Quirky World ... Man building remote four-acre nation in Utah

USA: A New York man is building his own sovereign nation called Zaqistan on a remote piece of land in Utah.

Zaq Landsberg has created a yellow-and-red flag, official-looking passports and a border patrol gate guarded by a giant robot sentry for the realm, KSL-TV reported.

“The conceptual goal is I want it to become a real country,” said Landsberg, its president.

“I mean, that goal is not going to happen. It’s impossible, but going through the motions, (I’m) trying to make that happen.”

He’s even created a motto for the land of Zaqistan: “Something from nothing.”

When he bought the sage-brush covered stretch of Utah backcountry a decade ago, the city-dwelling Landsberg was amazed at how removed it was. It’s about 60 miles from the nearest town and 15 miles away from a paved road.

While he calls the area harsh and desolate, it’s also appealing.

“Out here, it’s not that crazy of an idea to have your own little spot, and to do your own thing and to have your own space and the privacy to do that,” said Landsberg, who’s hesitant to reveal the exact location of Zaqistan for fear of people getting lost trying to find it.

While he knows the four-acre piece of land equipped with a supply bunker won’t actually become its own recognised country, Lansdsberg said building it is an artistic exploration in how far he can push the concepts of land ownership and sovereignty.

“My goal is to, like, probe those little areas,” Landsberg said. “To try and find what that does mean.”

He pays property taxes to Box Elder County, about 160 miles north of Salt Lake City, though he refers to the payments as tributes. He wants to make his little nation look legitimate.

The passports look and feel real, and visitors like his friend Mike Abu can get them stamped as they enter and exit the country.

“Legitimacy is one of those things that’s fairly subjective to begin with,” Abu said. “But when we’re talking about it, does it exist? There’s no question about it.”

Front page proposal

USA: A man looking to write a new chapter for his relationship turned to a newspaper’s front page to pop the question.

Robbie Paxton says it felt like the longest seven minutes of his life waiting for girlfriend Tina Troyer to notice the front-page ad he’d placed in Ohio newspaper, The Repository.

The 50-year-old Canton man says he was making breakfast and wondering why Troyer wasn’t saying anything after he set out the paper and her morning coffee. Paxton was just about to ask if she’d read the paper when she responded with a resounding “yes!”

The 49-year-old Troyer says she was thrown off guard especially because she always reads the ads inside before looking at the rest of the paper.

It’s not clear when the paper will carry the couple’s marriage announcement — they haven’t set a wedding date yet.

Shopkeeper warning

ENGLAND: Police are urging shopkeepers not to sell eggs and flour to under-16s ahead of Halloween amid fears pranksters might use them to cause mischief.

Officers said they launched the crackdown in King’s Cross in central London after youths pelted homes with home-made concoctions in trick-or-treat pranks in previous years.

The Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) said vulnerable and elderly residents have been targeted.

In a letter, pinned up to a shop front in King’s Cross, officers asked shopkeepers to volunteer not to sell the household staples to under-16s in the week before Halloween.

Foot fetishist jailed

USA: A former school district police officer who stopped a woman motorist and asked to lick her feet has been jailed for a year.

Patrick Quinn, 27, who worked in the Cypress-Fairbanks district near Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to official oppression.

According to court documents, Quinn stopped the woman in August 2014 and found marijuana paraphernalia but told her he had a foot fetish and would release her if she let him lick her feet or give him her underwear. Investigators say he changed his mind and let her go.

Canny cricket breeding

USA: Detroit Zoo officials are chirping about a new programme they say will make it easier and cheaper to feed their attractions.

A cricket breeding initiative allows the zoo to avoid the steep costs associated with flying in the jumping insects that are part of the daily diet for its 1,900 amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Crickets historically have carried the highest cost of all food sources at the zoo – including meat, fish and produce – at more than $98,000 a year.

The Detroit Zoological Society expects to save around $225,000 in the first three years.

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