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A book in 12 hours

Berlin, Feb. 18 (Reuters): Forty German authors are hoping to set a new world record by conceiving, writing and printing a book in 12 hours, the event’s organisers said today.

Stiftung Lesen, a foundation that promotes reading, will give the team of writers a topic at 7.45 am on World Book Day, April 23. They aim to have the finished book on shop shelves in 10 German cities by the evening of that day. With each author’s contribution set at about two pages and a foreword, the book will be 96 pages long.

“Generally, people associate writing a book with years of brain-racking and reflection. We wanted to make the point that print literature can still hold its own in the age of the Internet”, spokesman Christoph Schaefer said.

Boar chase

Paris (Reuters): A Frenchman who chased a wild boar around a housing estate, shot at it and killed it with a knife has been given a suspended prison sentence for endangering the lives of local residents. A pack of hunting dogs chased the boar into a housing estate at Bourg d’Oisans in the Alpine forests of the southeast France. The hunter said he pursued the chase because the boar was a danger to local people, despite the fact he was breaking a ban on hunting animals within 150 metres of a residence. Wild boar filled the forests of Roman-era Gaul, as famously depicted in Asterix cartoons, and are still found in some areas.

Reptile row

Hanoi (Reuters): Vietnam has intercepted and seized an air shipment of hundreds of live iguanas bound for China, but more than half the reptiles have since died, police said on Tuesday. Trafficking in animals such as weasels, snakes and bears to China is popular as Vietnam’s giant northern neighbour puts them in special dishes or uses them as medicine. The cargo, which weighed two tonnes, was in transit at Hanoi’s Noi Bai international airport and was worth around 400 million dong ($23,974), police said. The reptiles were sent to a local wild animal rescue centre, but more than half have since died, he added. “The cargo of iguanas weighing more than two tonnes was found on a flight from Malaysia on February 11,” he said, adding that police are weighing punishment for the Vietnamese firm that handled the shipment.

Thai steal

Bangkok (AFP): A 14-year-old Thai girl has been charged with robbery after confessing to police she helped steal foetuses from a hospital museum for use in black magic rituals. Thipawan Prakaithong surrendered her teenage daughter to authorities and the youth confessed she had been paid 1,000 baht ($23) to serve as a lookout while her friends stole foetuses and skulls from the museum of Thailand’s oldest medical school at Siriraj Hospital. She is being treated as a minor in the case and her name was not released. Last week Kittisak Laoprasert, 28, was arrested in the same case and told police he conspired to steal the items in the belief they would bring him good luck. The specimens, including skulls and a pair of Siamese twin foetuses, disappeared from the museum after having been displayed for years. Supernatural beliefs involving the unborn have been reinforced by age-old Thai folklore.

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