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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Monkey on her back

Do they make Nicorette patches for apes? Handlers at a zoo in northwest China are trying to find a way to break a 26-year-old chimpanzee's smoking habit. Ai Ai the chimp's cigarette binge started 15 years ago when she began picking up butts from the ground. Eventually zoo patrons began giving her whole cigarettes, which she apparently was able to light and smoke. Through the years, Ai Ai has begun to hoard cigarettes and zoo officials, who want Ai Ai to quit cold turkey, say the chimpanzee has started to smoke even more after the death of her mate.

Narrow escape

When a 16-month-old New Jersey boy slipped into a narrow crevasse and became trapped nine feet underground, he needed extraordinary help being rescued. That's where "Slim" Jim Pfeiffer came in. Mr. Pfeiffer, an unusually lean firefighter, arrived on the scene with his crew and discovered that, after he removed most of his clothes, he was just skinny enough to slide into the hole with the toddler and lift him out. Not bad for a 6-foot-1, 160-lb. fireman.

Arsenal of commerce

Nuevo Laredo's tourism director had an innovative idea for boosting the number of Americans who cross the Rio Grande and shop in the border town's commercial district. If Texan day-trippers are worried about crime in the drug-war-zone of a city, Ramon Garza says he plans on providing free bus rides with armed police escort. More than 100 people have been gunned down this year in the drug wars that seem to have taken over the town. The United States even shut down its consulate after rival gangs fought with bazookas and machine guns during one street battle.

Snooze you lose II

Australian police had no problem finding the burglar when responding to an alarm at a furniture store one late evening. The culprit had fallen fast asleep in the carpet racks. And his powerful snoring alerted police to his exact position. The 25-year-old man was charged with unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime.