Baboons perplexed by language barrier
HYTHE, England, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Workers at Britain's Howlett and Port Lympne Wildlife Park were studying French Saturday so they could learn to communicate with baboons sent from Paris.
The zoo's staff found the 19 guinea baboons were not responding to English commands, and it soon dawned on them that the primates only understand the French they learned from the Paris Zoo, the Sun reported Saturday.
Howlett spokeswoman Veronica Chrisp said: "They have settled well -- apart from the language barrier. They looked bemused at English.
"Keepers use basics like 'dejeuner' for food time and they all come. Obviously, they don't understand the word, it's the sound they recognize."
Imprisoned men crochet for needy kids
JAMESTOWN, N.D., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- More than a dozen inmates at James River Correctional Center in North Dakota are learning to crochet.
The men are making clothing for newborns in Africa, babies with AIDS in California and homeless children in Russian orphanages, the Fargo (N.D.) Forum reports.
A parishioner at a Lutheran church in Streeter, N.D., asked prison chaplain Mark Haines if inmates would make beanies for midwife kits bound for South Africa.
Haines said a few of the inmates had taken up crocheting on their own to make clothes for themselves, and were happy to make caps for mothers who have little to provide for their babies.
A few of the crocheting inmates have been released from prison, and one of them, Mike Taylor, is still at it.
"After the third day I said, 'That's pretty neat,' and I started doing it," Taylor said.
Taylor said the inmates on his floor never make fun of him. Instead, after learning why he is crocheting, others frequently ask him to teach them.
The 360 inmates at the medium-security prison generally have two years or less left on their sentences and are making a transition toward release, Warden Don Redmann said. The small crochet hooks used for the project are about the size of a ballpoint pen and made out of lightweight plastic.
British man, 89, still an alter boy
GLOUCESTER, England, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- An 89-year-old British man, who may be the longest-serving altar boy in the world, has received an apostolic blessing and a decorated scroll from the pope.
Peter Staley began serving at age 7 in 1923 at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Gloucester, England, and he still serves at the church every day of the week -- 82 years straight -- the Times of London reported Saturday.
"All the years have gone by quite quickly, but I've never had a day away from serving. I really enjoy it -- I'm from a family of altar boys," he said.
"My father was an altar boy and so were all five of my brothers at the church here in Gloucester. There's a lot of kneeling down involved but I can still do that without any problem -- it keeps me fit."
A spokesman for The Guinness Book of Records told the newspaper it would list Staley as the world record holder if it receives proof of his longevity.
Billboards of semi-nude woman attacked
LONDON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Billboards advertising perfume, hair dye, bras and TV programs that include semi-nude women are being vandalized in Britain.
The photographs of scantily-clad women are being painted over or ripped off by Muslim activists who are offended by displays of flesh, the Times of London reported Saturday.
Muslims Against Advertising, also known as MAAD, has a Web site that gives advice on how to vandalize billboards and provides a listing of offending billboards.
"The procedures outlined here are based on our six months' experience of executing poster attacks professionally, safely and without injury or arrest," the Web site says. "A paint roller, a blithe spirit and a balmy night are all you really need."
A billboard advertising the TV program "Desperate Housewives" seems to be the most recent target.