Snake-less charmers charm cash from tourists


Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 12:52 a.m.
Because of recent government campaigns to protect wildlife, snake charmers in India's Rajasthan state are increasingly unable to work with live snakes but nonetheless hope to continue earning tourists' money by performing the same rituals, except without snakes.
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On New Year's Day at the South African tourist attraction of Cango Caves, an overweight visitor in the "Tunnel of Love" got stuck exiting, and she and the 23 people behind her were trapped for 12 hours until rescuers used a pulley and liquid paraffin (to grease the rocks) to extricate her.
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Don Karkos heroically regained sight in his right eye in November after 65 years. In 1941, a Navy submarine explosion knocked him out and doctors told him many times that he would never see with that eye again. But Karkos, 82 (a retired horse farmer who works as a security guard at New York's Monticello Raceway), was butted in the head by a horse in November and awoke the next day with sight regained. He told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y., in December that the blow he took from My Buddy Chimo was even harder than the one from the concussion n
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A researcher at the Minnesota Cancer Center reported in January finding amounts of the carcinogen NNK, most likely from tobacco smoke, in toenail clippings of smokers (and nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke).
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A researcher writing in the January/February issue of Australasian Science magazine reported that the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, carried by many cats, not only can harm pregnant women (as was previously known) but also can lower the IQ of men and make women more promiscuous.
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Science Gone Too Far: A December New York Times dispatch reports that among the hottest social status symbols in Tokyo is the cute-but-bizarre dog created by inbreeding, such as a blue Chihuahua or a white dachshund. However, inbreeding also produces a high number of deformities, and to get that dachshund, for example, the litter of five contained four dogs with almost unspeakably gross birth defects. Nonetheless, because of demand, dog inbreeding continues. And a Nottingham University professor warned in January that farmers are now at work in the United Kingdom breeding "stress" and "hostility" out of pigs and cows to make them more obedient en route to the slaughterhouse. The professor said the goal of such breeders is to create animal "vegetables."
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At least 30 Texas death-row inmates have pages on dating Web sites, according to a November Associated Press report, and the murderers usually describe themselves in cuddly terms. Wrote convicted cop-killer Randy Halprin, "I think I'm a pretty funny guy. I have a wacked (sic) sense of humor. I can be a big kid at heart. I'm a hopeless (and I mean hopeless) romatic (sic)." However, also in November, Calvin Bennett, 26, a suspect in two Arkansas murders, was traced by police to Rothschild, Wis., by the personal ad he had placed on a dating Web site, describing himself as shy and giving his ideal evening as "a nice romantic dinner with soft music, followed by a romantic walk or a carriage ride."
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Police in Chesterfield Township, Mich., arrested Calvin Fluckes Jr., 21, in December after he tried to cash a counterfeit check for $848 at a Wal-Mart. Fluckes was apparently oblivious of the approximately 80 uniformed police officers who were in the store for a charity event and whose cruisers Fluckes had to pass when he parked his car in the Wal-Mart lot. According to a police lieutenant, "(Fluckes) was immediately apprehended." n
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Should Have Kept His Mouth Shut: Jeremy Lyons, 20, was arrested in Hanover Township, Pa., in October for an alleged vandalism spree, bashing car windows with a baseball bat. A local TV station had carried a story of the arrest of another person, and Lyons for some reason called the station and, laughing, told them they had the wrong man. He was arrested when the call was traced.
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