74-year-old policeman nears retirement
SEATTLE, June 27 (UPI) -- A 74-year-old man said he is preparing to retire as a patrol officer with the Seattle Police Department after nearly 50 years on the job.
Sgt. Maj. Arnold McGinnis, who joined the department at the age of 25 in 1962, said he has repeatedly refused detective positions because he doesn't "like being tied to a desk" and he will retire next month at the age of 75, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported Wednesday.
Department officials said they were unaware of anyone serving longer than McGinnis.
"He's fit as a fiddle, spit-shined shoes and always works hard," Capt. Neil Low said. "I'd tell young officers, 'You should look so good now, let alone with 35 to 40 years on. I still think he's what young officers should model themselves after."
McGinnis had a role in the 1974 movie "McQ," which starred John Wayne as a Seattle police officer. McGinnis, who played a character who was knocked unconscious by the villains, described Wayne as a "down to early, friendly man."
McGinnis was promoted to sergeant major last month -- a rank officials said he is the first in the department's history to hold.
"I'm really honored to have something like this stuck on me," he said. "They can't give you any more money, but what the heck -- money isn't everything."
New job for Obama's Irish cousin
MONEYGALL, Ireland, June 27 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's Irish eighth cousin said he has obtained a new job with an Irish tourism campaign.
Henry Healy, 27, who became known as "Henry the Eighth" when his relation to Obama became known, said he lost his bookkeeping job recently and was hired as a tourism ambassador by Ireland Reaching Out, a genealogy campaign aiming to connect with the Irish Diaspora by contacting relatives of past immigrants, the Irish Voice reported Wednesday.
"I am absolutely thrilled," Healy said. "The vision is fantastic and has so much potential for every small town in Ireland."
"I believe in the power of the Diaspora and the powerful and positive contribution it can make over the long term to Irish people at home and abroad. I am looking forward to working with parishes across Ireland through the coming year," Healy said. "I am truly delighted to become part of this innovative and highly energetic organization."
Healy became an Irish celebrity when he was instrumental in convincing Obama to visit his hometown of Moneygall. He was in turn invited by Obama to visit Washington and tour the White House.
Rights group objects to animal psychics
BERLIN, June 27 (UPI) -- A German animal rights group said it is concerned about the dignity of animals being used as soccer-predicting psychics by media outlets.
The Tierschutzbund animal rights group said the Euro 2012 tournament has led TV and radio stations to overuse the psychic animal gimmick, which was inspired by Paul the octopus, a cephalopod that made headlines with a string of successful World Cup predictions in 2010, the BBC reported Wednesday.
"These days, everybody who has an animal seems to put it in front of a camera," said Marius Tunte of Tierschutzbund. "Every station has its own animal."
The group said it was particularly upset about an Internet radio station using a python named Aldo to make predictions by choosing between two rats representing different teams.
"Unnecessary suffering is being inflicted purely for the sake of enjoyment," the group said.
Thai-born panda turns 3
CHIANG MAI, Thailand, June 27 (UPI) -- Administrators at a Thailand zoo said they threw a party to mark the third birthday of the first giant panda to be born in the country.
Lin Ping, born to mother Lin Hui and father Chuang Chuang May 27, 2009, received a party at Chiang Mai Zoo to mark her milestone of three years and one month of life, MCOT News reported Wednesday.
Prasertsak Boontrakulpuntawee, head of the zoo's panda research project, said Lin Ping now weighs 236 pounds and is a healthy specimen.
Prasertsak said the Thai Foreign Ministry informed the zoo Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asked Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to extend the panda's stay in Thailand by three years. He said the issue will be discussed by officials from both countries in September.
Officials at the zoo said the panda, who used flags to correctly choose Spain as the winner of the 2010 World Cup, used similar means to predict Germany will beat Italy and Spain will beat Portugal in the upcoming Euro 2012 semifinal matches.
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