UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Dec. 29, 2004 at 5:45 PM
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Snapple sorry for stinky Staten Island jab

NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- New York City's marketing partner Snapple has apologized for suggesting on its Web site Staten Island is smelly, the New York Daily News said Wednesday.

As part of Snapple's "Real Facts Game," a fill-in-the-blank question asked, "The most recognized smell in the world is ..." followed by the answer "No, it's not Staten Island. It's coffee."

As a marketing partner with the city, the juice giant is contracted to lend its brand and advertising dollars to boost New York's image around the globe. When contacted by the newspaper, embarrassed Snapple officials quickly apologized and removed the jab.

As part of the deal, the city granted Snapple exclusive rights to sell its drinks in city buildings and schools, and in exchange, Snapple agreed to pay the city $166 million over five years, of which $60 million is supposed to be in upbeat advertising aimed mostly at tourists.

Dog takes truck for spin

SPRINGDALE, Ark., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- An Arkansas auto parts store clerk was surprised when the truck belonging to the customer he was helping crashed through a window -- with a dog at the wheel.

Michael Henson had left his truck idling in the parking lot of O'Reilly Auto Parts in Springdale Sunday so he could show a store worker how his throttle was sticking. Moments later Henson and clerk Josh Hopper were shocked as they saw Henson's dog drive his truck straight through a plate-glass window, the Springdale Morning News reported Wednesday.

"The customer had a problem with his throttle sticking. He'd left the truck running -- I guess to show the people at O'Reilly's -- and the dog jumped over and knocked the truck into gear," said Sgt. Billy Turnbough of the Springdale Police Department.

"The guy said he was standing there, looked up, and saw his dog driving his truck through the building."

No one was injured in the incident.

N.M. Buddha statue weeps for wave victims

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- An 18-foot marble statue of a Buddhist goddess in Albuquerque appeared to weep just days after tens of thousands were killed by Asian tsunamis.

The statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy has weathered three years of exposure to harsh winter snow and sleet and summer monsoons, but until Tuesday its eyes had remained jet black, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

"We were all shocked," said Omar Hanson as he stood in front of the 13-ton statue, explaining how locals were amazed to see what appeared to be tears emanating from the statue's eyes and running down her cheeks.

The piece was handcrafted several years ago in northern Myanmar, one of the countries hit by Sunday's devastating earthquake and tsunamis, which have claimed over 80,000 lives so far.

National Geographic red-faced in Iran

TEHRAN, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- National Geographic magazine has apologized to the Iranian government for blunders in an issue where it renamed the Persian Gulf, Novosti reported.

In October, Iran's Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance issued a statement describing the magazine as "non-professional" and banned its distribution throughout Iran, and denied the issue of entry visas to correspondents after an atlas referred to the Persian Gulf as the Arab Gulf.

It also changed the names of two Iranian islands in the Gulf -- Kish and Lavan.

Iran issued a sharp protest, accusing the publishers of an attempt to deliberately change the historical and geographic realities.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi told Novosti the magazine has since offered a written apology to Iran and expressed its readiness to correct the mistakes in one of its coming issues.

He said Iran wants compensation for the damage caused by the errors.

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