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Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
Chinese millionaire fights pollution with thin air
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foulest fortnight for air pollution in memory has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by a multimillionaire with a streak of showmanship who is selling canned fresh air. Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, on Wednesday handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from far-flung, pristine regions of China such as Xinjiang in the northwest to Taiwan, the southeast coast.
France to turn off office and shop lights at night
PARIS (Reuters) - French shops and office buildings will have to turn off their lights at night to save energy and reduce light pollution, the French environment ministry said on Wednesday. From July 1, all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises. All exterior and shop window lighting will have to be turned off by 1 am.
China parliament: no flowers, gifts and keep speeches short
BEIJING (Reuters) - No flowers, no banquets, no gifts, no welcoming ceremonies and more importantly no useless long-winded speeches -- Chinese state media on Wednesday laid out strict instructions for this year's annual meeting of parliament. Normally a bastion of sycophancy, as the hand-picked delegates seek to out-compete each other in lauding the Communist Party, the official Xinhua news agency said that would change when the largely rubber stamp parliament meets in March.
Nudists lose bid to block San Francisco ban on baring all
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nudists in famously tolerant San Francisco lost a bid on Tuesday to block a city ban on nakedness in public places, when a federal judge threw out a legal challenge that argued public nudity was akin to political expression. San Francisco city leaders last month approved the ban on baring it all in streets, public plazas and the transit system to curtail public nudity, which some residents and business owners complained had gotten out of control.
Japanese husbands shout their love for wives in public
TOKYO (Reuters) - Love was in the air in a Tokyo park as normally staid Japanese husbands gathered to scream out their feelings for their wives, promising gratitude and extra tight hugs. With modesty and reticence traditionally valued over outspokenness, expressing deeper feelings like love has long been hard in Japan.
Florida man's license restored as state drops fraud allegation
MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida's Department of Motor Vehicles said on Tuesday it had lifted the suspension of a South Florida man's driving license after it accused him of fraud for adopting his wife's last name. "It was a mistake on our part," Florida DMV spokesperson Kirsten Olsen-Doolan said. "The suspension will be lifted."
New Mexico woman held for locking girl in a cage: police
SANTA FE, New Mexico (Reuters) - Police in New Mexico found an 8-year-old girl locked in a cage in a darkened mobile home, authorities said on Tuesday, adding that they charged the girl's adoptive mother, who had gone to the movies, with child abuse. Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and her boyfriend were arrested after police found the caged girl on Friday evening, Las Cruces Police Department spokesman Dan Trujillo said.
At Downsize Fitness gyms, the slender need not apply
NEW YORK (Reuters) - At Downsize Fitness health clubs, the treadmills are wider, the head trainers are weight-loss veterans and new members must be at least 50 pounds (22.7 kgs) overweight. It's all about creating a more welcoming environment to battle the bulge and drop the excess weight.