In findings that could surely be matched in the United States, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported in January that the country’s 100 highest-paid business executives had, by 9:46 a.m. on Jan. 2, earned an amount equal to what the average Canadian would earn in all of 2007. And The New York Times reported in December that Wall Street bonuses for 2006 were so large that one real estate broker complained at New York City’s shortage of $20 million properties and a Greenwich, Conn., Ferrari dealer complained that Ferrari hadn’t manufactured enough 599 GTB Fioranos (price: about $250,000) to fill his customers’ orders.
NEWS THAT SOUNDS LIKE A JOKE
On New Year’s Day at the South African tourist attraction of Cango Caves, an overweight visitor in the “Tunnel of Love” got stuck exiting, trapping her and the 23 people behind her for 12 hours until rescuers used a pulley and liquid paraffin (to grease the rocks) to extricate her.
CUTTING EDGE SCIENCE
In November Don Karkos regained sight in his right eye after 65 years. A 1941 Navy submarine explosion had knocked him out, and doctors had told him many times that he would never see with that eye again, but Karkos, 82—a retired horse farmer who works as a security guard at New York’s Monticello Raceway—was butted in the head by a horse and awoke the next day with sight regained. He told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. in December that the blow he took from My Buddy Chimo was even harder than the one from the concussion.
SCIENCE GONE TOO FAR
A Nottingham University professor warned in January that farmers are now at work in the United Kingdom breeding “stress” and “hostility” out of pigs and cows to make them more obedient en route to the slaughterhouse. The professor said the goal of such breeders is to create animal “vegetables.”
LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Employees at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in China have set up a branch of the Communist Party, according to a December Associated Press dispatch, to go with five existing branches at individual stores. The party said it would not interfere with Wal-Mart management. And outsourcing of American jobs recently reached a new category of corporate employees: lawyers. An estimated 23,000 lawyers’ jobs were lost in the U.S. last year to India, where document review and legal research can be performed at about half the cost as in America, according to a December story in the News Journal of Wilmington, Del.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
London’s Observer reported in November that several UNICEF offices worldwide have complained to U.N. headquarters that celebrities endorsing the charity’s work have demoralized the staff because traveling celebrities are so high-maintenance when they arrive to “help” and also because some companies making donations (for example, Gucci) are owned by parent companies whose factories exploit Third World children more than the donations help.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Jeremy Lyons, 20, was arrested in Hanover Township, Pa., in October for an alleged vandalism spree, bashing car windows with a baseball bat. A local TV station had reported the arrest of another person, and Lyons called the station. Laughing, he told them they had the wrong man. Police arrested him after tracing the call. MTW