Odd news briefs
Clever chimps at Kansas City Zoo make brief break to freedom
KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - Seven chimpanzees used an improvised ladder from a tree to scale a wall and briefly escape their enclosure at the Kansas City Zoo on Thursday, a zoo official said. One of the chimps apparently pulled a log or a branch and leaned it against the wall of the enclosure, giving the primates a leg-up to the top, zoo director Randy Wisthoff said.
Tiny Minnesota museum's canoe a 1,000-year-old historic find
(Reuters) - For 46 years, a canoe thought to date to the 1700s sat in the back of a display case as a minor exhibit at a small museum run by a volunteer historical group in Minnesota. But this week, archaeologists who conducted radio carbon tests on the canoe said it was crafted almost 1,000 years ago, making it the oldest canoe in the state and shedding light on early navigation of Minnesota lakes.
California town moves against Sriracha hot sauce plant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The small Southern California town of Irwindale has opened a new front in its battle against what it says is a pungent, tear-inducing odor from a chili processing factory owned by the makers of Sriracha-brand hot pepper sauce. The City Council voted 4-0 at a meeting on Wednesday night to authorize staff to prepare a resolution to declare the plant's peppery fumes a public nuisance, and giving Huy Fong Foods 90 days to remedy the situation.
Ohio man who harassed disabled kids to tote 'BULLY!' sign -judge
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man who called his neighbor "Monkey Mama" as she held her adopted, disabled African-American children, and has smeared dog feces on their wheelchair ramp, was ordered by a judge to carry an "I AM A BULLY!" sign on a busy street this weekend. Edmond Aviv, 62, who was accused of harassing his neighbor in the Cleveland suburb of South Euclid for more than a decade, pleaded no contest to fourth-degree disorderly conduct in March.
Mummified singer is star of new British Museum exhibition
LONDON (Reuters) - A singer is the star of the show in a new exhibition of mummies at the British Museum for which modern medical scanners have been used to examine eight bodies and find out what they looked like, how they lived and how they died. The technology has helped the researchers to look through bandages and inside mummy cases that have never been opened, take images of amulets and statues stored with the body, and reproduce those objects for display at the exhibition "Ancient lives, new discoveries" which opens on May 22.
West Germany's Cold War ransoming of prisoners encouraged fraud: research
BERLIN (Reuters) - Former West Germany's decision to buy the freedom of political prisoners in the communist East during the early years of the Cold War may have encouraged fake ransoms demands and more arrests, according to new research. Between 1963 and 1989, West Germany paid to free more than 33,000 political prisoners from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in exchange for around 3 billion deutsche marks' worth of goods that the East badly needed such as food and petroleum.
Father of Michigan sextuplets dies at 39
(Reuters) - The father of Michigan sextuplets whose birth made headlines 10 years ago died of a heart attack after setting up a backyard trampoline, a relative said on Thursday. He was 39. Ben Van Houten suffered a heart attack on Wednesday night in back of the family's home in Hamilton, Michigan, about 90 miles west of Lansing, his father-in-law Calvin Reimink said.