Orangutan to go cold turkey
An orangutan who became the star attraction of a zoo for her penchant for puffing on cigarettes will be forced to quit cold turkey, a conservationist said yesterday. Visitors began throwing lit cigarettes into the cage of 15-year-old Tori when she was five and the female orangutan has since developed an addiction, the Centre for Orangutan Protection coordinator Daniek Hendarto said. “We are working with the zoo’s management to try and move her to an island, in a big lake in the middle of the zoo, away from the other orangutans and where visitors can’t toss her any more cigarettes,” Hendarto said. He said Tori’s parents had also been smokers, adding that orangutans easily mimic human behaviour, including smoking. News of the smoking orangutan spread quickly 10 years ago, attracting more visitors to the Taru Jurug Zoo in the central Javanese city of Solo, Hendarto said. Zoos in the country have drawn international criticism in recent years for their poor treatment of animals. In March, a giraffe at a zoo in eastern Java was found dead with a 20kg beachball-size lump of plastic in its stomach after eating visitors’ food wrappers which had been thrown into its pen.
Military lowers standards
Shorter people now have a chance to rise to the highest positions in the country’s armed forces after the top military academy lowered its height requirement on Friday. The head of the Philippine Military Academy, Major General Nonato Peralta said the elite institution would now admit male and female students who were at least 1.52m tall. The previous requirement was 1.62m for men and 1.57m for women and brings the academy into line with the rest of the military. “With the previous height requirement, many Filipino youth who had a good educational background and were physically fit, were disenfranchised from the opportunity of being able to take the entrance examination,” he said. In the past, shorter applicants had to petition a member of congress to have the height requirement waived.
Food firm fined over English
A court ruled on Friday in favour of employees of food industry group Danone who sued their employer for imposing an English-language computer program. The court in Vienne in the south east agreed that a 1994 law outlining the “obligatory use of the French language” had to be upheld in the factory. The CGT union, the workplace health, security and hygiene committee and the works council had filed a complaint after the management at the unit in Saint-Just-Chaleyss introduced the English-language management program last year. “We are very happy, we launched a difficult fight but finally we were right,” CGT official Mario Pisanu said. “It was a real barrier for employees who do not speak this language and a form of discrimination,” he added.
Satanic ID card fright
Georgia’s powerful Orthodox Church has assured believers that the ex-Soviet state’s new electronic identity cards do not carry the mark of Satan after being petitioned by worried worshipers. “The Holy Synod states that from the point of view of theological and ecclesiastical teachings, ID cards as they exist today do not represent the mark of the Antichrist,” the church’s governing body said in a statement late on Thursday. Some Georgian Christians had petitioned the church, expressing fears that the ID cards contained an electronic chip marked with the ‘number of the beast,’ 666.