DATELINE: New Zealand—As a sideline case to a custody battle, Judge Rob Murfitt ruled that the state would temporarily make a young girl a ward of the court so that she would be legally allowed to change her given name of Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, according to the New Zealand Herald. Citing recent examples such as Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and a pair of twins named Benson and Hedges, the judge’s decision stated in part that “Quite frequently judges in the family court are dismayed by the eccentricity of names which some litigants have given their children.” Though the girl had kept her given name mostly secret by introducing herself as “K.,” the decision ruled that “In all facets of life, a child bearing this name would be held up to ridicule and suspicion. ... It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap quite unnecessarily.” To protect her anonymity, the girl’s new name was not made public.
DATELINE: Britain—BBC News reports that the yeti may be found, or at least Ian Redmond hopes so, as the biologist and ape conservationist has sent a few hairs allegedly from a yeti-like creature for extensive DNA tests. Redmond received the hairs through BBC journalist Alastair Lawson; Lawson in turn got them from Indian yeti researcher Dipu Marak, who reportedly “retrieved them in dense jungle in ... India after a forester allegedly spotted the creature on three consecutive days in 2003.” Marak described what he saw as a “mande barung,” a nearly 10-foot-tall apelike version of the abominable snowman of lore. “Under the microscope, [the hairs] look slightly human,” said Redmond, “slightly like an orangutan and slightly like the hairs brought back by Edmund Hillary.” He added that “these hairs remain an enigma. They could be a new species, but the DNA tests will hopefully tell us more.”
DATELINE: Britain—Police in Devon will attempt to address problems caused by drunkards urinating in the street by having the offenders mop up the mess, according to the Daily Mail. As part of a “general crackdown on drunken behaviour and violence,” police officers will “equip themselves with cleaning gear” to be given the perpetrator. Those who refuse to clean up will be issued a fine or arrested. Police superintendent Chris Singer admitted that the new law was “a bit tongue-in-cheek” but also called it “restorative justice.” Said Singer, “We can’t force people to do it but if somebody’s drunk and they’re causing a nuisance of that nature there are offences committed.”
DATELINE: Brazil—Brazilian newspaper O Globo recently ran a “Man Bites Dog” headline, or more specifically, “Boy Bites Dog.” Eleven-year-old Gabriel Almeida was attacked by a pit bull while playing in a relative’s backyard. When the dog bit into the boy’s arm, Gabriel retaliated by biting into the dog’s neck. Bystanders managed to free the boy from the dog, and Gabriel was given four stitches in his arm at a hospital, also losing a canine tooth in the fight. Explained Gabriel to O Globo: “I grabbed him by the neck and bit. It’s no big deal. It’s better to lose a tooth than to lose your life.”
DATELINE: Peru—Leysi Suarez, a dancer with the pop band Alma Bella, may get up to four years in prison on charges of “offending patriotic symbols.” Suarez posed naked on the cover of D’Farandula magazine’s inaugural issue while sitting on a horse and using the Peruvian national flag as a saddle. “These are patriotic symbols that demand total respect,” stated defense minister Antero Flores, “and using them improperly requires punishment.” Saurez defended herself on a national radio show, saying, “I haven’t committed a crime. I love Peru and show it with my body and soul.” Both the magazine’s publishers and Alma Bella have pledged to assist in Suarez’ legal support. The pictures are now publicly available at national newspaper El Comerico’s website, elcomercio.com.pe.
DATELINE: Missouri—A new organization called Pray at the Pump held two prayer services at St. Louis gas stations last week in order to properly thank God for lower gas prices. The specific Mobil gas station near downtown St. Louis will now be the site of regular weekly gatherings at which participants buy gasoline, give thanks and join together in a version of “We Shall Overcome” supplemented with a new verse that says, “We’ll have lower gas prices” twice on Mondays. The founder of the movement is Rocky Twyman, an activist that in July attempted to petition the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C. in hopes of getting the Arab nation to release 1,000,000 more barrels of crude oil per day. Twyman has organized Pray at the Pump events in Virginia, Ohio and California and believes their efforts are working, as “prices are starting to fall below $4 a gallon.”