? Fort Wayne, Indiana, resident Joe Carlisle called police one evening to complain that someone was shooting at his house. Police investigators found that Carlisle had earlier placed a loaded semiautomatic handgun in his oven, then forgot it was there and turned the oven on. Carlisle apparently offered no explanation as to why he kept his gun in his oven.

? In Israel, the government barely fended off a no-confidence vote prompted by defenders of the biblical King David. During a debate, someone offered the example of King David's conquests of other peoples as justification for keeping land seized in war from the Arabs. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres replied that King David did things, such as commit adultery and subjugate others, that were wrong. That prompted howls of protests from the country's religious parties, who argued that people should not be free to criticize King David.

? In Brasilia, Brazil, an unemployed maid and mother of seven burned a winning lottery ticket after her minister told her she would "sink in sin in hell" if she collected her winnings. Maria Nascimento's husband, also unemployed, beat her up and left her when he found out what she had done.

? In Stockholm, Sweden, Irene Wachenfeldt has been forced to resign from her post as high school teacher. Seems she stripped in front of one of her adult classes in an effort to drive home her lesson about the importance of loving one's body. Her students have protested her dismissal.

? In New Orleans, a woman who used her deceased husband's stored sperm to become pregnant has gone to court to have the child declared the man's child and heir. She wants to win Social Security survivor's benefits for the girl.

? Linda Wertheimer, host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered, was asked by a caller on C-SPAN about government funding of public radio. Ms. Wertheimer interrupted the caller to dispute the basis of the question. NPR, she steadfastly maintained, receives no taxpayer support. In fact, it gets about $40 million a year in tax dollars. Following the exchange, NPR announced that it is preparing a fact sheet for staffers on the sources of NPR's funds.

? Washington state trooper Lane W. Jackstadt has been charged with illegal imprisonment and official misconduct. Jackstadt stopped a couple for speeding and found out they were trying to get the woman to an appointment for an abortion. He then told the couple he was a Christian, began lecturing them on the evil of abortion, held them for 45 minutes in an attempt to cause them to miss the appointment, and forced them to go to a church-run counseling session. Jackstadt's lawyer claims that his client is being persecuted for his beliefs.

? The world's top chess players went to Moscow for a tournament. What they got were threats, beatings, and robberies. The Macedonian team captain was beaten into unconsciousness and robbed twice. A U.S. player was mugged, and the robbers threatened his life if he did not come back the next day with more money. Other chess players reported that someone pounded on their hotel doors in the middle of the night and threatened them.

? In University Park, Texas, 16-year-old Chase Russell wanted to improve his baseball game, so he took his savings and had a batting cage built in his parents' back yard. Now the city is threatening the family with huge fines for violating zoning ordinances and for failing to get the proper building permits.

? Tennessee's Henry County High School had to cancel its Christmas concert following a brawl in which the chorus teacher allegedly smashed the band director in the face with a chair. Kenneth Humphrey, who is also a county commissioner and a minister, was charged with aggravated assault. He and Martin Paschall had apparently gotten into an argument over who would make an announcement at the concert.

? Hitler, Gingrich, what's the difference? In a Christmas Day speech in Great Britain, Jesse Jackson spoke out against the "status quo." "In South Africa the status quo was called racism. In Germany it was called fascism. Now in Britain and the United States, it is called conservatism," he said.