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Jan. 1, 2009 at 6:00 AM
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Couple has twins of a different color

LONDON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A mixed-race couple in Britain for the second time find themselves parents of twin girls -- one born with light skin and one with dark skin.

Miya was born with dark skin like her father, Dean Durrant, while Leah was born with white skin like her mother, Alison Spooner, 27, the Sun reported Wednesday.

Their twin daughters born seven years earlier also have different skin tones -- Lauren with white skin and red hair and Hayleigh with black hair and dark skin, the Sun reported.

"We didn't think it was even possible when we had Lauren and Hayleigh - and it didn't cross our minds that it could happen again. But we are just delighted that it has," Durrant said of his latest daughters, born Nov. 13 at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

School lists words to be 'banished'

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Michigan university has released its 34th annual list of words and phrases ripe for banishment from the English language, including "green" and "maverick."

Lake Superior State University in the city of Sault Ste. Marie said its 34th annual "List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness" was based on nominations from the public.

"Green" -- including variations "going green," "building green," "greening," "green technology" and others -- received the most nominations this year, the school said.

Two additional environmentally themed entries, "carbon footprint" and "carbon offsetting," also made the list.

The list included other words bandied about by politicians during 2008, including "maverick," "bailout" and "game changer."

Nominators also lamented the use of "staycation" to mean a vacation that does not involve traveling far from home.

"Occurrences of this word are going up with gas prices. 'Vacation' does not mean 'travel,' nor does travel always involve vacation. Let's send this word on a slow boat to nowhere," said Dan Muldoon of Omaha.

Escaped beaver fells trees 20 miles away

LIFTON, England, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The British owner of an escaped 84-pound beaver said trees believed to have been felled by the animal have been found 20 miles away from its former home.

Derek Gow, the beaver's owner, said the large male escaped a Lifton, England, animal sanctuary along with two females when an electric fence broke in October, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

Gow said the females were quickly recaptured but the male seemed to have vanished completely until signs of the animal's presence were found two weeks ago in the town of Gunnislake, 20 miles from the sanctuary.

The beaver owner said several gnawed trees were found along a riverbank in the town and the presence of other beavers is unlikely, as they have been extinct in Britain for 500 years.

Gow said he is working to recapture the fugitive beaver.

"He's looking for a lady beaver so we will bait a trap with scent from one of the females. He won't be able to resist," Gow said.

Guide dog ate charity money

FRINTON, England, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A British man said his wife's guide dog ripped up more than $350 worth of banknotes that had been collected for charity.

Gordon Webb said Lewis, a 5-year-old guide dog owned by his wife, Claire, said he had been put in charge of Christmas charity fundraising by the Frinton Rotary Club in Essex and one night he left the money out after sorting it for banking, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

"I came down the other morning and by the coffee table there were shreds of paper," Webb said. "I realized what they were and I thought, 'No -- he's eaten all the notes.'"

He said the Bank of England has agreed to exchange the damaged money for new cash.

"I just have to send it all off," Webb said. "Lewis will eat anything. When they're working, they behave impeccably, but as soon as they're off duty they're dogs again."

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