The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 16, 2009

Weird News: A lot of dough for a dog

People With Too Much Money: A young, media-shy Chinese woman, identified only as “Mrs. Wang” and photographed in jeans, a T-shirt and baseball cap, purchased an 18-month-old Tibetan mastiff in September for a reported 4 million yuan (about $585,000). She ordered a motorcade of 30 luxury cars to meet her and the dog on their arrival in Xi’an, in Shaanxi province. The price is almost four times the previous reported high for the purchase of a dog (a cloned Labrador, by a Florida family).

Animal Weird News

Gay Vulture Tricks: The births of two chicks on the same day at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo in April was unusual enough but especially noteworthy because of the birds’ lineage. Their fathers were a gay vulture couple about 10 years ago, according to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, and zoo caretakers provided them an artificial egg to “incubate” until they could replace the egg with a just- hatched vulture, as if the male-male couple had birthed it. In “an insane coincidence,” said a zoo official, the two males eventually separated and paired with females, and those females hatched eggs on the same day last April. Two weeks ago, according to Haaretz, the two chicks achieved independence on the same day and were moved to the zoo’s aviary.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

The British retailer Debenhams announced in September that it would begin selling men’s briefs whose opening is more accessible from the left side, for left- handers who have been forced for decades to manipulate a right-side opening. Previously, said a Debenhams executive, “(L)eft-handed men have to reach much further into their pants, performing a Z-shaped maneuver through two 180-degree angles before achieving the result that right-handed men perform with ease.”

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