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The skinny

The skinny: Tourists collect old trillion-dollar bills in Zimbabwe

Trillionaires

Tourists buy up old dollar bills in zimbabwe

Western visitors to Zimbabwe are snapping up old, defunct bank notes, most notably the 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill, as an economic souvenir. At 100 followed by 12 zeros, the note is the highest denomination and sells for $5, depending on its condition. That bill and others were abandoned nearly two years ago, when the U.S. dollar became legal tender in the hopes of killing off the record inflation that caused all those zeros. Thomas Waas, a physicist and engineer from Germany, said if the population of the world is 7 billion people, every single person could be given thousands of old Zimbabwe dollars from a single 100 trillion note.

Tunnel vision

Bank robbers plot and dig for months

Thieves dug a 100-foot-long ventilated and lit tunnel from a neighboring building into an Argentine bank and emptied the contents of up to 140 safety deposit boxes, officials said Monday. Authorities said three thieves who had rented a building next door in June entered a branch in Buenos Aires on New Year's Eve and spent a busy weekend there. The robbery wasn't discovered until the bank opened Monday.

Polar bear love

Couples show passion for a swim

A Pennsylvania couple took a frigid plunge to symbolize taking another plunge — their marriage. Judy Herilla and Adam Lipinski were among hundreds of members of the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club who jumped into the Monongahela River on New Year's Day. Unlike the others, they had just gotten married aboard a water taxi. Herilla, of Springdale, wore a veil and a long purple-and-white tutu with her swimsuit. Lipinski wore a T-shirt with a tuxedo design and shorts. The water was 37 degrees.

His/her squeeze

They tie the knot and slither forth

Hundreds of Cambodian villagers flocked to a wedding ceremony Monday between a 16-foot, 200-pound female python and her slightly smaller mate — both believed to be magic snakes that bring prosperity and peace. The two-hour ceremony 12 miles south of Phnom Penh, the capital, ended with two Buddhist monks blessing the pair and villagers showering them with flowers as music played.

Gross point

And a nice hand for giant rats

Researchers have found a new way of testing for tuberculosis that is fast, cheap and widely available: large rats that can smell the bacteria in a sputum sample. There are expensive and complicated laboratory tests for TB, but whatever else can be said about them, rats are cheaper. Studies suggest that the Gambian pouched rat performs better too. The animal, an omnivorous rodent with puffy cheeks and that chillingly familiar rat body and tail, weighs 10 to 15 pounds and can smell the difference between tuberculosis bacilli and the myriad other germs that inhabit human phlegm.

Compiled from Times wires and other news sources.

The skinny: Tourists collect old trillion-dollar bills in Zimbabwe 12/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:12pm]
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