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The Weird Week in Review

Surprise Parking Violation

Hila Ben-Baruch parked her car on the street outside her home in Tel Aviv, Israel. Later the same day, she was shocked to find that her car had been towed away, and the parking spot was now designated as a handicapped parking space! Apparently, the lines had been painted while her car was still parked in the spot. When she called the municipal call center about it, they accused her of lying and said she would have to pay 350 shekels ($95) to get her car back, plus the fine for parking in a handicap space.

Ben-Baruch's Facebook post about the incident went viral. Refusing to give up, Ben-Baruch went to an office building overlooking the parking spot and obtained security camera footage.

In the footage, a pair of Tel Aviv municipal workers are seen painting the spot with Ben-Baruch's car still there. Shortly thereafter, a tow truck comes to take Ben-Baruch's car away.

Confronted with the evidence, city officials rescinded the fine and towing fee, and apologized.

Mistrial Declared When Victim's Eyeball Falls Out

A punch during a bar brawl in 2011 caused John Huttick to lose his left eye. Huttick sued Matthew Brunelli in Philadelphia over the incident. Huttick was on the witness stand Wednesday telling his side of the story when he lost his eye again -the glass prosthetic popped out in the courtroom. At least two jurors gasped and acted as if they wanted to leave. The judge immediately declared a mistrial due to the incident. The judge said it was an "unfortunate, unforeseen incident," and set a new trial date for March 4th.

Shoplifting 24 Quarts of Oil

Jorge Sanchez was spotted leaving a Costco store in Burbank, California, without paying for 24 quarts of motor oil. He had broken open cases of oil and stuffed the bottles into his clothing and strapped some to his body with bungee cords. Employees chased Sanchez for eight blocks, while quarts of oil fell along the way. Witnesses report that Sanchez was "running funny," which is no surprise. Sanchez finally stopped and complained that he couldn't breathe. When police searched Sanchez's car, they found an additional 50 quarts of oil, and are investigating where they may have originated.

Thieves Left with Right Shoes …But Not Left

A shoe shop in Exeter, England had a rack of lady's shoes and children's snow boots displayed on the sidewalk outside the store. Some time Monday night or Tuesday morning, someone stole the entire rack! They won't be able to use or sell the shoes, however, because only one shoe -the right one- of each pair was on the rack. Since the shoes will be useless to the thieves, police have appealed to the perpetrators to return the goods. Anyone with information is asked to contact the local Crimestoppers unit.

The Funniest Traffic Jam Outside of Hollywood

The car was small, but the road was tiny. A motorist in Naples, Italy, tried to turn around and avoid parked cars on both sides, but became stuck sideways in the street. Cars wanted to pass both ways. Then a motorcycle gang showed up. Then a church procession. Then the police. Then everyone in the neighborhood, all laughing and loudly offering their opinions. A good time was had by all -except for the driver stuck sideways.

Super Bowl Trip Winner Denied U.S. Entry

Myles Wilkinson of Victoria, British Columbia, entered a fantasy football league contest and won an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl! The excited football fan flew to Toronto Thursday, but when he changed planes to enter the US, he was denied entry -because of his criminal record. He was convicted of marijuana possession in 1981.  

"I had two grams of cannabis. I paid a $50 fine," Wilkinson told CBC news.

Wilkinson said he was 19 when he was busted.

"I can't believe that this is happening, for something that happened 32 years ago."

Wilkinson returned to British Columbia, where he ended up watching the Super Bowl on TV, albeit in style -at the Super Bowl party at Vancouver's Commodore Ballroom, courtesy of Bud Light Canada.

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Weird
Declared Dead, Spanish Prisoner Wakes Up in Morgue Just Before His Autopsy 
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A prisoner in northern Spain survived his "death" and lived to tell the tale when he woke up in a hospital mortuary after being officially certified as deceased. He was scheduled for an autopsy, and remains under hospital observation in Oviedo, Spain, according to the BBC.

Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, 29, was discovered unconscious in his cell on Sunday, January 7, Spanish news outlets report. It's now thought that he might have suffered from catalepsy, a condition in which people become immobile and cease responding to external stimuli. With waxy, flexible limbs and slowed vital signs, patients with catalepsy can appear dead—which might be why not one but three physicians concluded that Jiménez had crossed over to the other side. 

Jiménez was moved to the Institute of Legal Medicine in Oviedo after doctors ordered an autopsy on the inmate's body, IFL Science reports. Family members—who had been informed that Jiménez was dead—said the prisoner’s body was already marked up for dissecting when he began showing signs of life. A forensic team noticed and moved Jiménez to an intensive care unit, where the patient ultimately regained both his memory and speech.

Catalepsy is associated with epilepsy, schizophrenia, nervous system drug toxicity, and other conditions, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Jiménez reportedly has epilepsy, and it's unclear whether prison doctors knew that when they first declared him dead. 

[h/t BBC News]

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Weather Watch
It Just Snowed In the Sahara Desert
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The Sahara isn’t always scorching. This week, a cold spell hit the town of Aïn Séfra in northern Algeria, and the world’s largest hot desert was blanketed in up to 16 inches of the white stuff in some places, The Independent reports.

The rare snowfall began early on Sunday, January 7, with the resulting precipitation melting by late afternoon. The phenomenon marked the region’s third snowfall in nearly 40 years, with other surprise wintry events occurring in February 1979 and December 2016.

Aïn Séfra is located in the Saharan Atlas Mountains in the northern Sahara Desert. Thanks to the region’s altitude, it's “not surprising that the area would see some snow if the conditions were right” a spokesperson for the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, told The Independent. "With the setup over Europe at the moment, which has given us cold weather over the weekend, a push southwards of cold air into that region and some sort of moisture would bring that snow."

Kids enjoyed the freak snowfall, making snowmen and sledding down sand dunes, while adults had to deal with their vehicles getting stranded on icy roads, according to Forbes. By the day's end, temperatures climbed to 42°F and sand dunes returned to their ordinary brown—just long enough for residents of Aïn Séfra to experience both the highs and lows of an ordinary snow day.

[h/t The Independent]

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