Farmer attacks police cars
A farmer angry with police for trying to confiscate his tractor wrecked three patrol cars and evaded capture for seven hours before an elite unit managed to arrest him, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. The farmer was pulled over for driving his tractor without a license, despite previous warnings. The officers called in three patrol cars before asking the farmer to get out of his vehicle. He refused and proceeded to ram the cars with his tractor, making full use of its attached muck spreader and hydraulic fork. Officers were only just able to scramble out of harm's way. The farmer then drove into a forest, where he eluded a manhunt involving two helicopters and an armored car for seven hours.
■ NEW ZEALAND
Superman replaces 4Real
A couple is looking to call their newborn son Superman -- but only because their chosen name of 4Real has been rejected by the government registry. Pat and Sheena Wheaton say they will get around the decision by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages by officially naming their son Superman but referring to him as 4Real, the New Zealand Herald newspaper has reported. The Wheatons decided on the name after seeing the baby for the first time in an ultrasound scan and realizing their baby was "for real."
The national assembly late on Wednesday adopted a law criminalizing slavery for the first time. The practice has persisted in certain parts of the north African country despite its official abolition in 1981. Under the new law, voted for unanimously, people convicted of acts of slavery will risk between five and 10 years in prison. Slavery in its original form has become rare in the country but still exists in many communities, especially in the countryside. No official statistics exist on the number of people reduced to slavery in the country.
South Pole journey planned
The explorer who made an epic descent to the North Pole seabed last week hopes to make an expedition to the South Pole around the end of this year, a member of his staff said on Wednesday. Artur Chilingarov, a 67-year-old explorer and member of parliament, hopes to go to the South Pole "sometime in the period from December to February," an adviser to Chilingarov, Konstantin Zaitsev, said. Although it was too early to provide details of the expedition, Zaitsev said it was unlikely to be organized by the main state body behind last week's North Pole descent, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
Man officially tallest
A giant veterinary surgeon from the northwest has been declared the tallest living human by Guinness World Records, the book's publisher said on Wednesday. "Guinness World Records has announced the new tallest man in the world as ... Leonid Stadnyk of Ukraine who was found to be 2.57m in 2006," spokeswoman Amarilis Espinoza said. In next year's edition of the book Stadnyk will replace Bao Xishun, a native of Inner Mongolia, China, who is 2.36m tall, she said. Stadnyk is believed to suffer from a rare condition caused by a tumor on the gland that stimulates the release of growth hormones.
■ UNITED STATES
Man hides monkey in hat
A man smuggled a monkey onto an airplane, stashing the fist-size primate under his hat until passengers spotted it perched on his ponytail, an airline official in New York said. On a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to New York's LaGuardia airport, people around the man noticed that a marmoset had emerged from underneath his hat, Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Alison Russell said. The man's journey had begun in Lima, Peru. "Other passengers asked the man if he knew he had a monkey on him," Russell said. The monkey spent the remainder of the flight in the man's seat and behaved well, Russell said. LaGuardia airport police were waiting for the man and his monkey when the plane landed, and he was taken for questioning. It was unclear if he would face any criminal charges.