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Around the world: English lions, Utah cougars

And a German songbird mourns the death of Kim Jong II


 

Australia: Maybe they’d dipped into their own product, but drug smugglers apparently forgot about a $160-million shipment. The narcotics were hidden in the frames of 54 shipping containers that were never claimed and, once empty, were sold as storage units to Australian businesses. As of this week, police had tracked down all but one.

North Korea: The official news agency reported that, the day after the death of Kim Jong Il on Dec. 17, a songbird appeared at the country’s embassy in Berlin to mourn the Dear Leader’s passing. A plant also bloomed there in spite of the chilly weather, “in token of mourning.” Perhaps overcome, North Korea’s ambassador to Germany decided to go fishing on Berlin’s Havel River—without a licence. Police could do nothing because of his diplomatic immunity.

Iceland: On Jan. 20 Icelanders celebrated Husband’s Day, a tradition that extends back to Viking times. In many households, lucky spouses got to partake of the midwinter feast of dried fish, smoked lamb, putrefied shark, soured blood and liver pudding, and, perhaps, preserved lamb testicles, reports Iceland Review.

England: A lion in winter? Some locals are convinced that a big cat—or cats—is killing deer in Gloucestershire’s Woodchester Park. Sightings have been reported of panthers, pumas and even the king of beasts, animals possibly descended from those released when ownership of such creatures without a licence became illegal in the 1970s. DNA tests are now being conducted on the most recent kill to determine if a big cat really was involved.

United States: A school district in Utah has banned the use of a cougar as the mascot for a new high school. Canyons School District superintendent David Doty said the word had a “negative double entendre” relating to women of a certain age who pick up younger men. Meanwhile, the cougar is a mascot for at least three other Utah schools, among them Brigham Young University. Team sports, indeed.


 

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