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Since 1st March, 1999
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Scary surprise

Oslo, Aug. 17 (Reuters): A Norwegian accidentally shot and wounded six of his friends at a surprise party to celebrate his 40th birthday, police said today.

The man found out about the party in a forest cabin in south Norway beforehand and hid behind trees nearby with a shotgun as about 30 guests turned up yesterday night, hoping to turn the surprise on his friends.

He blasted off one round in the air, meaning it as a joke to shock the partygoers. But when he came out from his hiding place, he tripped and the gun went off again, badly hurting one woman in the legs and slightly injuring five others.

“Seven people were taken to hospital in Fredrikstad including the man who shot. He wasn’t physically hurt but in deep shock,” a police spokesperson said. The party was cancelled.

Sea bed

Jerusalem (AFP): Rescue teams investigating sightings of a body floating in the Sea of Galilee found an Israeli man who had fallen asleep for 12 hours after becoming drunk, the Maariv daily reported. Rescue teams and divers were alerted by bathers who said they had seen a body floating on the water but instead found a Galilee resident fast asleep. The 57-year-old man had been camping with his family on the side of the lake where Jesus Christ was said to have walked on water, the report added.

Camel caper

Sydney (Reuters): Classic operas are being blasted out to a string of Australian camels to prepare them for a one-way trip to South Korea later this month to star in a vast production of Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Aida. Six dromedaries will be flown from central Australia to Seoul, but strict quarantine laws mean they will never return to their homeland and are expected to be used in South Korea’s tourist industry, said camel handler Janet Geappen on Saturday. “They’re getting used to the Aida opera. I’ve been playing it to our camels here and I swear they’re swinging their tails to be music, I think they like it,” Geappen said. The Australian camels will be ridden by opera singers for their brief stage appearance in the September performance which will also feature horses and elephants, she added. Tenor Jose Carreras will sing in the South Korean production of Aida, which is set in ancient Egypt and tells the tragic love story of Radames, an Egyptian commander, and Aida, his Ethiopian love.

Merry mayor

Toronto (Reuters): Toronto mayor Mel Lastman predicted on Friday that a surge in births may be seen in nine months after the blackout that struck Canada’s largest city, but he advised citizens against using candles in any get-togethers in the dark. “I guess in nine months we’re going to see the biggest baby boom we’ve ever seen,” Lastman said on Friday, responding to the state of emergency in the city. It is widely believed that the birth rate rises after times of crisis but many experts dismiss this phenomena as urban myth. Lastman also asked people to use flashlights instead of candles in any future brownouts, as well as to conserve energy. The mayor, criticised for being slow to appear during this crisis, has a history of colourful comments.

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