Zoo apes get stimulation from iPad apps
HOUSTON, June 22 (UPI) -- Officials at the Houston Zoo said the "Apps for Apes" program, which provides apes with iPad apps designed for children, helps mentally stimulate the primates.
Zookeepers said the facility is the first in Texas to participate in the "Apps for Apes" program, which was developed by New York primate advocacy group Orangutan Outreach and pioneered at zoos in Wisconsin and Toronto. The program helps to stimulate the primates mentally in the absence of wild conditions, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
"Chimps and orangutans and other apes are very intelligent," chimp keeper Helen Boostrom said. "In the wild, the problems they must solve are finding food and shelter. They don't have to do that at the zoo. This is enrichment. It helps them use their minds."
Zoo spokesman Brian Hill said zookeepers have noticed similar reactions in apes and human children when they solve the puzzles on the iPad apps.
"You see the same reaction on their faces when they solve a problem and get something right," he said.
GM flies Gay Pride flag in Indiana
FORT WAYNE, Ind., June 22 (UPI) -- General Motors officials said a Gay Pride flag flying at an Indiana assembly plant is a means to "foster constructive dialogue on the importance of diversity."
Officials said they notified employees before putting up the flag, which was raised at the Fort Wayne plant earlier in the week, WANE-TV, Fort Wayne, reported Thursday.
"Currently the GM PLUS rainbow flag is flying for one week in support of Pride month. It's our hope that ongoing support of our employees will foster constructive dialogue on the importance of diversity at GM," the company said in a statement.
Chris Gunderson, president of the Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne United Sexualities group, applauded the company for flying the flag.
"It makes a statement that they're inclusive and that they celebrate diversity within their company," Gunderson said.
Speedo-wearing police officer reinstated
PROVO, Utah, June 22 (UPI) -- A Utah police officer who was fired after attending a high school party in a skimpy Speedo bathing suit will be reinstated, officials ruled.
The Provo Civil Service Commission said Wednesday it has decided to reverse the May 10 firing of Provo police school resource officer Cody Harris, who was let go after showing up to a "Princess and the Frog" themed birthday party at Provo High School in a green Speedo May 2, the Provo Daily Herald reported Thursday.
The commission said it determined there was no evidence Harris had made inappropriate statements during the party and there were no sexual overtones in the resource officer picking up school secretary Diana Phillips and carrying her around the room while dressed in his bathing suit.
Phillips agreed there was no sexual harassment involved in the incident, the commission said.
Provo Sgt. Brandon Post said the department stands by its decision to fire Harris, but officials will abide by the commission's ruling and welcome him back to their ranks. He said Harris will be reassigned to a patrol division. The school district asked that he not return as a school resource officer.
Police: Dog poop led to umbrella attack
STUART, Fla., June 22 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said a woman accused of striking another woman who was walking her dogs said she was "in a fight against people who owned dogs."
The Martin County Sheriff's Office said the 28-year-old victim told deputies Josephine Frazia, 61, followed her while she was walking her dogs June 13 in Stuart, TCPalm.com reported Thursday.
The woman told deputies she greeted Frazia while throwing away a bag of dog waste and the older woman said she doesn't talk to strangers and doesn't like dogs before hitting her on a forearm with an umbrella.
Frazia told deputies she followed the woman to ensure she cleaned up after her canines after discovering a pile of droppings on her doorstep a few weeks ago.
Frazia was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery.
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 19 (UPI) --Britain's BAE Systems, Europe's biggest defense company, reportedly expects to wrap up a price deal with Saudi Arabia for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets after two years of tortuous negotiations.