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Jockstrip: The world as we know it

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International   |   June 5, 2002 at 4:00 AM   |   Comments

THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND

A Web site that featured images of wrestlers including 25 minors dressed only in Speedo bathing suits, some posed in "unorthodox positions" was voluntarily shut down by the priest who created the site after questions were raised.

The Junior Professional Wrestling Association site, founded by the Rev. Glenn Michael Davidowich, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church in Mont Clare, Pa., offered to sell photos and videos of the wrestlers, all in the name of charity.

The stated charity was Tomas Mejia, a California teen paralyzed with brain damage following a 1994 auto accident. However, his mother told reporters she has not received money from the wrestling association.

Fifty videotapes of the wrestlers with nicknames of "HardKore Kid," "David Goliath" and "Bad Brad" were offered via the Web site at about $20 each.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State's Corporations Division, a report for the Junior Professional Wrestling Association Inc. was filed on March 5, 1999, as a for-profit company and listed Davidowich as the chief executive officer, PhoenixvilleNews.com reports. Since then, the entity's status has changed to nonprofit for recreational purposes.

Recently, Davidowich's name was removed from the Web site after a complaint was lodged by parishioners to the Bishop Andrew Pataki, the leader of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic, who presides over St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church.


NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS

An unusual conifer found in a remote area of northern Vietnam has been identified as a genus and species previously unknown to science, a report in the journal Novon says.

The limestone ridges where the tree grows are among the most botanically rich areas in Vietnam, says Daniel Harder, director of the University of California at Santa Cruz Arboretum and a co-discoverer of the new species.

Biologists don't need to contemplate finding life on another planet to imagine making extraordinary discoveries; the fact is, most of the species living on our own planet are still unknown," says Norman Platnick, program director in the National Science Foundation's division of environmental biology.

This kind of basic, new knowledge about life, its interrelationships, and how it is distributed across the globe, often has enormous practical implications, guiding the search for new medicines, new pesticides, and even new ways to control alien, invasive species, according to Platnick.

During the several years that Harder spent in Vietnam, he and his collaborators discovered more than 100 new species of plants, but the conifer is by far the most remarkable of those discoveries.

The newly discovered tree is a new genus within the cypress family; botanists have named it Xanthocyparis vietnamensis, the golden Vietnamese cypress. Its closest relative is the yellow spruce of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, also known as the Nootka cypress.


TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING

A football fan in India died of electrocution while trying to watch the World Cup highlights on a faulty television, prompting his distraught mother to set herself on fire, according to the Press Trust of India.

Police say Mukunda Dey in West Bengal was fatally electrocuted when he was changing channels. To grieve his death, his mother attempted suicide by pouring kerosene on her clothes and setting herself on fire. She was rushed to hospital and is in critical condition, according to the Press Trust.

India is not participating in the World Cup, however, that has not stopped World Cup fever from gripping millions of soccer enthusiasts in the country.

A mob of soccer fans ransacked the office of the Kerala State Electricity Board at Kalikavu in the Malappuram district, in protest against the frequent power failures during the World Cup telecast.

The incident took place after a protest march against the power interruptions organized by local people turned violent. The soccer-crazed people stormed the KSEB office and manhandled two officials, Sify News reports.

The KSEB had made elaborate arrangements for uninterrupted power supply during the live telecast period to prevent a violent reaction from the public. Cinema theaters have started screening football matches by suspending the matinee show for the entire World Cup season.


AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY

Erik Weihenmayer is embarking one of the greatest achievements in sports history. His quest is to join an elite group of athletes who have climbed the Seven Summits -- the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents and he's blind.

Last year, Weihenmayer made history when he became the first blind mountain climber to summit Mt. Everest.

"I want my climb of the Seven Summits to shatter the limited perceptions many have of the potential of blind people, to dramatize the limitless possibilities which exist for each of us" says Weihenmayer.

The Seven Summits include: Everest at 29,029 ft. in Asia, Aconcagua at 22,840 ft. in South America, Denali/McKinley at 20,320 ft. in North America, Kilimanjaro at 19,339 ft. in Africia, Elbrus at 18,510 ft. in Europe, Vinson Massif at 16,067 ft. in Antarctica and Carstensz Pyramid at 16,023 ft. in Indonesia.

Approximately 100 people, including 30 Americans, have climbed the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents. Weinhenmayer has scaled all the peaks except Elbrus and Carstensz Pyramid.

Weihenmayer has set off in the 2002 Elbrus Expedition team to scale the highest peak in Europe. The slopes of Elbrus in Russia are covered with glaciers. In fact, it is one of the most glaciated peaks in the world with more than 70 glaciers spilling from its slopes.

If conditions are right, Weihenmayer will continue to shatter perceptions by skiing down Elbrus.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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