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The Odd Truth, Aug. 16, 2002

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com'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.

Not-So-Lean Eating Machine

NEW YORK - Training is serious business for Ed "Cookie" Jarvis. He needs to get in shape to eat -- and eat and eat. According to the International Federation of Competitive Eating he's the world's pizza, ice cream and french-fry eating champ.

His records include consuming a 17-inch pizza in just three minutes. It shouldn't be too surprising the six-six real estate agent weighs 420 pounds. But he tells the Wall Street Journal he wants to drop 140 pounds by next July 4, for the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Contest in Coney Island, New York.

He says he'll be able to eat more if he weighs less. Part of Jarvis' training routine includes eating a head of boiled cabbage every day, in the weeks before an eating contest. (AP)

The Naked Belly Button

TORONTO - A Canadian judge who once ejected a female lawyer for showing too much cleavage has hit the headlines again after she ordered an accused shoplifter out of the courtroom for wearing a belly-button revealing top.

Ontario Justice Micheline Rawlins told the teenager to go and change and scolded the youth's lawyer for his client's appearance, the Chatham Daily News said.

"Frankly, your honor, I didn't notice," lawyer David Jacklin replied, before leaving to "check to make sure my other clients are appropriately dressed."

Newspapers quoted Rawlins as saying that since the teenager did not have to stare at the judge's midriff, the court should not have to eye hers either.

In March, Rawlins refused to hear arguments from lawyer Laura Joy because she wore a tight V-necked shirt under a pantsuit. The judge deemed the outfit too revealing for a courtroom and told her to return dressed more conservatively.

"I don't want to see bra straps. I don't want to see cleavage. I don't want to see belly buttons. I don't want to see stocking tops ... in a court of law," Rawlins, a judge in Chatham, Ontario, said at the time. (Reuters)

Satire Ire

AMMAN - A Jordanian newspaper boss and editor have been arrested for publishing a cartoon portraying Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani as a belly dancer, officials and judicial sources said Thursday.

Al-Shahed group media publisher Sakhr Abu Anaza and the editor of the weekly satirical al-Jazeera, Mamoun Rousan, were detained on the orders of State Security Prosecutor Colonel Mahmoud Obeidat, judicial sources said.

They are charged with offending a head of an Arab state and publishing material interpreted as causing harm to bilateral ties, state news agency Petra quoted Minister of Information Mohammad al-Adwan as saying.

"What was published is deemed a clear breach of the ethics of journalism ... and it is something we reject and would not allow toward a friend or a brother," Adwan added.

The cartoon shows the emir and his foreign minister singing and dancing in a nightclub.

Both pro-government dailies and independent weekly tabloids have launched a tirade against Qatar after Doha-based Arabic satellite station al-Jazeera aired a program last week seen as an affront to the Hashemite ruling family. (Reuters)

Office On The Edge

LONDON - Half of Britain's stressed-out office workers say they have come close to punching a colleague, according to a survey published Wednesday.
Overwork, faulty computers and annoying workmates were the main cause of "office rage" -- and women are more likely to snap than men.

"Our research shows that common occurrences such as broken computers and interruptions can push people over the edge at work," said Tim Watts, chairman of Pertemps, the British recruitment agency who commissioned the survey.

The report found 51 percent of women had nearly punched a colleague, compared to 39 percent of the men questioned.

Three quarters of workers felt they worked less productively in a bad mood. Some 15 percent said fear of making a mistake when their boss was angry made them work more slowly.

Pertemps said employees can cut tension by avoiding gossip, talking to managers and not disturbing colleagues.

Bosses should defuse conflicts early, listen to staff complaints, avoid overcrowding and set realistic workloads and deadlines. (Reuters)

What's In A Name?

ROCKFORD, Mich. — If this happens again, maybe the street should be renamed Sunshine Drive.

A small tornado that touched down Tuesday evening near Whirlwind Street uprooted trees, damaged several buildings and tipped over a delivery truck.

The National Weather Service confirmed that a twister packing winds estimated at 70 mph caused the damage, The Grand Rapids Press reported Thursday.

The tornado was ranked as an F-0, the least-powerful category of twisters on a scale that goes up to F-5, said Bob Dukesherer, a weather service meteorologist. In an F-5 tornado, winds can reach up to 318 mph.

The tornado that struck about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Whirlwind and Summit Avenue was so weak, Doppler radar failed to detect it.

"There weren't any warnings out with this one, not a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning," Dukesherer said.

Still, the twister was strong enough to leave a path of damage 300 feet wide and a mile long. (AP)