By The Editors of WorldMag.com
Betrayed by bird droppings on his shoes and socks, a Vietnamese man failed to make it through customs at Los Angeles International Airport with more than $5,000 worth of tiny exotic birds strapped to his socks. Customs officers arrested Sony Dong in March when they grew suspicious of his excrement-laced socks and odd leggings. When authorities began undressing the man, they discovered more than a dozen red-whiskered bulbuls, magpie robins, shama thrushes, and others specimens-each with a street value exceeding $400 in the United States.
For the birds
With Australia following the rest of the world into what could become a steep recession, one might expect the government not to stand in the way of industry. At least not for a parrot. But that’s exactly the ruling that came out of Canberra on April 29 when national environmental officials ordered New South Wales to halt a logging operation near the southern city of Deniliquin over concerns it is disrupting the habitat of the green leak parrot. The parrot is listed as a vulnerable species-but so too will be the 860 jobs that are likely to be lost if the prohibition sticks.
Up in smoke
A recent edict from a Chinese province was about as popular as a smoker on an airplane. Authorities in the central province of Hubei had an unusual mandate for local government employees: Smoke or get fined. The rule came as stockpiles of cigarettes made by local manufacturers grow. Officials with Gong’an County said local government workers had to drag their way through about 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarettes in the next year in order to account for overproduction and to avoid fines. Officials had hoped the rule of forced smoking for government employees would help boost the area’s stalling economy, but public opposition prompted a reversal. “We decided to remove this edict,” a local government website announced, without elaboration.