UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Aug. 8, 2003 at 5:45 PM
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Wedding with impossible ring exchange

HOUSTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Many a bridegroom has been warned to keep his feet on the ground but there's no way Yuri Malenchenko can this weekend.

The orbiting Russian cosmonaut will exchange marriage vows with Ekaterina Dmitriev, who will be 240 miles below on Earth, the Christian Science Monitor said Friday.

Col. Malenchenko proposed before leaving for the International Space Station in April. The couple initially wanted to marry when he returned to Earth in late October but the Columbia tragedy made them rethink their plans.

"Columbia reminded them that life happens, and it doesn't wait for us or our plans," says Jo Ann Schwartz Woodward, the couple's Houston-based wedding planner.

Russian authorities are not impressed. The future Mrs. Malenchenko became a U.S. citizen in 1995.

The occasional fluke of a groom catching his bride's bouquet is not expected to happen.

College whiz denied high school diploma

NEW YORK, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A 15-year-old Manhattan girl who went from eighth grade straight to college can't get her high school diploma.

The New York Post said Friday Angela Lipsman has earned 71 college credits, but the city Department of Education said only 17 can be counted toward a high-school diploma.

That leaves her 27 credits short of obtaining a diploma, Lester Young, head of the department's Office of Youth Development and School Community Services, said in a letter to her father, Dan Lipsman.

And without the high-school diploma, she can't get the college degree, despite having enough credits from Manhattan Community College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Her dad is furious, the newspaper said.

Naked accordionist calendar takes off

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Sales of a new calendar featuring nude accordion players from Canada's Newfoundland just keep pumping.

The idea was unveiled last weekend at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reported.

The calendar, called "Pulling Out All the Stops," was merely a quirky fundraising idea, but all 300 copies sold out on the weekend, and a St. John's printer is busy getting another 1,700 printed for another sale this weekend.

Accordion players of all ages are featured -- the youngest is 19, while the oldest are senior citizens, including Mr. September, Frank Maher.

"They were saying 'Frank, are you beating off the women?'" Maher laughed.

"It was the buzz of the festival," said Folk Arts Council board member Andrew Lang. "We sold more calendars than ... all the CDs put together.

Big bucks bust in counterfeit caps

NEW YORK, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- New York police have arrested two New Jersey men found in a $1.5 million Yankee baseball cap counterfeiting ring.

The New York Post said Friday there was local outrage the alleged operation was based in the so-called (Bronx) Bombers' own back yard.

Police first went to the warehouse July 30 with a warrant to seize a logo embroidery sewing machine that had been reported stolen.

But, while inspecting the premises, officers not only found the embroidery machine but hundreds of red, yellow and gray Yankee logo caps in various stages of completion -- hats that had not been authorized by Major League Baseball.

Unable to produce a permit, warehouse owners Sung Sil Park, 49, and Sung Joh, 45, were arrested on the spot. They were charged with multiple trademark counterfeiting counts.

Licensing industry experts estimate the Bronx counterfeit operation cost Major League Baseball more than $5 million in lost sales.

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