One party active in the recent elections in India’s Uttar Pradesh state represents the interests of “dead” people. Lal Bihari, 48, works on behalf of an estimated 40,000 living people who have been victims of relatives having declared them legally dead, usually in order to inherit their property, and once the government accepts such a declaration, the legal system in India is too slow, crowded and corrupt to bring that person back to “life.” Bihari himself “officially” died in 1976, and despite several schemes such as kidnapping a cousin in order to be arrested and thus proven to be living, he remained “dead” until his proof of life was accepted in 2004.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
Among the latest of Taipei’s quirkily styled restaurants (according to an April Reuters dispatch) is the D.S. Music hospital-themed eatery, where diners sit around beds, are served by “nurses,” and drink from IV lines hooked up to “medicine” in containers hung from the ceiling.
LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATOR
The Japanese company Kongo Gumi closed its doors at the end of 2006, the victim of having borrowed too much money in the 1990’s for the country’s real estate boom. Kongo Gumi had been under continuous ownership of the same family since the year 578, according to Business Week, which noted that for over 1,400 of those years, Kongo Gumi had stuck to its signature business of building Buddhist temples, and failed only when it branched out into the unfamiliar field of real estate.
A woman in Columbia University’s hospital had her gallbladder removed in March not by traditional abdominal surgery but by running instruments through her vagina, according to an April New York Times report. Doctors said that abdominal-muscle cuts are painful and slow to heal, and that surgeons are considering using the body’s other natural openings, also, for some procedures. Still, a female New York University surgeon said the idea of gallbladder surgery through the vagina is “repulsive.”
LEAST COMPETENT JAILERS
Timothy Rouse, 19—who had been charged with assaulting an elderly person—was matter-of-factly released from the Kentucky Correctional and Psychiatric Center in LaGrange in April after jailers accepted as official a crudely written, ungrammatical fax ordering him freed, supposedly from the state supreme court but whose originating line clearly showed a local grocery store. Furthermore, it took the jailers two weeks to realize they had been scammed. As it turned out though, cops easily re-arrested Rouse at his mother’s house.
JUST SHOOT ME
Men continue to consider that having themselves shot (nonfatally, of course) might provide them sympathy and a valid excuse to avoid some unpleasant task. In February, John Amos wanted pal Emanuel Houston to shoot him, to get his upcoming rape trial in Martins Ferry, W.Va., postponed, but Houston refused, and the two then struggled over the gun until Amos forced Houston’s hand (and the gun) against Amos’ stomach and pressed on Houston’s finger. And in May, in Baltimore, police said two college students had a third shoot them so they could avoid an onerous fraternity hazing ritual, but then later confessed that they are National Guardsmen and had themselves shot to avoid deployment to Iraq. A National Guard spokesman said there is actually no deployment scheduled for their unit. MTW