Dispatches > Quick Takes
Nicole Martyn/The Frederick News Post/AP

Quick Takes

News

Issue: "Fighting fatalism," July 12, 2014

No tats for pets

Kitten piercings and dog tattoos could soon become illegal in New York if one Empire State assemblywoman gets her way. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who represents Manhattan, wrote her bill to outlaw the piercing or tattooing of pets after hearing a 2011 news report detailing the arrest and trial of a Pennsylvania dog groomer charged with animal cruelty for piercing her cats. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.

Crime spotter

The St. George, Utah, police department isn’t big enough to have a police helicopter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other eyes in the sky. On June 19, an eagle-eyed citizen in a hot air balloon helped St. George police track down a suspect who had crashed his Volkswagen Jetta and fled on foot. The suspect, whom officers believe stole the Jetta, crashed the car alongside I-15 and tore off barefoot into town. That’s when police got a call from a citizen high above in a balloon directing officers to look in a specific area. St. George police found the man hiding in a dumpster and charged him with felony evasion.

Got milk?

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If Uruguayan fans are to be believed, the Costa Rican national soccer team got an assist from Brazil in their 3-1 World Cup victory over Uruguay. Officials with the South American nation say Brazilian customs agents confiscated 86 pounds of dulce de leche when the Uruguayan national team entered Brazil for the quadrennial soccer tournament. According to Brazilian officials, the milk-based product was considered contraband on health and safety grounds. In 2010, Uruguayans had no problems bringing the sweet spread into South Africa for the international tournament, and fans of the team are blaming their June 14 opening game loss to Costa Rica on a lack of dulce de leche.

Burrito bonds

Some bond investors have appetites for high yields, others for strong discounts. But one London-based fast food chain is hoping for bond investors with a weakness for burritos. Chilango, a British burrito chain, announced June 10 it hopes to raise more than $5 million with a bond offering promising an 8 percent yearly rate of return and a four-year payoff. And for investors willing to put $17,000 on the line, Chilango will throw in a free burrito every week for the lifetime of the debt. The company insists there will be no secondary market for the bonds—or the burritos.

Chinese finger trap

As if a 15-hour flight isn’t painful enough, one U.S. passenger on a direct flight from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong learned the hard way to keep his hands to himself. Flying aboard a June 18 Cathay Pacific flight, the unidentified American accidentally got his finger caught in a bathroom trash bin. With more than an hour remaining on the 15-hour flight, the passenger tried to wriggle free, but had to stand for the duration of the flight—and landing—before a fire rescue crew at the Hong Kong airport was able to break him out of his snare.

Smoke signal

On a clear day, residents of Santiago, Chile, can see the snow-capped mountains of the Andes from almost any point in the city. On a smoggy day, they can’t see much. And on a day when Chile’s national soccer team plays in the World Cup? Santiago Mayor Claudio Orrego begged residents of the soccer-crazed nation to refrain from traditional cookouts because he said the smoke from charring meat would exacerbate the famous Santiago smog. The capital city resides in a valley between two mountain ranges. During a game in which Chile played Australia on June 13, BBQ smoke combined with the normal smog almost caused authorities at the local airport to shut down runways because of low visibility. “I’ve been the butt of a lot of jokes for this and I take it with humor,” Orrego told reporters, “but I also urge people to take it seriously.”

A fine miss

Better late than never. That’s the spirit 91-year-old pensioner Ron Webster was hoping for when he walked into a University of Liverpool library in early June and returned a book he had checked out in 1953. Webster says he only recently rediscovered the text, a volume on human anthropology, when he set to thinning his substantial book collection earlier this year. While waiting for the library manager to arrive, stunned clerks calculated the 61-year fine to a sum of nearly $7,700. Thankfully, head librarian Phil Sykes waived the fine provided that Webster promise to return all future checked-out books on time.

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