Malaysia Seeks to Flush Smelly Bathroom Image

Malaysia is hoping to wash its restrooms’ stinky reputation down the drain.

The country’s toilets, which long have irked residents and tourists, are the subject of a two-day conference in Kuala Lumpur, the National Toilet Summit, aimed at improving sanitary conditions at facilities throughout Malaysia, the Associated Press reports.

“Having clean restrooms in this country is a serious challenge that we have to tackle,” said Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Robert Lau, whose ministry will hold the conference Aug. 24 and Aug. 25.

Officials hope to motivate public toilet operators and users to clean up their act by providing oft-absent bathroom basics such as toilet paper, soap and even toilet seats. Many restrooms also fall prey to vandalism.

Lau said the meeting would bring together local officials and international experts on toilet management, including the founder of the World Toilet Organization, Jack Sim.

"The mission is to raise users' etiquette and to motivate the change in the psychological ethics and attitudes of users and owners," he said.

Shopping malls and other commercial establishments that do not have clean toilets may not have their business licenses renewed, he said, adding the government was also considering imposing fines for vendors with dirty washrooms.

Fido Takes Heat Over Doggie Bag Attempt

A hungry hound was in the doghouse on Monday after starting a fire at its owner’s home.

The family’s four-legged friend apparently set fire to its Wolfeboro, N.H., house after jumping on the counter to eat lunch leftovers and stepping on a knob that ignited a burner on the stove, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators determined that the blaze, which damaged the home, started in the kitchen near the stove.

The dog "appears to have jumped up on or against the stove, where there were remnants of a lunch the family had made and did what dogs do," Deputy Chief Tom Zottie said.

The older model gas stove's knobs need only be turned to ignite.

No one was home when flames broke out at the house on Monday afternoon. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control within two hours and the dog escaped.

Planner Not Ashamed of Being a 'Sinner'

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Move over, Sin City.

Someone in this town wants to build a community called Sinnerville. The Campbell County Commission was scheduled to consider the final plan Tuesday for the 42-acre subdivision, named for its planner, Jason Sinner.

The subdivision's name, not favored by a few, is expected to be a topic. "I expect there would be some discussion on that," said Marilyn Mackey, commission chairwoman, who added she probably wouldn't choose to live in a place called Sinnerville.

"However, the county really does not regulate the naming of subdivisions unless there's a conflict with another subdivision."

Public Works Director Mike Coleman said in November that commissioners were opposed to the name. But Sinner told the planning commission he's proud of his name and of his family, which includes George A. Sinner, who served as governor of North Dakota from 1985 to 1992.

Barb Doyle of Doyle Land Surveying, who worked with Sinner on Sinnerville, said she would fight any attempt at Tuesday's commission meeting to change the subdivision's name, pointing out that other subdivisions have taken on family names.

The 'Little' Mermaid She's Not

WELLINGTON, Fla. (AP) — The big-busted, bronze mermaid statute "The Siren" is not welcome here anymore.

The life-size sea temptress, the marquee exhibit at the Wellington Community Center's inaugural Art in Public Places program, drew media attention last summer because of her top-heavy bust line.

"Unfortunately, they didn't want her back," artist Norman J. Gitzen told the Palm Beach Post. "They were tired of the bad publicity."

Gitzen added nipples to the statue last month while it was on loan to the Palm Beach International Sculpture Biennale at Wellington Green. The city warned Gitzen to remove them before returning the mermaid. But then he received a call from Paul Schofield, Wellington's community services director, telling him "The Siren" was no longer needed.

"It didn't matter what decision I made. There was going to be some controversy one way or another," said Schofield, whose department oversees Art in Public Places. "Did publicity play into it? No."

Couple Creates Love Story for the Ages

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A 33-year-old man in northern Malaysia has married a 104-year-old woman, saying mutual respect and friendship had turned to love, a news report said Tuesday.

It was Muhamad Noor Che Musa's first marriage and his wife's 21st, according to The Star newspaper, which cited a report in the Malay-language Harian Metro tabloid.

Muhamad, an ex-army serviceman said he found peace and a sense of belonging after meeting Wook Kundor, whom he said he initially sympathized with because she was childless, old and alone, the report said.

"I am not after her money, as she is poor," Muhamad reportedly said. "Before meeting Wook, I never stayed in one place for long."

He said he hoped to help his new bride to master Roman script while she taught him Islamic religious knowledge. The report did not say if any of Wook's previous 20 husbands are still alive.

Malaysian Muslim men are allowed by their religion to take up to four wives at a time, but reports of women who marry more than once are rare. Muslim women do not practice polygamy.

Malaysia's 26 million population comprises about 60 percent Muslims, almost all ethnic Malays. Large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities are Buddhists, Hindus or Christians.

Click in the box above to see a picture of the newlyweds.

Compiled by's Heather Scroope.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things) to