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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes


Acting like animals

In an attempt to prevent a class from closing, a French farmer has found 15 new students to enroll in a local school in the Alpine village of Crêts-en-Belledonne, but keeping them focused on their studies may be a problem. The reason: They are all sheep. Parents at the primary school were worried that with declining enrollment, the French government might reduce the number of classes at the school, leading to an increase in class size. So local herdsman Michel Girerd decided to bolster the numbers by fabricating birth certificates for his sheep. Teachers and parents lined up outside the school to cheer the animals while young students held up signs protesting the possibility of closing down a class.


Upasana Dahal/AFP/Getty Images

Lotay Tshering (Upasana Dahal/AFP/Getty Images)

Working vacations

Bhutan’s prime minister isn’t just a smooth political operator. He also knows his way around an operating theater. Lotay Tshering, a trained doctor and surgeon, became the Asian country’s prime minister in November. But rather than stepping away from the hospital while fulfilling his political duties, Tshering decided to keep his medical practice. The urologist told the AFP news service that he enjoyed the work: “Some people play golf, some do archery, and I like to operate.”






Gator surprise

A Florida woman didn’t have a surprise up her sleeve during a traffic stop in Charlotte County on May 6, but she did have one in her pants. During routine questioning at the traffic stop, the sheriff’s deputy asked the woman, “Do you have anything else?” The 25-year-old woman answered in the affirmative—and then removed a 12-inch baby alligator out of her yoga pants. According to the deputy, she was also transporting 41 small turtles in the vehicle. The sheriff’s office turned the case over to Florida wildlife officials to determine whether the woman could legally possess and transport the animals.



Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Just a friendly visit

A runaway dog in Missouri knew just where to go after escaping his home in northern St. Louis County. Surveillance cameras at the Happy Tails Pet Hotel and Playland in nearby St. Ann captured images of Hugo slipping into the business’s building about a week after leaving home. According to employees of the doggy day care, Hugo’s owners frequently brought him to stay there. Workers at Happy Tails, who speculated that Hugo wanted to hang out with friends at the doggy day care, were able to reconnect him with his owners later that day.



Reserve Bank of Australia/Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Reserve Bank of Australia/Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Who is responsble?

A small typo is causing major headaches at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Australians are noticing a misspelling of the word “responsibility” on the nation’s newest 50 Australian dollar bank notes. In order to make their notes harder to forge, Australia’s Reserve Bank designs the bills with tiny text. In the case of the new bill, the bank left out the final ‘i’ from “responsibility” three times. Officials with the reserve bank said they will correct the error for the next printing run, but noted the government has already released 46 million bills with the typo.




Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

Walking in style

A baby giraffe at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Wash., now has what every animal needs: a new pair of shoes. The giraffe was born in early May and had to have his legs radiographed because his rear feet were out of alignment. Zoo workers put casts on his legs and made shoes out of high-density polyethylene and plywood to help him recover. The zoo expects the giraffe, which weighs over 170 pounds, to wear the therapeutic shoes for several months.




Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

Cutout cops

Police in Nottinghamshire, U.K., have a new idea to slow down speeders on local roads: cardboard police cars. Police Commissioner Paddy Tipping claimed his police force would be looking into placing cardboard cutouts made to look like police cruisers alongside roadways. In theory, the cutouts ought to make motorists instinctively slow down. Local police already use cutouts of officers in shops to try and deter shoplifting.





Virgilio Martínez (Handout)

Food with a bite

Forty frozen, vacuum-sealed piranhas in a duffel bag apparently looked suspicious to security personnel at Los Angeles International Airport. Agents reportedly detained Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez for five hours in an interrogation room before accepting his story that he planned to serve the sharp-toothed fish at a food festival in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, Martínez used the fish on a salad and also served dried piranha skins inside the piranhas’ heads.




AP screen capture

AP screen capture

Squawking conspiracy

Authorities making a drug bust in Brazil have taken a green-and-white parrot into custody after the bird reportedly tried to warn the suspects about the raid. According to police, the bird squawked, “Mama, police!” in Portuguese when officers arrived at the house. Despite the warning, police arrested a couple and charged them with drug possession. Because the bird’s owners most likely trained the parrot to watch out for police cars, authorities took the bird into custody as well.




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  • Laura W
    Posted: Wed, 05/29/2019 08:26 am

    I bet those officers are getting an earful from the parrot now. :)

  • John M.
    Posted: Wed, 05/29/2019 09:03 am

    "Radiographed" = "x-rayed".  Sentence seems to be extraneous to the point of the blurb - I'm sure that other medical examination and procedural techniques were also employed.