News in Briefs | Issue 8

World Watch

Berlin, Germany
A 65 year old primary school teacher, Annegret Raunigk, is reportedly due to give birth to quadruplets. It is likely she will deliver by Caesarean section. Raunigk is already a mother to 13 other children - she gave birth to her youngest daughter a decade ago. Because of her age, she won’t be able to breastfeed.

A Canadian Conservative Party senator has claimed reimbursements for breakfast food bought before flights even though the senator could have had the airline meal. Senator Nancy Ruth justified her $11,000 in expenses by saying, “Those breakfasts are pretty awful. If you want ice-cold Camembert with broken crackers, have it!”

Northland, New Zealand
Police officers in the Northland region are adopting a new approach to reducing speeding. Motorists who are seen driving well will now be entered into a weekly prize draw to win $150 of supermarket vouchers. The new initiative is part of a five-week road safety campaign being run in conjunction with local councils.

Chechnya, Russia
Officials want children to stop playing with Western toys. The commissioner said Spider-Man and Transformers are “figments of unhealthy imaginations”. They should instead play with toys from Chechen folk heroes. Prototype toys will be released later this month. 

In Mali residents can choose between two income tax regimens, 3 percent or 30 percent, as the government believes this will encourage more people to pay income tax in a largely informal economy. There have also been reports of those unable to pay taxes they owe instead giving tax staff goods from their shops and even, in one case, a goat.

United Kingdom
An election candidate for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) will be questioned by police over claims he bribed voters with sausage rolls. After putting the snacks out at an event, Kim Rose has allegedly breached Electoral Commission rules which state that food and entertainment cannot be provided by candidates to influence votes.

Kansas, United States
A charity Planting Peace opened an “Equality House” opposite the infamous Westboro Baptist Church — whose members have picketed American soldiers’ funerals with homophobic signs — two years ago. Some Westboro members have left the church to join the Equality House which just hosted a mass “kiss-in” where couples of all orientations kissed each other outside the church.

San Francisco, United States
A man accused of breaking into an apartment has been acquitted after his attorney successfully argued the man was actually attempting to board a spaceship he thought was on its roof. The man was apparently suffering meth-induced psychosis and believed the end of the world was near.

Minnesota, United States
About US$70,000 of bull semen was stolen from a barn in the rural town of Leroy. A storage canister with vials of bull semen was taken from the unlocked barn on Easter Sunday. There are currently no suspects and the case has been passed on to investigators.


“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall asleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.” 

President Barak Obama has called for the United States to ban gay conversion therapy on minors. Gay conversion therapy seeks to “cure” transgender individuals but leaves its victims lonely and unhappy. So far California, New Jersey and Washington DC have banned doctors from conducting reparative therapy on LGBT minors, and 18 more states have similar laws in the legislative process.

“You’ve got to realize something, I stayed in a five-by-seven for 30 years, just about. I was in that cell by myself, no one else but me. I’ve got to get used to noise and the sounds of everything because it’s fairly quiet on death row. Every man is in his own world. You’ve got some reading books, some drawing, some watching TV, some up under their headphones. We all did our time differently.” 

Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of murdering two restaurant managers in Alabama in 1985, and was sentenced to the death penalty. Hinton has just been exonerated of these charges after 30 years on death row. The only evidence linking Hinton to the crime was that the bullets used matched a .38 revolver from his home, despite counter-evidence that proved Hinton was at work at the time of the shootings.

“When the Air Self-Defence Force detects indications of an unidentified flying object that could violate our country’s airspace, it scrambles fighter jets if necessary and makes visual observation. They sometimes find birds or flying objects other than aircraft but I don’t know of a case of finding an unidentified flying object believed to have come from anywhere other than Earth.”

General Nakatani, Japanese Defence Minister, was forced to make a statement in parliament that Japan’s air force had not found any UFOs originating from space. He was responding to a question from wrestler-turned-politician, Antonio Inoki, who claims he once saw a mysterious flying object shoot into the air on the horizon and disappear.

“Until now Godzilla has been simply destroying, but we hope it will now contribute to the prosperity of Kabukicho and Shinjuku.”

Minami Ichikawa speaking about a 40-foot-tall sculpture of Godzilla, which has been installed in Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment district and named as Shinjuku’s official tourism ambassador. The sculpture is designed to broadcast Godzilla’s iconic call at night, along with a sound and light show.
This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2015.
Posted 12:07pm Sunday 19th April 2015 by Magnus Whyte.