♦ For 12 Pakistani soccer players, it was supposed to be a friendly game with a team in Afghanistan. The men forgot about the Taliban, the fundamentalist militia that rules the latter country. One local official was so offended by the Pakistani team’s uniforms, which left much of their legs exposed, that he and his fellow soldiers interrupted the game at gunpoint. He then punished the Pakistani team by shaving their heads.
The overzealous official was arrested but not entirely renounced: The government warned visiting athletes that in the future they must abide by the nation’s strict dress code, which requires long pants and tunics. The state will, however, waive the requirement that men wear beards.
♦ Thinh Pham was playing ball with children in his Dallas neighborhood when four men attacked him, knocking out four of his front teeth. Now Pham–who has the mental capacity of a sixth-grader and lives in a group home with four other disabled adults–is afraid to leave the house.
The men apparently thought he was a pedophile: His address is listed in the state’s official registry of sex offenders. But Pham and his housemates simply had the misfortune of living at the address a pedophile had called home several months before. The state’s sex offender list never updated the information.
♦ In Indianapolis, a new ordinance makes coin-operated violent video games off-limits to those under 18, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The law also requires those games to be kept at least 10 feet from nonviolent games and separated from them by a wall or curtain.
♦ Jay Brocco had his home raided by the Washington, D.C., police, whose warrant said they were looking for child porn or evidence of child sexual abuse; Brocco was charged with exposing himself to a teen who worked at his health club.
Brocco’s lawyer quickly found that his client hadn’t been at the club on the day in question, a fact police could have discovered if they’d checked the attendance log or the surveillance cameras at the club. Nor had they bothered to show Brocco’s photo to the teen victim. When they did, the teen immediately told them they had the wrong man.
By the time Brocco was cleared, his photo had run in the newspaper as that of a possible sex criminal, and he’d run up several thousand dollars in legal bills.
♦ When Ja Rule’s record company ordered his band, the Murderers, to remove lyrics about violence against police officers and gays from an album, the African-American rapper accused it of discrimination. After all, he said, the label didn’t say anything about the band’s equally derogatory remarks about blacks.