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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM   |   Comments

Only 21 pythons caught in Fla. Challenge

DAVIE, Fla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Pythons are thought to be slithering around southern Florida like crazy but so far a contest to catch them has produced a paltry 21 of the invasive snakes.

The first week of the state's 2013 Python Challenge ended Friday with fewer than two dozen Burmese pythons received by the University of Florida even though 777 people signed up.

Wildlife experts say Burmese pythons are a threat to the Everglades ecosystem and are looking to whittle down their population, thought to number in the thousands on state lands alone.

Burmese pythons, native to Asia, are constrictors that can grow to 26 feet long and are known to be voracious predators of mammals, birds and reptiles. That diet makes it hard on the state's native predators such as foxes and bobcats.

The non-venomous Burmese pythons have been reported in extreme south Florida since the 1980s, and now are established mainly within the bounds of Everglades National Park.

The python-catching event runs through Feb. 10. The person who kills the most Burmese pythons by that date will receive a check for $1,500.


Buddhist temple for sale due to odor

NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A Buddhist abbot in Thailand said his temple is being listed for sale because of the constant "stench" from a nearby pet food factory.

Luang Pu Buddha Issara, the abbot of Wat Or Noi in Nakhon Pathom, said he wants to sell the temple, which was founded in 1990, for $67 million and donate the proceeds to a foundation, the Bangkok Post reported Monday.

"The bad smell is from the pet factory, which is just [328 yards] from here and it is causing problems for monks and novices here," the abbot said.

He said he plans to move to the forest to practice dharma once the temple is sold.

"Temple for sale at low price. The stench from the pet food factory is unbearable," read signs posted around the area.

Supoj Urjitsurakul, manager of the pet food factory, said a third odor control system is being added in an attempt to control the stench.

"Monks from Wat Or Noi temple have visited the factory. I gave them a tour and showed them that we are really trying to improve things. I tried to contact the abbot but he was busy so he sent the monks instead," Supoj said.


William, Alice top Swedish baby names

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Statistics Sweden said William, barely, and Alice, easily, topped the country's list of the most popular baby names for a second year running in 2012.

The list, released Monday, said there were 918 babies named William, giving the name a slight edge over 917 named Oscar, The Local.se reported Monday.

Alice was the clear chart-topper for girls, with 938 newborns bearing the moniker and 756 babies being given the second-most popular name, Elsa.

Rounding out the top 10 names for boys were Lucas, Hugo, Elias, Alexander, Liam, Charlie, Oliver and Filip.

The remaining girls' names on the list were Julia, Ella, Maja, Ebba, Emma, Linnea, Molly and Alva.


Team offers Te'o's Girlfriend promotion

FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A Kentucky Frontier League baseball team is making light of Notre Dame player Manti Te'o's made-up girlfriend by giving away imaginary bobbleheads.

Florence Freedom announced the first 1,000 fans at the May 23 game at UC Health Stadium receive the Manti Te'o Girlfriend Bobblehead, which is actually an empty box, WXIX-TV, Cincinnati, reported Monday.

"This will be the best kind of bobblehead a fan could get," Freedom General Manager Josh Anderson said. "Because now fans can make the bobblehead out to be whatever they want it to be."

The team said a section of the stadium will be reserved for fans to sit with imaginary significant others.

The promotion mocks Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o being hoodwinked by a scammer who invented an online persona to carry on a romantic relationship with the player.

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