International News Briefs

Giving up iPods for Lent

LONDON, Great Britain: English church leaders are calling on parishioners to give up their iPods for Lent. The Bishop of London, Richard Charles, and the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, are encouraging people to give up their popular technological devices instead of common Lent vices such as chocolate or alcohol. The church offered 46 daily suggestions, most involving actions that would help the environment. According to Reuters, in addition to fasting from iPod use, leaders proposed flushing the toilet less and cutting meat and vegetables leaner so they cook faster. Lent began Feb. 17 and runs until Easter (Apr. 4).

Stranded snowboarder sets cash on fire to be spotted

ALPS, Austria: A stranded German snowboarder was rescued in the mountains after he lit his cash on fire to draw attention to his location. Dominik Podolsky was stuck on a chairlift for six hours in temperatures near the -20s after it had been shut off for the day. As it grew darker, Podolsky began lighting papers from his wallet on fire. BBC News reported he started with restaurant receipts and business cards. After those ran out he started lighting the 120€ in cash that he had. Podolsky was stranded 10 meters above the ground and had forgotten his mobile phone that day. A ski-run cleaning crew finally spotted Podolsky after he set his last 20€ note aflame. The 22-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for hypothermia. He was able to take the train home to Munich later that night.

Ants used to combat toads

SYDNEY, Australia: Researchers have discovered that cat food may help in their fight to control cane toad populations. Scientists at the University of Sydney found a few tablespoons of cat food placed next to ponds will draw out vicious Australian meat ants. These insects will in turn attack baby cane toads coming to shore. CBC reports cane toad populations have exploded in recent years, threatening other species in Australian water systems. The cane toad was introduced to Australia in 1935 from Hawaii. Meant to control beetles on sugarcane plantations, the introduction of the toad failed. Since then, Australians have used golf clubs, cricket bats and even carbon dioxide to kill off the toads. The scientists figure the ants, by preying on fledgling toads coming out of the water, will help lower the numbers. A single toad can lay up to 30,000 eggs at a time. A study done in 2008 showed that 98 per cent of toads were attacked by the ants within two minutes of exiting the water and of the toads that escaped, 80 per cent died of their ant-inflicted injuries.

Three women caned for transgressions

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Three Muslim women were caned for adultery on Feb. 9. This is the first time such a sentence has ever been carried out in Malaysia. Under Islamic law, women can be caned for their adulterous transgressions. Home minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the canings were carried out at a women’s prison just outside the city. He also stated the punishments were conducted “to educate and make the offenders realize their mistakes and to return to the right path.” According to CNN, he also said the women were not injured and the women were remorseful and repented. Malaysia is typically considered a moderate Muslim country, however, Islamic courts function in conjunction with civil courts.

Published in Volume 64, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 25, 2010)

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