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Monday, December 20, 2004 

Yahoo News: Unlikely Stories of 2004

Yahoo News' list of Unlikely Stories of 2004:

PARIS (AFP) - Every year, thousands of news stories get overlooked, lost in the welter of major international events.

They are, for the most part, simple tales of a human dimension, not involving war, disaster or political unrest, just stories which illustrate the extraordinary in the everyday, the amusing, the absurd, the often lurid and the downright bizarre.

Here, then, is a selection of some of those "offbeat" stories which offered an insight into human nature in 2004:


ZHENGZHOU, China: A Chinese couple raised their only child for 13 years in the belief it was a girl, until a visit to the local hospital alerted them to the fact that he was really a boy with underdeveloped sexual organs. They did not realize anything was wrong until they were baffled by a "reaction in the lower half of his body" whenever he watched pretty women on TV. Doctors concluded he was suffering from a rare disease causing sexual organs to be somewhat hidden from view and performed a successful three-hour operation to correct the problem.

PALEMBANG, Indonesia: A landmark bridge in Sumatra is in danger of collapse because too many men are urinating on one of its steel pillars. Surveyors have found that the Ampera bridge in Palembang has begun to lean at an angle and rocks slightly when traffic is heavy. Council spokesman Azmi Lakonisaid: "We are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves." He added that the acidic fluid's corrosive forces could lead to the eventual collapse of the bridge.

LONDON: British television watchdogs ruled that a pig which was sexually pleasured on camera by a minor celebrity did not feel degraded by the experience. Dozens of viewers had complained about an episode of a reality television show in which the audience were treated to the sight of Rebecca Loos, the self-proclaimed ex-lover of England football captain David Beckham, stimulating the boar for 10 minutes to produce a flask of semen. An animal charity condemned the scenes as "morbid and sordid" but the broadcasting standards body said the procedure was perfectly normal on a farm. "We don't believe that the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar," they ruled.

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