Saturday, May 20, 2006

What a piker! "A young Chinese woman is undergoing medical tests in Beijing after dining on dirt for 11 years. The 18-year-old from Inner Mongolia was taken to Beijing by her parents, who wanted to know why she finds dirt appetizing. She told Chinese television she started the habit when she was just 7 years old when she consumed dirt that was attached to the roots of grass. Yellow mud is her favorite. Her eating habits have caused problems for the family's next-door neighbor, who has a mud roof. Chinese television reported that the woman can't help herself and keeps eating the roof.

Portly piranhas put on a diet: "A shoal of piranha fish on show at a British aquatic centre have had to be put on a diet after putting on weight in captivity, officials said today. Regular mealtimes mean the razor-toothed predators have become a bit podgy in the past month so they are now only being fed half-portions in a bid to shift the excess, Lynsey Thompson, from Birmingham's Sea Life Centre said. Piranha, which are normally found in the River Amazon in South America, are capable of stripping a whole dead pig to the bone within minutes and can literally eat themselves to death, she explained. "Each mealtime has turned into a frantic feeding frenzy as they fight for meaty chunks of trout, prawns and mussels," she added. "In the wild, species of piranha can go for days without any food."

But how gassy is it?: "For those who find baked beans on toast just too messy to put together, help is on the way. Heinz has devised a frozen baked bean sandwich which simply needs to be heated in a toaster. Heinz chief Bill Johnson said the company needed to give people "new ways to use beans". "If people take the time to cook beans and put it on toast, why shouldn't we cut the process for them and give them beans on toast?" he said. The technology is being developed by Heinz researchers in New Zealand."

Beer grief for Germany: "Ii is brown-gold and alcoholic but, then, in the scathing verdict of German beer fans, so is paint thinner. The Germans are furious that Budweiser will be the official tipple for the World Cup, which starts next month. The American lager has secured a near-monopoly of beer sales inside World Cup stadiums and within a 500m radius of the grounds, supplanting more than 1,270 domestic breweries. And what most upsets the fans is that Budweiser - advertised as the "King of Beers" in the US - fails to meet the ancient German standards for purity, which stipulate that beer can be brewed only from malt, hops and water. Budweiser uses rice in its production process and therefore does not qualify as a beer in the German sense. Budweiser's World Cup status is a slap in the face for a country that attaches such importance to beer production."

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