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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday February 19, 06:26 pm
Argentina says orangutans aren’t your objects any more

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

An Argentine court ruled that a 29-year-old orangutan held by a Buenos Aires zoo is a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, paving the way for her to be transferred to a sanctuary. The decision came after the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights filed a habeas corpus petition claiming the ape had sufficient cognitive skills and should not be treated as an object. Adrian Sestelo, the zoo’s head of biology, responded that to claim an animal “suffers abuse, is stressed or depressed, is to make one of man’s most common mistakes, which is to humanize animal behaviour.” (Reuters)


The Not-Wonderful Wizard

The Oneida Indian Nation announced plans to open a $20 million casino in Chittenango, N.Y., honouring author L. Frank Baum, who was born in the village and wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum also called for the “total annihilation” of Native Americans. Ernestine Chasing Hawk, a descendent of the 300 Sioux slaughtered at Wounded Knee, called the project a betrayal, asking in the Native American Times, “Would the Jews build a casino to honour Hitler?” (The Washington Post)


Nein On The Rhine

Some 500 German right-wing protesters arriving for an anti-immigration rally in Schwerin were handed banners and stickers reading “,” which they assumed was the website for Mvgida, their xenophobic, anti-Islam organization. The site actually opposes right-wing extremism and urges tolerance. The duped protesters, many of them professed neo-Nazis, learned hours later that they had been demonstrating on behalf of immigrants instead of against them. (The Washington Post)

A few days later, members of Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party boarded a train to attend a neo-Nazi protest in Freiburg. They missed the rally because they went 200 kilometres in the opposite direction before realizing their mistake. “We don’t feel their absence here,” Freiburg Mayor Otto Neideck said after organizers cancelled the rally due to low turnout. (Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News)


Holy Spanking

Pope Francis said spanking children is permissible, as long as their dignity is maintained. The pope, who has previously suggested he will punch people insulting his mother, made his remarks while outlining the role of fathers, noting that a good father forgives but is able “to correct with firmness.” (Associated Press)


Special Delivery

Police arrested Paul Bennett, 45, for trying to have sex with a mailbox at a shopping arcade outside Manchester, England. A witness spotted Bennett approaching the mailbox with his pants down and making “sexual advances towards it.” He then rubbed himself against it while holding his hands in the air and shouting “wow.” After completing the act, he pulled up his pants and started swinging on a lamppost. The witness called police, who found Bennett again exposing himself. (Britain’s Manchester Evening News)


The Daily Menu

A Korean restaurant in central China began offering free meals to the 50 best-looking customers each day. The Jeju Island restaurant in Zhengzhou escorts arrivals to a “beauty identification area,” where a panel of local plastic surgeons evaluates their faces, eyes, noses and mouth. Protruding foreheads are a particular advantage. City authorities accused the restaurant of damaging the city’s image, but manager Xue Hexin vowed the promotion would continue. (Britain’s The Telegraph)


Define “Life-Threatening”

After Facebook and Instagram service went down in San Francisco’s East Bay area, five people called 911 to ask when the sites would be back online. “Even though Facebook is important to a lot of people, it’s not a matter of life and death when it stops working,” the dispatcher said after asking residents to stop calling to complain. “One caller even called back to tell me I was being rude because I told her it wasn’t a life-threatening emergency.” (San Francisco’s KCBS-TV)


More Funding Needed

A year after Colorado legalized marijuana, a panel of doctors studying the health effects of marijuana and how people are using it concluded that the $8 million the state earmarked for its research isn’t enough. “We don’t have the answers yet,” said Mike Van Dyke of the state Department of Public Health and Environment, who heads the panel. Among the topics needing investigation: the health effects on pot-smoking skiers. (Associated Press)


Just What The World Needs

SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables introduced seeds for “Ketchup’n’Fries,” a hybrid plant consisting of thin-skinned white potatoes attached to a vine of red cherry tomatoes, aimed at home gardeners with limited growing space. Also known as TomTato, it was created by Britain’s Thompson & Morgan and previously available only in Europe. (New York Daily News)


Nice Work If You Can Get It

The National Institutes of Health gave Daniel Resnic $2.4 million to develop an “origami condom,” described as a non-rolled, silicone-based condom designed to “increase pleasure,” but then cancelled the project after a former employee accused Resnic of spending the funding on trips to Costa Rica, lavish parties at the Playboy mansion, full-body plastic surgery, a condo in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and patents for numerous “get-rich-quick” schemes. (Washington Free Beacon)


Promotion In Motion

John Balmer, 50, was arrested at a Kmart store in Hudson, Florida, while wearing a T-shirt that read, “Who needs drugs?” Below that, it said, “No, seriously, I have drugs.” When a sheriff’s deputy entered the store, Balmer tried to hand a “bag of green leafy substance” to the person behind him, officers reported, but the person wouldn’t take the bag, which deputies retrieved and said contained marijuana and methamphetamine. (Tampa Bay Times)


Give Me The Wings And No One Gets Hurt

Allan Johnston, 40, received four years in prison for robbing a woman in Stirling, Scotland, authorities there said, by using “a can of Red Bull to mimic a gun.” (BBC News)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet

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