Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Nov. 3, 2004 at 6:30 AM
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Masturbating man may get relief in court

OTTAWA, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- An appeal of charges against a Vancouver man who could be seen masturbating in his apartment reached the lofty Supreme Court of Canada Tuesday.

Lawyers for Daryl Clark began arguments to have his four-month jail sentence overturned, claiming the man was unaware anyone could see him, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reported.

Earlier this year, a neighbor saw Clark masturbating from her apartment and called police. An officer who was also able to see Clark shone his light to attract Clark's attention, causing Clark to jump back from the window.

He was charged with committing an indecent act in public, which Micheal Vonn, of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said is inaccurate.

"You don't have a right to subject other people, without their consent to this kind of exhibit," Vonn said. "But it happens just sometimes because ... you forgot to close the blinds."

ABC orders more 'Wife Swap' episodes

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- ABC-TV has ordered more episodes of the reality TV show "Wife Swap" that trades mothers between two disparate U.S. families for two weeks.

The show has improved ABC's Wednesday performance -- so far this year the show's 10 p.m. slot is running neck and neck with NBC-TV's "Law & Order" among the advertiser-coveted 18- to 49-year-olds, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

"It's a testament to the strength of the show and the quality of the show in both how well it's produced and how well it's cast," said Andrea Wong, ABC's vice president for alternative programming.

"Wife Swap" is produced by Stephen Lambert, Jenny Crowther and Michael Davies, the same producers that made the British version of the show a hit in the United Kingdom.

Wong said a second season of "Wife Swap" is being considered.

Not far behind might be "Husband Swap" and "Boss Swap." Both are being produced as one-hour installments with the possibility of a series next season.

Shirin Ebadi sues U.S. gov't over memoirs

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize, is suing the U.S. government for blocking publication of her memoirs.

American companies are banned from publishing books by authors in countries subject to U.S. sanctions -- Iran, Cuba and Sudan -- unless the works have already been completed without any U.S. involvement, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Ebadi and her would-be literary agent, the Strothman Agency, filed suit in New York last week and a federal judge Monday agreed to add it to comparable suits brought by other publishers and authors.

Ebadi said blocking the publication of her memoirs in the United States would be a "critical missed opportunity both for Americans to learn more about my country and its people from a variety of Iranian voices and for a better understanding to be achieved between our two countries."

Federal regulations also forbid publishers from promoting or marketing works from Iran, Cuba and Sudan unless they obtain a license from the Treasury Department.

Urban black obesity linked to fast food

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The epidemic of obesity in low income, majority black U.S. neighborhoods is linked to the density of fast-food outlets, Tulane University researchers report.

Researchers used computer software to analyze the placement of fast food restaurants in Orleans Parish in Louisiana, and found predominantly black neighborhoods had 2.4 such eateries per square mile, while white neighborhoods only had 1.5.

"We know that when people eat fast food, they often have larger portions with higher calorie counts than they do if they cook fresh food at home," wrote the study's lead author, Jason Block, now an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "We also know that obesity is increasingly a problem for low-income and black individuals."

The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Arnold for president speculation grows

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Some Republicans are already thinking about California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for president, Daily Variety reported Tuesday.

Noting the Republican Party will be in the market for another presidential candidate in 2008 regardless of the outcome of today's election, the paper said analysts are coming up with scenarios that involve amending the Constitution so a foreign-born citizen can be elected president. However, the paper said Schwarzenegger has been "typically coy" about his future political ambitions.

On Monday, Schwarzenegger said he would not campaign on behalf of a constitutional amendment.

"It will become too political with me as part of it," he said. "I don't want it to be the Arnold Amendment."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced an amendment that would allow immigrants who have been citizens for 20 years or more to serve as president. Schwarzenegger celebrated the 20th anniversary of his citizenship in 2003.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., supports a bill in the House that would require naturalized citizens to wait 35 years before they could serve as president. If that were the law, Schwarzenegger would not be eligible until 2020, when he will be 73.

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