Freezing weather wipes out German flea circus
An entire troupe of performing fleas fell victim to the freezing temperatures that gripped Germany in March.
Flea circus director Robert Birk says he was shocked to find all of his 300 fleas dead inside their transport box on March 27th.
The circus immediately scrambled to find and train a new batch so it could fulfill its engagements at an open-air fair in the western town of Mechernich-Kommern.
Michael Faber, who organizes the fair, told The Associated Press that an insect expert at a nearby university was able to provide 50 fleas in time for the first show Sunday.
Faber says he hopes they’ll “get through this without any more fatalities.”
Birk said it was the first time his circus had lost all of its fleas to the cold in one go.
West Virginia lawmaker wants to teach kids a lesson from the school of hard knocks.
Ray Canterbury proposed a law that would compel children to perform light janitorial work in exchange for formerly free school lunches.
“If they miss a lunch or they miss a meal, they might not . . . learn to add, they may not learn to diagram a sentence, but they’ll learn a more important lesson,” he said.
Judge holds self in contempt for his smartphone
A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.
Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy at Ionia County 64A District Court stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and MLive reported.
On April 12th, during a prosecutor’s closing argument as part of a jury trial, Voet’s new smartphone began to emit sounds requesting phone voice commands. Voet said he thinks he bumped the phone, and the embarrassment likely left his face red.
“I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,'” he said.
Voet has used a Blackberry mobile phone for years, and said he wasn’t as familiar with the operation of the new touchscreen, Windows-based phone.
“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”
Over the years, the judge whose court is about 110 miles northwest of Detroit has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends. During a break in the trial, Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine.
“Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”
5 Norwegian schools shift exams for Bieber concert
Five schools in western Norway rescheduled their midterm exams to allow students to attend Justin Bieber concerts in the capital, the country’s Ministry of Education and Research said.
The Canadian pop star was scheduled to perform in the Norwegian capital on April 16 and 17 — stoking fears that some students in remote schools will skip midterm exams scheduled to take place at the same time.
Bieber is extremely popular in the Nordic country, where his free concert in Oslo last year resulted in dozens of injuries as teenage girls fought to get better glimpses of the 19-year-old icon.
To accommodate this Bieber-mania, five schools in the Alesund region — located some 230 miles northwest of Oslo — rescheduled exams.
Kristin Halvorsen, Norway’s education minister, said she did not intend to intervene with the schools’ decisions.
“I am concerned that students should be concentrating when they take tests and midterms,” Halvorsen wrote The Associated Press in an email. “The local schools have the responsibility to schedule the local midterms, and if they think there is any reason to change the dates, they have authority to do so.”
From The New York Post and The Boston Herald.