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Catastrophe experts in Japan were looking at the worst-case scenario of a 7.3 earthquake hitting Tokyo at noon on a weekday. Of all the potential problems, this one was biggest: not enough toilets. The panel considered the effects of having 12-million people spill out of offices and walk home. They determined that some may have to search 17 hours before finding a working facility. And a lack of toilets could cause additional panic, they surmise. The city plans to add public facilities, but the panel suggests there can't be enough.

Nothing down there is worth retrieving

The train from Paris to La Rochelle was delayed for more than two hours, no doubt causing untold problems for all the passengers. But not as big as the problems suffered by the guy who caused the delay. The Daily Telegraph reports that an unidentified man had to be cut free from a toilet after his arm got stuck in it. Ah, the French. Apparently, the man dropped his phone down there, and perhaps he didn't know that phones are practically free with a qualifying service agreement, so he went in after it. There he became trapped by a powerful suction flushing system, which is a terrible feature in a toilet that your arm is stuck in. Rescue workers cut the toilet off its base, and took him to the hospital with it still attached to his arm. "Apart from bruising and smelling a bit," said a rescue worker, "he suffered no other injuries." Sure, none that you can see.


Even if it's unlocked, it still isn't free

- A Dutch man stole a bicycle that had been planted by police in an attempt to catch a bicycle thief. And it worked. But the man appealed to the supreme court, claiming that since the bike was unlocked, it was entrapment. The court rolled its collective eyes and rejected the appeal. He was sentenced to 22 days in jail.

- Two men in Newent, England, went to a police station looking for their friend. When they found the station unlocked and unoccupied, they did the only natural thing and started stealing stuff. Police caught them and recovered the items. "We have reviewed the security and will be making sure that an incident like this doesn't happen again," a spokesman told the Daily Mail.


Man looking for best offer for wife

Alex Cretu of Romania placed this ad on a used car Web site. Wife for sale. Model 1983, good condition. Full options, nice suspension, second owner. Price is negotiable, comes with 3-year-old and 5-year-old accessories. Seriousness demanded. Cretu, 20, originally was asking $6-million, but reduced his price to $5,000. He said offers so far have either been too low, or wanted him to finance. He says it was a joke, but he waited until his wife was in Spain before placing the ad.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at


"According to expense reports, Sarah Palin charged the state of Alaska over $21,000 for her children to travel with her on official business. In fairness to Gov. Palin, when she leaves them home alone, they get pregnant."

Seth Meyers, Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live