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The Odd Truth, Aug. 15, 2002

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Bogus Brain Surgeon Busted

CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian police have arrested a man who performed brain surgery on a number of people even though he had only a primary school education, court sources said.

The 40-year-old man saw around 200 patients a week in the oasis town of Fayoum near Cairo. He charged 22 Egyptian pounds, the equivalent of $4.74 per patient, and operated on a number of people. The fate of his victims was not immediately known.

The man had forged a secondary school certificate and claimed to have studied brain surgery in Cairo and Germany. (Reuters)

Ambulance Crew Deja Vu

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — After being struck by a pickup truck, a teenager said he was stunned when he recognized a member of the ambulance crew that took him to the hospital as the motorist who hit him.

"I looked at him; I think he looked back at me," said Morgan Taylor, 16. "It was kind of weird. I was scared. I didn't dare say anything."

The 18-year-old emergency medical technician is expected to be charged next week with felony criminal vehicular injury and misdemeanor reckless driving, according to the Grant County attorney's office.

According to police, Taylor and a friend were walking home July 27 when they recognized a girl in a pickup truck at a park. The boys did not know the driver.

"They were starting to talk to them or harass them or whatever," said Elbow Lake Police Chief Luverne Sik.

The driver backed up, and Taylor's friend hopped in the back of the truck. But Taylor was hit when the driver pulled forward, Sik said.

Taylor said his friend helped him limp to a nearby clinic, where the doctor called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. When the ambulance arrived, Taylor said he recognized the pickup driver as part of the crew. (AP)

Hyphen Your Way To The Top

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The humble hyphen is at the center of a dispute over the listing of a congressional candidate's name on a primary ballot.

One of four Democrats seeking an open Sarasota-area congressional seat sued one of his opponents over the punctuation in her name, which affects where it will appear on the ballot.

Candidate Patrick Feheley objects to his rival being listed as Candice Brown-McElyea. He prefers Candice Brown McElyea.

Candidates will be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order when voters go to the polls on Sept. 10. Brown-McElyea comes before Feheley; McElyea, used alone as a last name, doesn't.

Feheley's suit seeks to determine whether a candidate "may for the purpose of gaining a preferable ballot position change their surname after having qualified as a candidate."

Brown-McElyea says Brown is part of her last name, not her middle name.

"There's no statute, no law, that says I did anything wrong," she said. "You can be anything you want on the ballot."

The suit was filed in Tallahassee, the state capital, because the state Division of Elections certifies names for the ballot. (AP)

Swift Justice, Switched Justice

HARRISBURG, Pa. — It wasn't the way Eric Greene hoped to spend his vacation: passing the afternoon in jail after being arrested at gunpoint and charged with robbing a bank.

After making a morning transaction at Members First Credit Union bank in Susquehanna Township, Greene said he returned home in the afternoon and found that police had kicked in his door and were pointing their guns at him.

He was arrested and charged with stealing $60,000 from the bank in an armed robbery that morning. He was released into his parents' custody.

"I didn't understand why they had arrested me or anything," the 26-year-old said. "I kept trying to tell myself 'I'm on vacation.' It was like watching something in a movie, but I was the star."

Susquehanna Township Police Chief Robert A. Martin said it was a case of mistaken identity and all charges against Greene had been dropped.

"On behalf of the Susquehanna Township Police Department, we offer Mr. Greene our heartfelt apologies," Martin said. Martin declined to say what led police to pursue Greene as a suspect.

Detrick Dawkins, 18, who was also arrested in the robbery and charged with bank robbery, aggravated assault and related charges, remained in Dauphin County Prison on $100,000 bail. (AP)

Take A Vacation, Heck, Take An Island

MILAN, Italy - Of the thousands of tourists who gaze at the beauty of Venice each year, many have dreamed of living it up in one of the elegant water-lapped palazzi that line the city's canals.

Now there's an alternative -- how about buying a whole Venetian island on the Internet?

The two-acre Tessera Island, which lies north of the main clump of islands that make up the lagoon city, is up for sale for $4.5 million on -- including speed boat.

The Web site lists more than 100 islands for sale or to rent from Greece to the Bahamas because "nearly everyone dreams of owning an island."

Tessera Island is currently owned by creative thinking guru Edward de Bono who holds a brain-training course there once a year, according to his Web Site (Reuters)

Buffalo To Celebrate First Wingfest

BUFFALO, New York - Buffalo chicken wings are finally getting some respect. Folks in the northwestern New York city are getting ready for the first National Buffalo Wing Festival. The idea comes from a Bill Murray movie, "Osmosis Jones." Organizers aren't sure how many people will show up for the event the weekend before Labor Day. But they've ordered 20 tons of chicken wings. The festival is a good idea to Ivano Toscani. He's the manager of the Anchor Bar, where Buffalo-style chicken wings were invented in 1964. He says outsiders only know three things about Buffalo -- the awful winter weather, the four Super Bowl loses -- and great wings. (AP)

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