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Heavy hit

New York, Oct 11 (Reuters): A Manhattan doorman who wanted the girlfriend of his male lover dead promised to pay an undercover policeman posing as a hit man more money if the woman was overweight, a prosecutor said in court yesterday.

Norman Gary, 43, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit murder, met five times with the undercover officer, finally agreeing to pay $6,000 for the hit, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge heard.

Negotiations took a surprise turn when the officer, displaying a wry sense of humour, raised the payoff for the shooting, prosecutor Ryan Brackley said. “If she was heavy, it would be more money because the undercover (officer) would have to carry her” from the scene of the crime, Brackley told the judge. The court heard that Gary had started a relationship with the man, an inmate, three years ago while in prison for passing bad checks.

“The woman was a rival for the affections of the inmate,” said James Kindler, another prosecutor.

Rotten Rio

Rio de Janeiro (Reuters): More Brazilians had telephone lines, refrigerators and television sets in 2002 than access to a proper sewage system, a government study showed on Friday. The Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics said in a report that the number of households with telephones hit 61.6 per cent last year, while just 46.4 per cent were connected to an appropriate sewage network. The percentage of households with fixed or mobile telephone lines tripled in the last 10 years, highlighting the country's recent telecommunications boom following the privatisation of the Telebras company five years ago, the study found. While access to proper sanitation has improved during the same period, it also lagged behind other services such as water, electricity and garbage collection.

Super stink

Berlin (Reuters): A German woman was found living with 152 sickly animals, including 51 rabbits and 45 cats in a small high-rise apartment block, authorities said on Friday. “It stank like the plague,” said Wolfgang Poggendorf of the Hamburg Animal Protection home. Poggendorf said the woman saw herself as a kind of modern Dr Dolittle, hero of Hugh Lofting’s popular children’s books about an animal-loving country doctor. Animal activists also found caged birds including parrots, pigeons and crows in the 65 square metre apartment as well as a sewer rat, a hedgehog and piles of food and animal faeces.


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