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Dec. 17, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Alderman urges bigger fines for feeding pigeons

CHICAGO, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Chicago Alderman James Cappelman says he wants to double the penalty for people who feed pigeons to a maximum of $1,000 and six months in jail.

Cappelman isn't enamored of Chicago's ubiquitous birds and WBBM-TV reported Thursday he's not alone.

"They're a nuisance. They're everywhere. You know, you could stand there waiting on the bus and they're all over your feet," Bobby Williams told the Chicago TV station while standing outside the Wilson train stop. "I think it should be illegal to feed them."

Cappelman is known for having his staff regularly sweep breadcrumbs tossed onto city streets. Once, he even was physically attacked by a woman when he started to clean up the breadcrumbs she put out for the birds.

But not everyone agrees cracking down on pigeon-feeders should be a high priority for city officials.

"They're gonna arrest someone for feeding a bird?" Lily Norton said. "That's kind of ridiculous."

Oliver Guyton called Cappelman's efforts "silly."

"He should be focusing on other problems," Guyton said. "Like the budget and all that type of stuff that aldermen do."


French nudists challenge $50 fines

TOULON, France, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A local tribunal is mulling over whether a couple of French nudists should have to pay $50 fines for not covering up in public two years ago.

Lawyers for Berthy Vaillant, co-owner of a bazaar in Heliopolis, and a client of the shop were slapped with fines for indecent exposure in August 2010, the newspaper Le Parisien said. The pair contend the punishment is overboard for showing a bit too much skin at the shop.

"This is an unjust and absurd fine; it's ridiculous that in the birthplace of French naturism someone can be warned by the authorities for being naked!" the French news website The Local.fr quoted Valliant as saying.

"If we respected this local law, there would be no more naturism on the island! And the tourists come here for that. If we tell them to put on a bathing suit to go to the swimming pool, they'll just go elsewhere.

"They're making a mountain out of a molehill ... . I have even spoken to the local mayor about it, and do you know what he said? 'Aren't there more serious things to worry about that someone seeing my buttocks?'"

An attorney for the local government said the town is within its rights to enforce the law.

A decision is expected from the court in the next month, The Local.fr said.


Bilingual dogs requirement story a hoax

MONTREAL, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A satirical radio show tricked some folks with a faux report about a proposal that dogs in Montreal must be taught to respond to commands in English and French.

The fictitious story by CBC Radio's "This is That" program went viral this week on Twitter. The Drudge Report linked to it, New York Magazine posted a blog on it and social media aggregator Digg picked it up, CBC News reported Friday.

The radio show said the proposed bylaw was in response to "untenable chaos" in bilingual Montreal dog parks because some pets were receiving commands in French and others in English.

"Dog parks in our city are chaotic and communication is at the heart of the conflict," a phony Montreal city councillor, Benoit LaDouce, said in the segment posted on the show's website.

While some followers on Twitter caught on, others were sucked in and started contacting city officials.

Mayoral spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said calls flowed into City Hall about the fake report.

"The priority is making sure people understand their elected officials are not working on making dogs bilingual," the spokesman for Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum said.

"The priority is managing the city and fighting corruption."

"We obviously feel for the city of Montreal and City Council who are probably getting some calls right now. We feel bad that that was an outcome of this, but it's a joke. A pretty funny one," said "This is That" producer Chris Kelly.


U.S. companies parlay Dec. 21 publicity

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Two major U.S. restaurant chains are getting in on the hoopla over the pending end of the world as predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar.

Carl's Jr. this week unveiled a massive 21x21x21-inch hamburger that was painstakingly crafted by the gang in the fast-food giant's test kitchen in honor of the catastrophe predicted for Dec. 21.

"If it's not the end of the world, then it's definitely the end of your hunger," said a notice posted on Facebook along with a picture of the sandwich, which is made up of a dozen beef patties, 12 strips of bacon and equal number of cheese slices.

The "Last Friday" campaign by T.G.I Friday's includes apocalypse eve bashes in Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities. The final fun for customers includes dancing, free use of the photo booths and Mayan Margaritas. Proceeds go to charity.

The Los Angeles Times said a number of U.S. retailers, hotels and other establishments are marking the Mayan prediction with a mix of good humor and great specials.

"We believe the Earth was built to last, just like our new Open Country A/T II," Toyo Tires wrote on Facebook, where it also offered a contest that included a free trip to the Mayan homeland in Mexico's Yucatan.

© 2012 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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