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World Facts #2

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The border between Italy and Switzerland has been redrawn due to global warming's effect on Alpine glaciers. - The Week Magazine, 7/3/09

The world's most "germiest" tourist attraction is Ireland's Blarney stone - it's kissed by an estimated 400,000 people each year. - The Week Magazine, 6/26/09

An 82-year-old German man called police to complain that someone was playing the same song all day and night. Police found a musical greeting card on his windowsill; occasional breezes would open the card just enough for the music to start. - The Week Magazine, 5/15/09

Las Vegas is not the world's largest gambling market. The Chinese island of Macau has $7,000,000,000 in annual revenue. - MSNBC, 1/24/07

The first Italian restaurant has recently opened in North Korea. Kim Jong Il had chefs trained in Italy for the new restaurant. - The Telegraph (UK), 3/16/09

Every year, up to 10,000 steel shipping containers snap loose from the decks of storm-tossed ships, scattering their contents in the seas. - Wired Magazine, 4/09

A Tunisian pilot was sentenced to 10 years in prison because he paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash landing his plane, killing sixteen people. - The Week Magazine, 4/10/09

India's Hindu nationalist movement is launching a new soft drink made from cow urine. - Fox News, 2/11/09

A species of quail long thought extinct was found in a Philippines food market and photographed. Before scientists realized the importance of the find, the bird had been sold and eaten. - National Geographic, 2/18/09

Police in Germany are looking for an prisoner who mailed himself out of jail. Hans Lang appears to have hidden himself inside a large Federal Express package of dirty sheets that was later picked up for delivery. Once clear of the prison grounds, Lang exited the box, picked the lock on the door of the delivery truck, and disappeared into some woods near Dusseldorf. - The Week Magazine, 11/28/08

Mice may be responsible for a blaze that killed nearly 100 cats at an animal shelter near Toronto, Canada. The fire marshal says mice or rats chewing through electrical wires in the ceiling are likely to have sparked the blaze. - BBC News, 12/19/08

British cemeteries are exhuming bodies in order to rebury them deeper, leaving room for more bodies on top. - The Week Magazine, 11/28/08

About 200 thefts of nuclear material are reported each year. Most of this material is never recovered. - USA Today, 12/25/06

An inmate has been released early from a Montreal Canada prison because he was "too obese" for his jail cell. - Yahoo! News, 11/12/08

In 1949, China decided to have one time zone for the entire country. Previously, the country was so large that it spanned five time zones. - Wired Magazine, 11/08

In 2007, President Hugo Chavez turned Venezuela's clocks back 30 minutes. Some speculate the change was just to confuse other nations. - Wired Magazine, 11/08

Mickey Mouse is one of "Satan's soldiers" and must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Munajid. Mr. Munajid also condemned the Beijing Olympics as the "bikini olympics". - Daily Telegraph (UK), 9/15/08

Scooby, a French mixed-breed dog, has made legal history by testifying in a murder trial. The dog was the only witness to his owner's death; when led into the courtroom, Scooby barked furiously at the sight of the suspect. One of the attorneys for the defense tried to make a case that since the crime took place two and a half years ago, "which is 17 in dog years". - London Daily Mail, 9/10/08

Warner Bros. is suing the makers of an Indian film "Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors" because of similarities to a certain very popular film franchise. - Reuters, 8/27/08

Zimbabwe currently has a 2,200,000% inflation rate - so the central bank of Zimbabwe has started printing $100,000,000,000 banknotes. While it certainly looks impressive, this isn't even enough money to buy a loaf of bread. - CNN, 7/19/08
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