Unclear on the Concept 

When Arien O'Connell posted the fastest time in October's Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, she expected of course to be declared the winner, but the shoe company apparently had promised a group of elite runners (to attract them to enter the race) that one of them would be the "winner," and consequently, first place went to a woman who ran 11 minutes behind O'Connell. After a storm of complaints, Nike reluctantly settled on calling both women "winners" and said next year it would scrap the two-tier system.

In November, the Swedish national newspaper Expressen revealed a 30-person bestiality ring operating out of a farm in southern Sweden, but the 45-year-old man who allegedly headed the group said his members were always respectful of animals: "Any of the times I did anything with (the dog), she was the one who backed into me and provoked it. She was in heat and made herself available. ... There were also times later when she didn't want to and then I backed out immediately."

London's Daily Mail reported (after an investigation under Britain's freedom of information act) that more than half of the local government councils responding admitted that they were using anti-terror laws and surveillance equipment to monitor such mundane activities as whether residents put their garbage out at the proper times for pickup. Said one prominent critic, "We are no longer living in what most would recognize as a free society."

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