International News Briefs

Naked hikers not welcome in the Swiss Alps

ZURICH, Switzerland: Due to an influx of nudists visiting Switzerland, a local regional government plans to introduce fines for people hiking naked in the Alps.

The government of the Appenzell Innerrhoden canton, a mountainous Swiss area known for its hiking trails, plans to enact a law placing fines on nudists found hiking in the mountains.

Many Germans who subscribe to the pastime of “free body culture” have visited Switzerland in the last year during the warm weather months.

Last fall a nude hiker was detained but police could not fine the trekker due to the lack of legislation.

BBC News reported authorities plan to have the law in effect before the 2009 hiking season begins.

Tourist buys iPod, gets secret military files

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A second-hand MP3 player containing sensitive military information on American officers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq was returned by New Zealand to United States officials last week.

New Zealander Chris Ogle bought the electronic device from an Oklahoma thrift shop for $10. But after plugging it into his computer, Ogle found it contained 60 American military files on it.

In the files were names, telephone numbers, equipment and personal details of officers serving overseas.

According to, the U.S. embassy in New Zealand collected the MP3 player and provided Ogle with a new device.

IRA families to receive government compensation

BELFAST, Ireland: Tension has re-emerged in Northern Ireland after a plan to compensate the families of Irish Republican Army militants was suggested in a report released by a government-funded commission.

The Consultative Group on the Past recommends giving $25,000 per relative for every victim of an IRA violent crime, regardless of their innocence or culpable role.

Heated protests have erupted in response to the document’s suggestions.

The report’s commissioners defended their work, stating a loss is still a loss for a family no matter what side of the conflict they were on.

The commission spent 18 months travelling Northern Ireland, recording experiences from IRA attacks and coming up with 30 recommendations for the report, reported CBC News.

Their overall project is expected to take four years and cost $500 million.

Need to go to washroom? Buy a ticket

VENICE, Italy: The city of Venice will offer online purchase of washroom tickets in an attempt to facilitate public toilet use by tourists.

Tourists will be able to purchase 10 toilet visits, for use over five high-season days for 7Є; the same will cost 5Є during the low season.

To visit a public toilet in Venice currently costs 1Є per use.

Reuters reported the washroom pass became available online Feb. 1. It also allows access to other city services.

Approximately 20 million people visit Venice, famous for its canals, annually; tourists often use the canals crossing the city as public urinals. Authorities hope the pass will curb that occurrence.

Published in Volume 63, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 5, 2009)

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