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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

(Kin Cheung/AP)

Another anthem controversy

Some football fans are now booing the national anthem. But they aren’t fans of American football, and the anthem is China’s. With anti-Beijing sentiment on the rise, fans at soccer matches in Hong Kong have begun booing the Chinese anthem. The trend began at a World Cup qualifying match against Qatar in 2015. In September, China adopted a new law to punish people who disrespect its national anthem. The semiautonomous Hong Kong is expected to adopt a similar measure soon, a concern for democracy activists in the former British colony who want to preserve freedom of expression in the city.


(Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

Repeat offender

A deliveryman in Clackamas, Ore., had his wife call 911 when he heard a woman screaming for help on Nov. 7. But when authorities arrived at the scene, they didn’t find any woman in distress or any other human beings at all. What they found instead was a green-and-yellow parrot named Diego. The parrot, which was in good health and not in distress, was the “woman” screaming for help.


 

(Rachel Beatty)

Say something nice

Darren Young of Maui, Hawaii, will be sending his ex-girlfriend nice letters, but nobody would blame her for not believing them. The reason: Young will send them because of a court order. Hawaiian Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Loo made the ruling on Oct. 27 after Young violated a protection order by sending 144 harassing text messages to a woman he once called his girlfriend. At sentencing, Loo ordered him to send the woman 144 compliments, serve two years of probation, pay a $2,400 fine, and perform 200 hours of community service.


 

(Krieg Barrie)

Low-speed chase

Rondell Tony Chinuhuk may have stolen an automobile, but few would call his alleged theft grand. Chinuhuk on Nov. 7 reportedly took a motorized shopping cart from a Safeway grocery store in Fairbanks, Alaska, and drove for 10 minutes before police caught him. The cart’s top speed: 1.9 miles per hour. Authorities charged Chinuhuk with felony theft.


 

(Trip Advisor)

Dangerous dips

German officials have decided that children should no longer swim with crocodiles at a popular zoo in the European nation. In August, the Darmstadt regional council voted to shut down a children’s program at the Crocodile Zoo in Friedberg, which previously allowed youngsters to swim with the large reptiles. The move, which was upheld by a court decision on Nov. 2, means the zoo will have to cancel its popular jungle-themed birthday parties. However, adults may still swim with crocodiles at the zoo.


 

(KFV)

Eyes ahead

The lampposts in Salzburg, Austria, are getting a new feature: airbags. The local city council voted to install the airbags to cut down on injuries suffered when pedestrians crash into them while staring down at their smartphones. According to the city’s Board for Traffic Safety, pedestrian accidents are now more common in Salzburg than driving or cycling accidents.


 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pichai (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Google with cheese

An Oct. 28 Twitter post by a well-known technology writer caught the attention of Google CEO Sundar Pichai and sent the company employees into a frenzy. Tech author Thomas Baekdal tweeted a comparison photo of the burger emojis for Apple and Google and added this caption: “I think we need to have a discussion about how Google’s burger emoji is placing the cheese underneath the burger, while Apple puts it on top.” The next day, Pichai promised the tech giant would fix the problem promptly.


Karlsruhe Police/AP

Karlsruhe Police/AP

Vegetable attack

It looked like a bomb, and it was in a country where unexploded bombs from World War II are occasionally unearthed. So an 81-year-old man in Bretten, Germany, called police when he found the large, dark object in his garden. Police arrived and determined that the object, which they said in a statement “really did look very like a bomb,” was actually a 16-inch, 11-pound zucchini. Apparently someone had tossed the vegetable into the garden, prompting the confusion and concern.


(Michel Euler/AP)

Sticky situation

With global demand soaring, France is facing a culinary catastrophe in a land known for excellence in food—a butter shortage. As global butter prices nearly tripled from $1.46 per pound in 2016 to $4.08 per pound in November, French retailers have been locked in a price war. According to Thierry Roquefeuil, head of a French dairy group, retailers have refused to pass along the increased costs to consumers, therefore French suppliers have begun selling their butter to German grocers. A report showing that 30 percent of French butter demand went unmet prompted France’s Parliament to summon the nation’s agricultural minister to answer questions in October.