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China garden

Beijing, Jan. 4 (AFP): A botanical garden designed to be the world’s largest is under construction in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, as part of national efforts to save rare and endangered plants, state media said today.

With a projected land area of 458 sq km, the Qinling Botanical Garden being built by the branch of Chinese Academy of Sciences in the Shaanxi city of Xi’an will protect a total of 6,100 rare plant species, the Xinhua news agency said.

Huang hongwen, director of the Wuhan Botany Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that within the next 15 years, the number of rare plant species protected by the academy’s 12 affiliated botanical gardens will be raised from the present 13,000 to 21,000.

Giant cake

Mexico City (AFP): Bent on baking their way into the Guinness Book of World Records, a group in northern Mexico has fired up a holiday cake weighing in at 13,400 kg, local media reported. Eyeing the coveted record for largest and heaviest traditional bread, the crowd in Nuevo Leon state rolled out the three kings day “rosca,” a dense fruit cake eaten here on the eve of January 6 to mark the end of the Christmas holiday season, Radio Red said. Of course it usually fits on a large plate. Not this time. If anyone resolved to trim down in the new year, this cake is expected to deliver 34,000 slices to locals. And they are waiting to hear from the records book people.

Trick toys

Rome (Reuters): Italian police said on Saturday they had seized thousands of counterfeit toys, video games and tapes in the first three days of the New Year that were intended to meet a rush for gifts from a legendary old witch. They said the 10,000 badly made toys seized on the Naples to Rome railway line could have endangered children and were en route to meet the demands of those who will be searching for a present on Monday from the Epiphany witch or “La Befana”. Legend has it that La Befana flies around Italy delivering presents to children on the Christian Epiphany holiday, the final sprint for exhausted Italian parents after the Christmas marathon.

Foot fault

Stockholm (Reuters): Staff at a laundry washing hospital linen found a human foot, a Swedish newspaper said on Friday. The foot, with painted toenails, was found on December 10 at a commercial laundry in Eskilstuna, west of Stockholm, which washed linen from several hospitals, Eskilstuna-Kuriren said on its website.


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