TAIPEI, Taiwan, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Taiwanese religious people set 200 million animals free to nature each year, costing a total of $5.9 million.
Five-hundred different religious groups are involved in the practice, reported Xinhua, China's main government-run news agency. Animals released include tortoises, birds, fish, shrimp, crabs, ostriches, earthworms, peacocks, crickets and yaks.
However, environmental groups have criticized the practice, saying improper release could cause environmental troubles and the animals' deaths. Experts have advised the religious groups to release the animals in accordance with environmental concerns.
Maxfield Parrish painting discovered
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A dirty, yellowed painting dropped off at a charity gift shop in Downers Grove, Ill. has turned out to be an Maxfield Parrish painting valued at S100,000.
While some of the volunteers at the shop that raises money for Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital thought the painting was unsellable, volunteer Nancy Shack did some Internet research.
Shack thought she had a Parrish, an American artist born in 1870 and dubbed "the common man's Rembrandt" by Smithsonian magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday.
She contacted Parrish expert, Alma Gilbert-Smith, director of the Cornish Colony Gallery & Museum in New Hampshire and Gilbert-Smith asked her to send the painting for confirmation.
The 1918 painting, done for an advertisement for Swift's Premium Ham that has the fictional Jack Sprat and his wife dining on ham, was confirmed by Gilbert-Smith as an original Parrish.
The proceeds of the painting's sale will go toward the Downers Grove hospital's cardiac catheterization lab.
Prolific New Zealand burglar behind bars
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Benjamin Turei Brooking, an unemployed man in New Zealand is being described as Wellington's most prolific burglar.
Wellington District Court Judge Bruce Davidson Friday sentenced Brooking for six years on 38 charges of burglary, for unlawfully taking motor vehicles, driving without a license, aggravated assault, and assault on a former partner, the Wellington Dominion Post reported Sunday.
Val Nisbet, Brooking's lawyer, said his client is addicted to burglary, just as he is addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Brooking has 83 previous convictions for burglary.
Boy e-mails bomb threat to close school
TOKYO, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Tokyo high school boy, who allegedly e-mailed a railroad bomb threat so his school would suspend classes, has been arrested.
The Mainichi Daily News reported Sunday the 16-year-old unidentified teenager has been charged with obstructing operations of a major train service.
Authorities said the boy sent the e-mail from his home computer Sept. 13 to the Seibu Railway, based in Tokorozawa. The message read: "I'm going to blow up a station on the Seibu Line between Sept. 14 and 18. I have already planted the bomb. You'll never find it so don't waste your time."
Police said the teenager confessed, telling detectives he got the idea of sending the bomb threat after one of his classes was cancelled because of a railroad accident Sept. 13.