Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The State

Officials in China's Hubei province have ordered teachers and other government workers to smoke about 230,000 packs of locally produced cigarettes in order to boost demand. Those who fail to comply, or who are caught smoking rival brands, will be fined.
Two Oklahoma City police officers stopped Chip Harrison and took a sign from his car saying "Abort Obama Not the Unborn." They said the Secret Service might believe that was a threat against the president. They apparently contacted the Secret Service, who searched Harrison's house and "interviewed" him for 30 minutes.
British developer Geoffrey Key knew he had trouble when he found a brown long-eared bat in one of two houses he wanted to demolish. The bat is legally protected, and local officials gave permission for the demolition and construction of new homes only after forcing Key to build a £20,000 heated home for the bats.
An Afghan court has sentenced Ghows Zalmay to 20 years in prison for blasphemy. His crime? He translated the Quran into Dari. Religious experts testified it was an accurate translation, but it didn't include the original Arabic text, and the court found that blasphemous.