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Jockstrip: The World As We Know It

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International   |   Nov. 9, 2001 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

HOLLYWOOD SIGN WILL STAY WHITE

The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission has voted against a proposal to make the world-famous "Hollywood" sign red, white and blue for Veteran's Day as a tribute to Americans in uniform.

There is still a technical possibility that the Los Angeles City Council could approve the proposal, but that is seen as unlikely.

"We don't paint the White House red, white and blue," said Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the district in which the sign is located. LaBonge said the "Hollywood" sign is a monument, not a billboard, and needs to be treated with respect rather than used to send a message.

The Hollywood Sign Advisory Committee also voted against the proposal, warning of increased traffic and security problems in the area around the sign -- which is a major tourist attraction in Los Angeles.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND

Orthodox Indian vegetarians are horrified to learn from a new government handbook that their toothpastes, cosmetics, wines, chocolates, perfumes, incense sticks and even their condoms all contain animal products.

India's Animal Welfare Board has issued the book, "The Compassionate Consumer: Animal Based Products," that reveals most common toothpaste brands contain bone ash or calcium phosphate mostly of animal origin or even ground deer antlers. Only eight brands have been found to be "vegetarian."

Some varieties of iron tonic or hemoglobin are made from the blood of buffalo killed in slaughter houses. And several popular brands of contraceptive are made from sheep intestines.

(Thanks to UPI Chief International Correspondent Martin Walker)


NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS

Nova Scotia's Christmas tree growers who ship 1.7 million of their balsam fir trees to U.S. markets annually want to see their trees fly through the Canadian-U.S. boarder as fast as Santa on his sleigh.

The tree growers are getting ready to start harvest next week and are asking the provincial legislature to back their plea for fast border passage.

At the moment, Canada and the United States are embroiled in a controversy over softwood. The United States has tacked an import duty on Canadian softwood, saying government supports give Canadian lumber unfair advantage.

Christmas tree growers say that has nothing to do with them. But they're worried about the heightened border security and delays in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist bombings.

Time is of the essence to Christmas tree growers. After harvest, proper tree storage is crucial for all varieties or the trees can dry out. If delays are encountered at border crossings, they can rapidly lose value.


TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING

Requests for concealed-gun license applications have nearly tripled in Texas since Sept. 11.

The Dallas Morning News quotes Texas Department of Public Safety figures that the number of requests has climbed from about 1,000 a week to about 2,800. In October, more than 10,000 requests arrived at the DPS office in Austin.

Gun owners don't believe a firearm will protect them from a terrorist but they fear for their own personal safety if law enforcement is stretched too thin, said Ken Goldberg, owner of the DFW Gun Range and Firing Center.

"They're buying a gun because they're saying, 'I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know that there's not going to be civil unrest,'" he told the News.

To obtain a concealed gun permit, Texans must go through background checks, attend a training course, and pass a test on gun safety. The process can cost as much as $300.


TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS NOT ENDING

Scientists have reconsidered the chances that the Earth will suffer a catastrophic impact with an asteroid, and have reduced the odds to about one in 5,000 over the next century.

The new prediction stems from data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which found the solar system contains about 700,000 asteroids big enough to destroy civilization. That's about one-third fewer than previous estimates.

"Our estimate for the chance of a big impact contains some of the same uncertainties as previous estimates, but it is clear that we should feel somewhat safer than we did before we had the Sloan survey data," said lead researcher Zeljko Ivezic of Princeton University in the November issue of the Astronomical Journal.

(Thanks to UPI Science Writer Jim Kling)


AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY

Thirteen New York firefighters and their families arrived in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday morning as guests of local hotels and businesses. They were selected for the free vacation because their stations had lost the most firefighters during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The group was greeted at Jacksonville International Airport by a cheering crowd of local residents. Their visit started with lunch and a tour of Mayport Naval Air Station, and they were guests of honor at an annual firemen's recognition ceremony Thursday night.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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