Pennies reach end of road
The Royal Canadian Mint started phasing out its penny, the nuisance coins that clutter dressers and cost more than their C$0.01 (US$0.01) value to produce. The mint on Monday officially ended its distribution of pennies to financial institutions. While people may still use pennies, the government has issued guidelines urging store owners to start rounding prices to the nearest nickel (C$0.05) for cash transactions. The coins, which feature two maple leaves and Queen Elizabeth II in profile, will remain legal tender until they eventually disappear from circulation.
New archbishop in place
The new archbishop of Canterbury on Monday formally took up his post as the leader of the world’s 80-million-strong Anglican Communion. The Most Reverend Justin Welby swore allegiance to the queen as he accepted the position amid prayers. Welby succeeds Rowan Williams, who retired in December last year after a decade in office.
Gas leak caused blast
The government said on Monday that a gas leak caused a blast that killed at least 37 people at the offices of state oil monopoly Pemex in Mexico City. Attorney General Jesus Murillo said no trace of explosives was found at the site of the explosion and the gas was believed to be methane. Murillo said the gas may have leaked from containers in a storage facility, or it could have leaked from an aging pipeline that passed through the building. Another possibility is that it emanated from sewage under the building, he said. Murillo said contractors working under the building needed electricity and used an extension cord, which could have caused a spark that ignited the gas.
Balloon breaks flight record
After more than 55 days flying over Antarctica, NASA’s huge Super-TIGER scientific balloon has broken the record for the longest flight of its kind, bringing back a wealth of data, the space agency said on Monday. The Super-TIGER balloon spent 55 days, 1 hour and 34 minutes aloft at an altitude of 38,710m, beating the old record set in 2009 by just over a day. It was gathering data on the high-energy cosmic rays that hit the Earth from elsewhere in the galaxy.
‘Cookie Monster’ sends note
Police say someone dressed as the Cookie Monster has sent a second note regarding a stolen cookie sculpture — this time saying he wants to return it. Officials are not sure the person in the photo actually stole the 20kg, century-old sculpture. The gilded bronze item was part of a statue outside German cookie baker Bahlsen’s Hannover office and it was reported stolen last month. A local newspaper on Monday received a picture of someone dressed like the Sesame Street character holding what appears to be the stolen cookie.
Court gives shark ruling
A court has convicted a man for killing a great white shark in the country’s first-ever ruling on such a case, the agriculture and fisheries ministry said on Monday. A Western Cape court on Friday last week fined recreational fisherman Leon Bekker 120,000 rand (US$13,527) for catching and killing the predator in 2011. Bekker was also handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence. In 1991, the country became the first to pass laws to protect the animal.