Nipped in the bud

As previously reported, Prince Jefri -- brother of the sultan of Brunei, an oil-rich country on the northern coast of Borneo -- has had his allowance cut by the sultan to only $300,000 a month, a punishment because Jefri had been wasting so much of the family's money. Jefri allegedly blew $15 billion in his role as the country's finance minister. Now, Jefri's vast collection of consumer goods -- some 10,000 items, including hundreds of cars, 17 airplanes and several yachts -- has been sold at auction for a total of merely $7.8 million. Among the items to go were Jefri's favored yacht, which he had named "Tits," with its twin dinghies named "Nipple 1" and "Nipple 2." Until two years ago, the sultan was the world's richest man, but his fortune is believed to have shrunk to about $10 billion.

Free fall.

Indecent-exposure arrestee Scott Matthew Brackett, 39, had just been booked and bailed out for having made a nude excursion through an apartment complex in Broken Arrow, Okla., when he was picked up for a second naked foray. According to the police report of his second arrest, Brackett said that authorities told him they were still investigating the first charge and that they wouldn't finalize their recommendation to the court for at least 48 hours, so he figured he had "two extra days of freedom." Thus, he "just went out to celebrate."

Smell a rat?

One notable consistency between the Clinton and Bush administrations is that the Department of the Interior still is not certain how to remedy what federal judge Royce Lamberth has called the government's squandering of more than $10 billion in Native American trust funds -- payments for grazing, mining, logging and oil-drilling on Indian lands. The government is required by law to manage the funds that date back as far as 1887. In 1999, the department said it was unable to examine some trust-fund records because they were filed in decrepit rooms with so much rat feces as to be hazardous. Last month, a status report was finally prepared for Lamberth, but various department officials declined to sign it because of a lack of confidence that it was truthful.

At a loss for words

In July, Mattie Charlene Dyer, 70, married Yang Yukun, 71, in Calgary, Alberta; and the couple set up home in the Canadian city. The bride is an American-born teacher who speaks only English, and the groom is a retired pipefitter who has lived all his life in Beijing and speaks only Chinese. The marriage is "hard to explain," said Dyer, but there is "an electricity (and) a magnetism between us."

Keeping fit

According to a dispatch from Nigeria reported in the Cape Argus in Cape Town, South Africa, Ms. Amina Haruna, 22, of Gusau, Nigeria, was turned down by a Muslim court in August in her quest to divorce her husband, Malam Hassan Mujahid, on the sole ground that his penis is too large for her. The court ruled that it could not determine, even after doctors examined the couple, whether the size discrepancy was sufficiently great to make the couple incompatible.

Heavy-handed treatment

In a Suffolk County, Mass., court, Dr. Marcos Ramos, 59, was convicted of 13 counts of indecent assault on female patients and sentenced to at least six years in prison. His lawyer, Willie J. Davis, had hammered the theme to the jurors that Ramos' examinations of patients' breasts -- even though they were unrelated to any condition relevant to their medical cases -- was the right thing to do "because you never know when (cancer) is going to appear."

Accidental shooting

Gail M. Follis, 35, was charged with attempted robbery of a convenience store in Elkhorn, Wis., after an employee spotted her in the back of the store carrying a rifle and attempting to put on a ski mask. According to the clerk, Hollis said she knew the situation looked bad, but that she had just come in from skeet-shooting (hence, the gun) and just wanted to buy some beer (though beer sales were prohibited at that time of the morning).


A 15-year-old student in Kansas City, Mo., who had previously told police that he and his 29-year-old teacher had been having sex, took the witness stand at a preliminary hearing and said he could not recall whether or not he had sex with the teacher: The boy testified, "I have a pretty bad memory."

Nick at night (and day)

According to an August profile in the St. Petersburg Times, local resident Tom Cagley, 66, has chronicled the life of his 21-year-old son, Nick, by making journal entries about him every day since the father found out his wife was pregnant. That's 8,019 consecutive days. The journal fills 62 spiral notebooks, totaling 7,412 pages and -- the elder Cagley estimates -- 3 million words. While generally appreciative of Dad's effort, Nick admitted that he has not been interested in reading the journals.

Sheep for brains

The British government aborted its study of whether mad cow disease can spread to sheep after it realized it had been mistakenly studying cow brains for five years instead of sheep brains. Ã? A medical examiner in Nashville said the man who pushed his already-strangled wife off a hotel balcony did not then commit suicide by leaping, but clumsily fell behind her to his death.