Prisoners Sing for Their Freedom

Singing prisoners, wedding gunfire, and a human piñata.

We've heard of some weird ways to relieve pressure in the world's penitentiaries, but this, we believe, is a first. Across Russia's 13 time zones, prison inmates were offered the opportunity to compose and perform original songs for a unique competition. Some 800 convicts submitted tapes and 23 finalists were escorted to Moscow for final judging in a theatre. The six top finalists won the ultimate prize: their freedom.

Da, comrade! The winners got full pardons. Russian prison officials declined to identify the winners or to disclose what they had been doing time for. Officials only reported that two of the six were women, and all of them were "pleased."

Inadvertent Plane Attackers

Cops in Kraljevo, central Serbia, have a one-in-a-billion case to work, and no idea what kind of report to file on it. It's not every day that an aircraft is shot down by a wedding.

Two guys who weren't quite through with their pilot training were taking a low-level, leisurely Sunday cruise through the mountain passes when they found themselves flying directly over a wedding ceremony in a meadow. They enjoyed the colorful scene-for a couple of seconds, anyway. They were eyeballing the crowd of people just as the bride and groom were declared man and wife, which, naturally, was the signal for just about every man there to point his AK-47 in the air and rip off a long, joyous burst.

A witness, Zoran Vukadinovic, told reporters he saw the left wing sorta coming apart in splinters, then the aircraft burst into flames, flew into some power lines, and plowed into the ground. Merrymaking was temporarily suspended long enough for some men to run over and pull the men out of the wreckage. Once it was established that the two were seriously injured but not dead, the party ramped up again.

Human Piñata

Police in Yucatan, Mexico, arrived at a death scene and instantly wished they hadn't gotten the call. They found two hysterical children, candy all over the ground, and one very deceased adult male who had apparently been beaten to death and then hanged. It took a while to sort things out, and even longer to decide that the most bizarre explanation was the only one that fit.

The 24-year old, Sebastian Cahum Pech, was babysitting his brother, eight, and sister, 13, and ran out of ideas for entertaining them. Like most Mexican children, they loved breaking open piñatas at parties and grabbing up the candy that fell out. So Sebastian agreed to be their human piñata.

Loaded with candy, he clambered up on a wooden beam over the kids' heads, then allowed them to tie his hands and feet and attach a rope to him to help him balance on the beam. Then the children got a couple of stout sticks, put on blindfolds, and commenced to swingin' at their human piñata.

We have to presume Sebastian didn't fully appreciate just how hard two kids can swing sticks, because they beat the stuffin' right out of him. In the midst of the "festivities," Sebastian jumped sideways to avoid their blows and fell from the beam. Did we mention that rope-the one to help him balance-was tied around his neck? Yup. If you're considering a career change, we suggest you cross off "human piñata." It doesn't seem to have much future.

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