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News of the Weird 

* Afghanistan's national sport, "buzkashi" (teams of horsemen battling over a goat carcass in a game without many subtle rules), attracted worldwide attention when it was restored in September after years of suppression by the Taliban. However, also attracting attention, according to a February I>Boston GlobeP> story, is Colombia's indigenous national sport of "tejo," a horseshoes-type game in which a block of mud containing four small powdered charges comprises a target, and the players lob tejos (resembling large paperweights) to trigger explosions that eventually sink the target into the mud. (Points are scored off the number of explosions and where the tejo lands.) According to the I>GlobeP>, the game's popularity stems largely from pre-game drinking.

* Board-certified Kansas City, MO psychiatrist (and University of Kansas School of Medicine graduate) Dr. Donald Hinton told reporters in February that "Elvis Aron Presley, the entertainer (whom) everybody believes died in 1977," is alive and that Hinton has been treating him for migraine headaches, among other things, for five years. Hinton, 35, said he has several items from Presley containing his DNA and absolutely denied that he's running a scam (even though he is listed as co-author, with Presley, of a slow-selling book of what purport to be letters from Elvis to his fans). An Elvis Presley Enterprises official was unfazed, insisting that Elvis is still "in the garden (at Graceland)."

* B>Profitable Excretions:P> Last summer, Hindu nationalists in India began marketing "Gift of the Cow" bovine urine, touted as a cure for a wide range of human ailments, from obesity to cancer. And the head of Thailand's energy policy office announced in January that following successes in turning pig dung into gas (a project that caught the attention of the Toshiba Corp., which is planning to build the technology into its construction projects in Guangdong Province, China), the office would begin also using human excrement from the country's prison population. And a Newcastle University (England) professor announced in February that he had devised a method to de-pollute water running from contaminated tin and silver mines in Bolivia by treating it in a compost bed of llama droppings to absorb the poisons.

B>Weird Workplaces:P>

* Greg Carpenter, 25, started Nitpickers last year in Wichita, KS to comb the head lice out of infested schoolchildren at $35 each (even though a thorough job might take more than two hours). Children who have been sent home from school for head lice (2,800 in the city's schools last year) cannot get back in until they are nitless, and Carpenter guarantees they will be.

* Zulu traditionalists in KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa, who have routinely tested females for virginity, are trying to create jobs for men to virginity-test other males by performing any of several unconventional procedures. Spraying urine (vs. a straight stream); the lack of a visible penile vein; the looseness of the light underside of the foreskin; and the darkness of a male's knees, are all evidence that the male is not a virgin, said a leader of the pro-testing movement.

* B>Science Fair:P> Among the newest nonlethal military weapons (developed by San Antonio's Southwest Research Institute) is a spray-on, whitish gel (dubbed "banana peel in a can") that is super-slippery and which the Marine Corps believes can be used to coat the ground to keep crowds from advancing on embassies or military bases. In tests, volunteers attempted in vain to walk across a lawn sprayed with the slime, and in fact, had they not been safety-harnessed during the tests, many would have broken bones.

I>Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, PO Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679 or Newsweird@aol.com, or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com/.P>

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