Saturday, November 22, 2014


No nut too tough: Oregon holiday festival commissions 41-foot, 16,000-pound nutcracker

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Sponsors of the annual holiday festival near Roseburg have commissioned a whopper of a centerpiece — a wooden nutcracker intended to stand 41 feet tall, weigh more than 16,000 pounds and work its jaw with enough force to crush coconuts.
The statue was created by a Willamette Valley woodworker using chain saws, The News-Review ( reported.

Obama spurns Republicans with expansive immigration orders to spare 5 million from deportation

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation, setting off a fierce fight with Republicans over the limits of presidential powers.

Mellon estate’s pear-shaped diamond sets auction record for any blue diamond

NEW YORK — A Fancy Vivid Blue pear-shaped diamond from the estate of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon has sold for $32.6 million. It’s an auction record for any blue diamond.
Sotheby’s says seven people bid on the 9.75-carat gem Thursday before it sold to an anonymous Hong Kong collector.
The diamond is mounted in platinum. It carried a $10 million to $15 million pre-sale estimate.

Cuban couple domesticates large Caribbean rodents called hutias

BAINOA, Cuba — Some people keep guinea pigs or hamsters as pets.
But in Cuba, where a larger, more exotic rodent runs wild, Ana Pedraza and her husband prefer the hutia.
With a rope-like tail and long front teeth, the hutia looks like a giant rat, only cuter, some would say. They live in Cuba and other Caribbean islands where they are sometimes hunted for food.

Keystone XL pipeline down, but not out, after U.S. Senate vote

WASHINGTON — The woman who almost forced U.S. President Barack Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline stood quietly on the Senate floor as her plans went down in flames Tuesday.

Governments at UN summit pledge to do more to prevent malnutrition, including from obesity

ROME — More than 170 governments pledged Wednesday to do more to prevent malnutrition around the globe, adopting voluntary guidelines to promote healthy diets and reduce levels of obesity at the start of a three-day U.N. summit.

Ireland’s gay bull, Benjy, saved from slaughterhouse by ‘Simpsons’ co-creator Sam Simon

DUBLIN, Ireland — He faced execution for failure to perform. But Benjy, the gay bull of Ireland, has been saved following a worldwide appeal backed by “The Simpsons” co-creator Sam Simon.

Palestinians storm Jerusalem synagogue, killing 4 Israelis; Netanyahu vows harsh response

JERUSALEM — Two Palestinian cousins stormed a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, attacking worshippers with meat cleavers and a gun during morning prayers and killing four people before they were shot dead by police.

Elephant tramples Thai handler to death, runs off with 2 Russian tourists on its back

BANGKOK, Thailand — Police say an elephant trampled its handler to death while two Russian tourists were riding it during a nature trek in southern Thailand.
Police Lt. Col. Narong Laksanawimol said Monday the animal attacked the trainer and ran off with the travellers — a mother and her 9-year-old daughter — near a waterfall in Phang Nga province.

Putin says peace in east Ukraine is possible, but both sides not fully upholding a peace deal

MOSCOW — Russia’s president said he believes peace in Ukraine is possible but that neither side is fully holding up a truce struck in September.

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