Do as Brazilians do
Portuguese to amend their native tongue
Lawmakers in Portugal have approved a measure to standardize their language — Portuguese — to make it conform with language as it is used in Brazil. Under the agreement, which was hotly contested, the spelling will more closely match the way words are pronounced by removing silent consonants. Also, the alphabet expands to 26 letters with the introduction of k, w and y, and there are new rules on the use of hyphens and accents. Portuguese is the official language of seven countries other than Portugal and is spoken by about 230-million people worldwide. About 190-million of those are in Brazil. More than 33,000 signed a petition opposing the move.
Decorative fish have terrible view
A restaurant in Changchun, China, is getting less-than-stellar reviews for its unique display of ornamental fish. According to Eastern Asian Economic and Trade Daily, experts are condemning the trough of 20 fancy carp, which is in the men's room. The main problem is that the 13-foot trough is a multitasker, serving as the home to the fish and, well, it is a rest room ... a urinal. Experts say it is harmful to the fish and "disrespectful to China's fish culture." A spokesman for the restaurant says the water is changed twice a day, and that the waste-to-water ratio is not harmful to the fish. "It's not much different than a fish tank," the spokesman said. Ick. Also, the spokesman assured that the fish are strictly decorative, and not — NOT — on the menu.
Save newts, even if there are none
The county council in Leicestershire, England, took great care in building a new road, setting aside $2-million to protect the rare great-crested newt on the site. Environmental experts said that evidence suggested there were anywhere from one to 10 of the protected species on the sight, so fences and traps were added to the project to protect them, reports the Daily Telegraph. But it turns out, the evidence lied. There were none. "It's completely unacceptable. I've written to the minister concerned, and all he can say to me is that it's because of European Union regulations," said council leader David Parsons, who probably could've found something to do with the money. The project manager reports that the project protected several regular newts, but none of the rare newts were found.
Brian Gegner, who was jailed last week when his 18-year-old daughter failed to earn a high school equivalency diploma, will be released if the daughter attends a GED prep class and schedules the test before the next court date, the judge in the case has ruled. Gegner received a 180-day sentence for contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor. Brittany was in trouble for truancy issues but said her father should not pay for her mistakes.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.