International News Briefs

Air New Zealand uses cougars to sell tickets

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: National airline Air New Zealand abruptly pulled its most recent advertising campaign promoting discount airfares because it offended rape activists and feminist groups. The advertising involved Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat website and offered rugby tickets to “cougars,” middle-aged women who seek out younger male partners. The campaign asked for cougars to submit photos from holidays/vacations with their male counterparts. The concept of the adverts was intended to make the women appear very predatory in nature. According to First Post, Air New Zealand was criticized by Rape Prevention Education, a group representing male rape victims. The airline defended the campaign as comical but closed the Grabaseat site, citing it could not handle all the entries.

Get your God off our guns

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Marine Corps is reconsidering its contract with Trijicon even though the company has agreed to stop engraving Biblical references on its guns. The company, based out of Wixom, Michigan, has been manufacturing guns for the U.S. military for the last 20 years. The scripture references could be found inscribed following the stock numbers found on the scope. BBC News reported military chief Gen. David Petraeus said he found announcement of the inscriptions disturbing and a serious concern. Additional concerns have been raised since the guns are predominantly used in Muslim countries, notably Iraq and Afghanistan, and goes against the prohibition of troops proselytising abroad, while drawing connotations of crusade-like conflict. Interfaith Alliance wrote an open letter to President Obama saying the inscriptions on guns clearly violates the army rule. English, Australian and New Zealand militaries are also re-evaluating their contracts with Trijicon.

More support given to lemurs rafting to Madagascar

ANTANARIVO, Madagascar: The rare lemurs of Madagascar, an African island off the coast of Mozambique, are believed to have floated there 20 to 60 million years ago on natural rafts. Two scientists’ research on the currents of ancient oceans lend credence to the theory that the ancestors of lemurs, mongooses and flying foxes arrived there by mats of vegetation or debris. Madagascar has been an island for over 120 million years, with the first signs of mammal life appearing 65 million years ago. According to CBC News, two dominant theories for Madagascar’s mammal arrivals are the land bridge theory and the natural raft hypothesis. Scientists Matthew Huber and Jason Ali’s research indicates there is no geological evidence of a land bridge between the continent and the island. The researchers support the theory that small animals came to Madagascar via fallen trees from storms or large pieces of vegetation that carried them out to sea.

Monet recovered after decade-long disappearance

OLKUSZ, Poland: A Claude Monet painting stolen 10 years ago from a museum in western Poland was retrieved last week. Beach in Pourville, a painting valued to be over $1 million, was cut from its frame and replaced with a copy painted on cardboard. The Canadian Press reported a 41-year-old man was arrested for the theft. The police did have fingerprints from the crime scene but were unable to identify a suspect until recently. The National Museum in Poznan is currently appraising and assessing the discovered painting.

Published in Volume 64, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 28, 2010)

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