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Aug. 18, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Mining town mayor wants ugly women

MOUNT ISA, Australia, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The mayor of an Australian mining town says "beauty-disadvantaged" women who see themselves as ugly ducklings could turn into swans in his town.

"May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa," Mayor John Molony told The Australian.

The town's population of women ages 20 to 24 dropped from 994 in 1996 to 819 10 years later.

Molony said women who come to Mount Isa might develop other qualities that would bring them -- and their men folk -- happiness. As he said, "beauty is only skin deep."

Some young men in the town seemed dubious. Paul Woodlands, a 25-year-old construction worker, said the problem is that traditional women's jobs in the town, like hairdressing, do not pay as well as the men's jobs -- or as well as they do in the big cities.

"I know a few women who have come out here to do hairdressing, but they left to go back to the coast because the pay was bad and there's not much to do," Woodlands said.

Goose catcher meets neighborhood activists

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A professional goose trapper has been caught up in opposition from wildlife lovers in a Florida neighborhood.

Austin Corley, 18, is legally capturing birds under state law that requires only the filing of an application with the National Trappers Association. He has been nabbing ducks and geese since he was in ninth grade for sale at animal auctions, where he gets $5 to $20 per bird. Only recently has he run into real opposition, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Residents of the Crescent Lake area came out in force to drive away Corley and his friends from their neighborhood, where ducks and geese are considered free-range pets. They said their calls to police got belated responses but they remain determined.

"I'm terrified this guy is going to come back," said Jennifer Silva. "We all just want him to leave this park alone and find another way to make a living."

Corley is unapologetic, although he doesn't expect to return to Crescent Lake.

"They're nobody's ducks," he says. "It's not goose-napping."

New Orleans house wrongly torn down

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A New Orleans city contractor apparently never got the word a vacant house had been given a reprieve and demolished it this weekend, the home's owner said.

Erica DeJan, a pregnant mother-of-three, said miscommunication was likely to blame for the mistake that resulted in her home being reduced to a pile of rubble, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.

DeJan said she immediately contacted City Hall officials upon learning of the scheduled demolition of her home Friday, but the order to rescind the demolition was never properly executed.

"It's just a lack of communication," DeJan said. "It's not being on the same wavelength."

DeJan acknowledged the home she and her husband Brian bought had been deemed a public nuisance because of damage from Hurricane Katrina. But she told The Times-Picayune they had plans to renovate the house.

A city official told the newspaper the case would be investigated fully before any in-depth comments on the matter could be made.

Bulletproof fashion on sale at Harrods

LONDON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Bulletproof designer fashion is now available through Britain's best-known retailer.

Harrods is carrying a Colombian entrepreneur's line of luxury "ballistic daywear" for customers fearing personal attack. Included among those wanting the clothes are King Abdullah II of Jordan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and actor Steven Seagal, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The customized clothing line includes a polo shirt, a blazer, a sports jacket, a biker jacket and a raincoat -- with prices ranging between $6,500 and $15,400. The apparel is described as being wearable at parties even while tough enough to withstand fire from an Uzi machine gun.

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