‘Dead man’ hands self in
A man faked his own death by claiming his late brother’s body was his own, police and media said yesterday. Even while Tsukasa Oizumi’s older sibling was alive, he used to use his driving license to get around the fact that his own had been revoked for repeated traffic offences, the Mainichi Shimbun said. When the brother fell ill and died aged 56 in 2008, Oizumi decided to take over his identity completely. Oizumi, now 58, went on to claim social security benefits in his brother’s name, the Asahi Shimbun said, but turned himself in to a local welfare office in June because of “a guilty conscience.” Police — who took months to establish the truth of Oizumi’s confession — arrested him on Wednesday “for allegedly disguising himself as his dead brother and registering incorrect data for official certificates,” a spokesman said.
Panty thief nabbed
Police said on Wednesday that they had apprehended a thief with more than 1,000 pairs of women’s underwear in the trunk of his car. Police also found more than 10,000 pairs at the house of the 48-year-old suspect. They said the man admitted to stealing and collecting women’s underwear since the age of 18. “He smelled them all the time even while driving,” police Major General Saroj Promcharoen said. The suspect will be charged with stealing property, though not the underwear for now, because there is no plaintiff, police said.
Artist builds ‘euro home’
An unemployed artist has built a home from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros (US$1.82 billion), a monument to the “madness” he said has been wrought on the country by the single currency, from a spectacular construction boom to a wrenching bust. Frank Buckley built the apartment in the lobby of a Dublin office building that has remained vacant since its completion four years ago at the peak of an ill-fated construction boom, using bricks of shredded euro notes he borrowed from the national mint. “It is a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us,” Buckley said.
Activist not guilty of racism
A court has acquitted a spokeswoman for a movement that fights racial inequality who was accused of insulting white French. The trial centered on a word that Houria Bouteldja invented and used during a TV interview to refer to native white French, who are sometimes called de souche (from stock). However, her neologism — souchiens — also sounds like French for “lower than dogs” and drew a legal complaint from the far-right group, the General Alliance Against Racism and For the Respect of French and Christian Identity. The group said on Wednesday that it would appeal.
PIP head arrested
Police arrested Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of the breast implant company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) at the center of an international health scare, a police source said yesterday. “Jean-Claude Mas was arrested at the home of his companion ... and taken into custody,” the source said, adding that officers had picked him up yesterday morning. Mas was arrested over an investigation opened last month in Marseille into the health implications of the company’s breast implants. Between 400,000 and 500,000 women around the world are believed to have received implants made by the now-defunct company.
Lego man sent into space
A video posted on YouTube on Wednesday appeared to show the amazing voyage of a Lego man sent into space on a homemade spacecraft by two Toronto students. Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, used a weather balloon ordered online and a makeshift Styrofoam spacecraft to send the plastic astronaut 24km into the stratosphere, reports said. Their high school principal Lecourgos Papathanasakis confirmed the “amazing voyage,” but neither of the teens was immediately available for comment. An accelerated video clip posted online shows highlights of the Lego man during his 97-minute odyssey. Ultimately, he is seen holding a Canadian flag with the curvature of the Earth and the blackness of space in the background. Canadian media said the pair had fitted a box tethered to the balloon with four cameras and a mobile phone enabled with a GPS device to capture the journey. They then added a nylon parachute stitched on Muhammad’s mother’s sewing machine to ensure that the Lego man would return to Earth safely. The balloon was filled with helium purchased from a party supply store. The Lego man re-entered the atmosphere and touched down in a field 120km from the launch point.