Mega-brothel gets go-ahead
A Sydney brothel has received the green light for a multimillion-dollar expansion that will see it become the nation’s largest sex premises, with rooms featuring multiple beds and pool tables. Plans to double the number of rooms at Sydney’s “Stiletto” into a mega-brothel were knocked back late last year by the city council on the grounds that it was too big. However, the owners won an appeal to the Land and Environment Court this week, with Commissioner Susan O’Neill ruling the A$12 million (US$12.2 million) development should go ahead. O’Neill said Stiletto’s operation to date had been assessed by the council as “acceptable and better than most” brothels in the city, and the proposed expansion to 40 rooms had addressed traffic and other concerns. Stiletto promotes itself as “the world’s finest short-stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel.” Its standard hourly rate of A$370 includes room, lady of choice and beverages. It is open 24 hours each day of the year except for Christmas Day and boasts a “mixed clientele,” which it claims includes top-end celebrities.
Tax collectors to beef up
Tax collectors will get three weeks of military physical training from presidential security forces in an effort to build up the muscles and moral fiber of an organization seen as ineffective and corrupt. The nation was shocked last year by revelations of tax official Gayus Tambunan, who bribed his way out of jail while awaiting conviction for taking kickbacks to cut companies’ taxes. “It is very important to build character,” said Dedi Rudaedi, a spokesman at the tax office. “We have 32,000 employees and the majority want to make a change, they want the office to be cleaner.”
Lust unlucky for turtle pairs
German paleontologists have dug up the remains of nine turtle pairs that died while mating 47 million years ago, sinking into poisonous waters while locked in a final embrace, a report said yesterday. The find represents the first-ever fossil record of copulating vertebrates, said a report in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters. “Millions of animals live and die every year and many enter the fossil record through serendipitous circumstances, but there really is no reason to enter the fossil record while you are mating,” co-author Walter Joyce said about the rarity of the find. “The chances of both partners dying at the same time is highly unlikely and the chances of both partners being preserved afterwards even less likely.” The paper said it was common in fresh water turtles for the couple to freeze into a mating position. “If mounting occurs in the open water, the mating couple is likely to thereby sink to considerable depths,” it said — possibly explaining why so many individuals fell into the same death trap.
Royal flush leads to treasure
A hairpin belonging to 16th-century Queen Catherine de Medici has been discovered at Fontainebleau Palace outside Paris. What has conservators scratching their heads is exactly where it was found: down a communal toilet, not a royal one. Officials said it’s the first time in modern history that a possession of the Renaissance royal has been found at Fontainebleau. Though the queen was renowned for her lavish jewelry, much of her collection has been lost, sold or stolen. The rare 9cm pin was identified easily because it bore interlocking C’s — for “Catherine” and had a finish of white and green, known to be Catherine’s colors.