PLEASANT DREAMS, LITTLE ONES. New Zealand is investigating allegations of dangerous levels of formaldehyde in children's pajamas imported from China.
From the Financial Times:
The government ordered the probe after scientists hired by a consumer watchdog programme discovered formaldehyde in Chinese clothes at levels of up to 900 times regarded as safe. Manufacturers sometimes apply formaldehyde to clothes to prevent mildew. It can cause skin rashes, irritation to the eyes and throat and allergic reactions.And in some Chi-Com factory somewhere, Comrade Foreman is berating his workers: "Ashes are useless to us!"
The Warehouse, a New Zealand retailer, issued a recall at the weekend for children’s pyjamas made in China after two children were burned when their flannelette nightclothes caught fire.
CHEW ON THIS. Leon Trotsky once prophesied: "In the third year of Soviet rule in America, you will no longer chew gum!" He dared not speak of Finland. Scientists say Ancient Finns chewed gum, but not merely to occupy their mouths.
From the AP:
Last month, students in western Finland found a piece of Stone Age birch-bark tar, believed to have been used for chewing and to fix broken arrowheads or clay dishes, archaeologists said Monday.Yes, but did they stick it under their desks at school? Did they scrape it off the streets? Did their chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?
"Most likely the lump was used as an antique kind of chewing gum," said Sami Viljamaa, an archaeologist who led the dig near Oulu, some 380 miles north of the capital, Helsinki. "But its main purpose was to fix things."
BLAMING THE BIRDS. Investigators probing the Minneapolis bridge disaster are determining whether pigeon poop played a role.
From the AP:
"There is a coating of pigeon dung on steel with nest and heavy buildup on the inside hollow box sections," inspectors wrote in a 1987-1989 report.Perhaps we can classify the so-called "rats with wings" as WMD: Winged Mass Destructors.
In 1996, screens were installed over openings in the bridge's beams to keep pigeons from nesting there, but that didn't prevent the building of droppings elsewhere.
Pigeon droppings contain ammonia and acids, said chemist Neal Langerman, an officer with the health and safety division of the American Chemical Society. If the dung isn't washed away, it dries out and turns into a concentrated salt. When water gets in and combines with the salt and ammonia, it creates small electrochemical reactions that rust the steel underneath.
DRAW! School officials in Chandler, Arizona suspended a 13-year-old boy for drawing a gun -- on paper, that is.
From The Arizona Republic:
The [boy's family] said the drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries, or target any human. They said it was just a drawing that resembled a gun.And people wonder why parents are homeschooling...
But Payne Junior High administrators thought the sketch was enough of a threat and gave the boy a five-day suspension, later reduced to three days.
Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and threatening words or pictures are punishable.
The school did not contact police and did not provide counseling or evaluate the boy to determine if he intended the drawing as a threat.
WHICH IS WITCH? We're seeing toil and trouble in Salem, Massachusetts, where two Wiccans are accused of placing raccoon remains on doorsteps.
From The Boston Herald:
Police said they’re baffled as to why Sharon Graham, 46, and Frederick Purtz, 22, both of Salem, allegedly tossed a raccoon head and entrails outside two city businesses, Angelica of the Angels and the Goddess’ Treasure Chest.From the Salem News:
But Purtz’s lawyer said it’s likely a conflict inside the town coven.
“There’s probably some internal issues within the Wiccan community,” Sean Wynne said. “I can tell you that based on research, that the Wiccan community does not condone any blood sacrifice or the harming of anyone else...”
Christian Day, leader of a community of witches in Salem, said he hopes this incident isn't used to target his religion.Paging Glinda: "Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?"
"No witch would ever desecrate a corpse," Day said. "We understand the spirit world. This is our whole life. It is our life. [Graham's] not a witch."
OUTTA HERE. The INS finally caught up with Elvira Arellano. As we told you this spring, she's the illegal immigrant who dodged deportation for a year by holing up in a Chicago church. The ending was anticlimactic, devoid of an hyper-emotional, cable-TV fueled standoff. The feds grabbed her and deported her back to Mexico shortly after she spoke at a rally in Los Angeles, which had your Lightning Round thinking she was just cruisin' for it.
Now, Mexican lawmakers are taking her side. The senate in her native country has passed a resolution condemning the deportation.
From USA Today:
"For me it is very important that our government take a strong stand to defend all of us who decide to migrate to another country," Arellano said.It's kinda sad when your homeland doesn't have enough pride to want you back.