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By United Press International  |  Dec. 14, 2005 at 6:30 AM
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Boy gets his nose back from inside dog

BRNO, Czech Republic, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Surgeons in the Czech Republic have successfully reattached an 11-year-old boy's nose that had been bitten off and swallowed by a dog.

The unidentified boy was attacked by an Alsatian in the town of Lipova, and local doctors were quick to contact the veterinarian who was going to euthanize the animal. The doctors asked him to check the dog's stomach contents, and the nose was found intact, and not chewed, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.

Concerned with infection, the medical team at St. Anna Hospital in Brno carefully sterilized it, and chief plastic surgeon, Dr. Jiri Vesely, used micro-surgery to reattach it.

Vesely said after the 11-hour operation, the boy's sense of smell is not affected and he can breathe normally.

Argentina turns Claus into tax collector

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Argentine adults are being told by jolly old St. Nick this Christmas season to pay their taxes or wind up on the naughty list, or worse, prison.

Some 100 Santa Clauses have been deployed around the Argentine capital to spread the word about paying taxes on time, the BBC reported.

The "Holidays without debt" campaign is being waged in an effort to curtail tax evasion, a problem dogging the Argentine government.

Some of the Santas will even go to stores to make sure all transactions are being declared.

Argentina is still reeling from an economic crisis that crippled the country by the end of 2001.

Nero's palace to close due to rains

ROME, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Italian authorities have closed the Golden Palace of Roman Emperor Nero in Rome for fear recent heavy rains may cause it to collapse.

"Safety is no longer guaranteed" at the Domus Aurea, or House of Gold, Italian Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione told the BBC.

The palace may remain closed for more than two years, Buttiglione said. It was closed for 18 years for restoration work before reopening in 1999.

The palace was originally completed in 68 A.D., the year Nero committed suicide. It was called the House of Gold because of the extensive use of gold leaf to adorn it, the report said.

Today's bar mitzvahs a lavish celebration

NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- New York is the bar and bat mitzvah capital of the world, where hundreds of the Jewish coming-of-age parties routinely top $100,000 each year, a report said.

The grandiose bar mitzvah appears to be a U.S. invention to celebrate 13-year-olds' becoming adults, The Washington Post reported.

In an extreme example, body-armor maker executive David Brooks spent millions on his daughter's recent bat mitzvah atop the Rockefeller Plaza that included entertainment from 50 Cent and Aerosmith, the newspaper reported.

Pat James, whose Parties by Pat James plans about 80 New York bar mitzvahs a year, is the most sought after planner.

"Casino stuff" including poker and other wagering games are the most popular with today's teens, James said of bar mitzvah's booked years in advance.

"It can get pretty competitive among the parents," James told the newspaper. "I've had fathers say, 'I'll hire you, but only if you put on my son's bar mitzvah first.'"

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