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News Quirks (1/07/15)

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Can We All Get Along?

Charges of racism were directed at a clothing store that posted a sign banning Chinese customers. The store is located in Beijing. "We didn't want to hang up the sign in the first place and lead people to think we Chinese look down upon ourselves," a salesperson at the store on Yabao Road said. "But some Chinese customers are too annoying." The store sells chiefly to foreigners. (South China Morning Post)

Circumventing Nature

British social media accused London authorities of wasting money by paying workers to climb ladders and pull leaves from 145 trees in autumn at sites around the Houses of Parliament instead of letting nature take its course. "If we waited for the leaves to fall off, it would waste a lot of time raking them up," a House of Commons official explained. "It is more efficient." (Britain's Express)

Hot Cargo

An Air France passenger jet traveling from the Dominican Republic to Paris with 142 passengers and 12 crew made an emergency landing at Ireland's Shannon Airport after a fire alarm sounded in the forward cargo hold. Although the onboard extinguishers had activated, emergency workers found no fire on board and blamed the alarm on heat generated by a shipment of chili peppers. (Irish Times)

Cold-War Update

Separate Defense Department studies concluded that the Pentagon needs to spend billions of dollars over the next five years to fix "systemic problems across the nuclear enterprise." Emergency repairs to the Air Force's and Navy's aging nuclear weapons infrastructure are necessary because neglect has caused their decay. For example, investigators found crews maintaining the nation's 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles had only one wrench able to attach nuclear warheads, so they were required to share it. "They started FedExing the one tool" to three bases spread across the country, one official said, because no one had checked in years "to see if new tools were being made." (New York Times)

Suspicions Confirmed

"Men are idiots, and idiots do stupid things," concludes a British study that surveyed winners of the Darwin Awards (darwinawards.com) over the past 20 years. It found 88.7 percent were male. To win an award, individuals "must eliminate themselves from the gene pool in such an idiotic manner that their action ensures one less idiot will survive." Examples cited by the five researchers, all men, include a thief trying to steal an elevator cable by unbolting it while standing in the elevator, causing his death when it plummeted to the ground; a man who hitched a shopping cart to the back of a train trying to get a free ride home and was dragged two miles to his death; and the terrorist who mailed a letter bomb and when it was returned for insufficient postage, opened it. The study suggests drinking is often a contributing factor, supporting "the hypothesis that alcohol makes men feel 'bulletproof.'" (British Medical Journal)

Slightest Provocation

Rachel Anne Hayes, 27, repeatedly slapped her 72-year-old grandmother in the face, according to authorities in Pinellas County, Fla., for refusing to accept her Facebook friend request. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Police arrested George Robert Pineda, 44, after they said he attacked his 53-year-old girlfriend in Ocala, Fla., for suggesting that he take anger management classes. (Ocala Star-Banner)

Humble Pie

Judges of the annual World Pie Eating Championship had to nullify the results after discovering that the 24 meat-and-potato pies for this year's speed-eating contest in Wigan, England, were twice regulation size. The supplier mixed up the event's order with "a divorce party up the road," competition organizer Tony Callaghan explained. "It was a shame, because these lads practice long and often. You can see how seriously they take it, practicing pie-eating late into the night on every street corner in Wigan town center." (Britain's Manchester Evening News)

Bummer

When Costco changed a minor ingredient of its store-brand baby wipes to comply with a Minnesota requirement, some customers complained about a new "chemical-y" smell, and a few said the new formula burns their babies' skin. "It's an uncomfortable kind of stinging," Jennifer Flores said. "My husband and I tried them and were like, 'Oh, my God.'" Others on Costco's review site also reported burning and rashes. Costco's Craig Wilson insisted the Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes 900 CT are "very, very benign," and explained, "People don't like change." (Seattle's KCPQ-TV)

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