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Stranger Than Fiction

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The Internal Revenue Service ruled that a taxpayer whose child was kidnapped may still claim a deduction on his tax return but only for the year in which the child was abducted. No exemption can be claimed in subsequent years, according to IRS lawyer George Baker, because the tax law generally requires a parent to provide more than half the child's support. The kidnapper could not claim the child, however, because a 1958 law denies dependent exemptions when "the relationship between such individuals and the taxpayer is in violation of local law."

After serving nine months for burglary, Sherman Lee Parks, 50, escaped from the Dallas County, Ark., jail. At the time of his escape, a judge who decided Parks had been locked up long enough issued an order for his release. Parks was re-arrested the next day and returned to jail for the escape attempt.

A Phoenix-based laboratory encourages husbands who suspect their wives of infidelity to mail the women's panties to the company to have them tested for semen. The price for the procedure, which is similar to that used by police at crime scenes, begins at $350 and runs as high as $550 if additional DNA testing is requested. Even so, the company points out, the test is "a lot cheaper than the cost to have a detective tail a suspected straying spouse for a week."

Police cited a 33-year-old Little Rock, Ark., woman after finding her walking along U.S. 70 holding up her shirt and exposing her breasts to passing motorists. The woman explained that she was hot and continued to hold up her shirt while talking to the officer, according to a police report. The same week, police in Gastonia, N.C., arrested a 43-year-old woman they found hitchhiking nude. The woman, a German tourist, said she was going from Atlanta to Norfolk, Va., and thought her chances of getting a ride would be better if she was naked.

James Cadello, 45, was sentenced to six months in prison for attempting to bilk credit card companies. Cadello is a former professor of ethics at Central Washington University.

A Ugandan court rejected a 97-year-old man's application to end his 65-year marriage on the grounds of infidelity. The New Vision newspaper reported the plaintiff accused his 77-year-old wife, whom he married in 1935, of committing adultery with several men between 1975 and 1986. The report said it was not clear why he had taken so long to sue.

Romanian prostitutes, their business hit by economic recession, began trying to lure clients by offering to do household chores for them after having sex. The daily National newspaper quoted a "sexual agent" in Bucharest as saying that many women in the sex business had added cooking and house-cleaning to the repertoire of the world's oldest profession. "We had to invent something because people don't have money and clients are rare. After solving the (sexual) problem, the girls clean and cook, for free," he said. "Men are happy because many of them live alone, and the girls help them get rid of the three things which torment their lives: sex, cleaning and cooking."

Franklin Gray, 82, was taking a walk along his 44-foot-long driveway in Shawnee, Okla., when he fell. His wife Leta, 87, was unable to help him up, so the husband suggested she drag him back to the house using a rope attached to their car. She tied an extension cord to his belt, but it broke when she started the car moving forward. Then she tied the cord to his ankle, but it broke, too. Franklin asked his wife to back the car closer so he could reattach the cord, but, according to Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Detective Tracey Warkentien, her foot apparently was on the gas instead of the brake, and when she put the car in reverse it backed over him and killed him.

Jose Rojas Mayarita, 39, was reeling in a 10-foot marlin he hooked off the Mexican coast when the fish leaped from the waves and landed on him. The marlin's spear pierced the fisherman's abdomen and came out the other side. Unable to move, Rojas drifted for two days in his boat until another vessel rescued him and took him to a hospital in Acapulco.

A toy virginity-tester was removed from the shelves of Greek shops after the government banned it out of concern for its psychological effect on children. The so-called Virginity Meter purported to rank people's virginity based on a card's color reaction to having a finger pressed on it. The government said the card contained "unacceptable characterizations" and could be dangerous to children's psyche.

Addressing concerns over noise from Washington's Reagan National Airport, the federal General Accounting Office recommended a program of monitoring to determine if noise abatement procedures and night-time flight restrictions were being followed. The Mount Vernon Gazette reported that after nine months, the GAO reviewed the findings and made its recommendation: that the monitoring agency consider buying a more technologically advanced noise-monitoring equipment.

A German solarium owner began offering free sessions to clients who consented to nude pictures of their time under the lamp being posted on an Internet Web site. "Now I'm looking for advertisers for the site," said Manuel Scholz, who runs a tanning center in the northern city of Hanover. He said the first person to accept his offer was a woman who achieved national fame in Germany by taking a shower live in front of millions of viewers of a "real life" TV show which followed the intimate lives of ordinary Germans. "This is not about pornography," the entrepreneur insisted. "This is about lifestyle."

Fifty-six percent of the people responding to a survey by Wireless Flash and E-Poll.com said that if they had to resort to cannibalism, they would eat their friend's leg first. Nineteen percent chose the rump, while 13 percent said they preferred the liver.

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