Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
Europe explores how to define the "green fairy"
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - It's the green-hued fuel that has fired flights of poetic fancy since the 1800s, but now the European Union is examining whether to change how absinthe is defined. The intensely alcoholic spirit, dubbed "la fee verte" (the green fairy) by Parisian writers in reference to its reputed psychoactive properties, has been a fixture amongst artists and Europe's bohemians since the 1850s, with Oscar Wilde and Charles Baudelaire among the famous devotees.
Lion slipped out of holding pen before killing sanctuary worker
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The African lion that killed a California wildlife sanctuary worker had slipped out of a holding pen, which apparently was left improperly secured, and crept up on the woman inside a larger enclosure to attack her, the coroner said on Friday. Dianna Hanson, 24, an intern at the Cat Haven sanctuary east of Fresno, died almost instantly on Wednesday after the big cat, a 350-pound (160 kg) male named Cous Cous, snapped her neck, according to an autopsy conducted on Thursday.
Pro wrestling manager known as "Paul Bearer" dies in Alabama
MOBILE, Alabama (Reuters) - The professional wrestling community on Wednesday mourned the death of William Moody, a real-life undertaker who gained fame as a wrestling manager with the ring name Paul Bearer. Moody, 58, who managed the entertainment sport's champion The Undertaker and helped launch the careers of wrestlers Kane and Mankind, died Tuesday night at a hospital in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, according to a hospital employee. The hospital did not release a cause of death.
"Snowquester" was "Noquester" in Washington
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "Snowquester" was a no-show in the U.S. capital, which on Wednesday confirmed its status as the center of winter weather wimpdom. Unlike the Washington snows of yesteryear - "Snowmageddon" and "Snowpocalypse" in 2010 and 2011 - Wednesday's storm failed to bring the heavy snows and high winds forecast. Before its arrival, wags dubbed this storm "Snowquester" after the budget-cutting sequester that went into effect last week.
Black Sabbath guitarist pens Armenia's Eurovision song entry
LONDON (Reuters) - Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has written the music for Armenia's entry to the annual Eurovision Song Contest, bringing a heavy metal pioneer to an event described by the media as a "kitschfest" and "bad taste party". The musician, a founding member of the influential British band, said the song called "Lonely Planet" was a "demo idea" which was eventually voted Armenia's Eurovision contender.
Norway teacher fired after children taste her blood
OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian kindergarten teacher was fired this week after she brought a vial of her own blood to class and allowed children to touch and taste it, the head teacher of the kindergarten said on Friday. The teacher in Sola, on Norway's western coast, brought in a blood sample that was taken earlier in the day and poured it on a plate for the children, aged between 3 and 6, to see.
Vietnam capital to reassign obese, rude traffic cops: paper
HANOI (Reuters) - Pot-bellied, short, or abusive traffic policemen will be barred from working on the streets of Vietnam's capital and assigned desk jobs instead as Hanoi police try to clean up their unsavory image, a newspaper reported on Wednesday. The city's traffic police are following the worst offenders closely and compiling lists of those to be reassigned. All police on traffic duty will be made to carry a book on the code of conduct to remind them how to behave, the official Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper said.
Till taxes do us part: Chinese divorce to skip property tax
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - At Shanghai's Zhabei District marriage registration center, officials divorced a record 53 couples in a single day this week - that's about one every five minutes - as couples rushed to untie the knot to avoid tougher tax laws on home sales. There were similar scenes in Wuhan, Nanjing and Ningbo as married couples opted for 'quickie', uncontested divorces - costing just a few yuan - that would allow them to split ownership of their properties and sell without having to pay capital gains tax of as much as 20 percent.