Quirky World... Love without locks for French capital

FRANCE: Paris hopes to persuade couples to end the tradition of fixing padlocks to the River Seine’s ageing bridges, and instead upload hashtagged selfies to a website dedicated to enduring love-

Quirky World... Love without locks for French capital

With stickers in French, English, and Spanish on the Pont de l’Archeveche, behind Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris began its #lovewithoutlocks campaign, saying the city’s famed bridges “can’t resist your love” — the padlocks clinging to every available surface.

The lovers’ locks craze dates back a decade, but the weight is pulling bridge railings down.

NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam’s mayor and organisers of a large children’s winter festival have unveiled plans to reform the image of Black Pete — the sidekick to the Dutch Santa Claus — to remove perceived racist elements.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said Pete’s appearance will be changed over a period of years. The goal will be making Pete look like he has been merely tarnished from soot from going down chimneys to deliver presents.

Black Pete, or Zwarte Pieter, has become the subject of protests in the Netherlands.

Opponents say he is a caricature of an African slave carried over from colonial times: Pete is usually portrayed by white people wearing blackface make-up, bold red lipstick, and frizzy wigs.

USA: The former live-in caretaker of a mansion has died, ending criminal charges that he drank over $102,000 (€76,000) worth of old whiskey that he was supposed to be guarding.

A judge last year ordered 63-year-old John Saunders, of Irwin, Pittsburgh, to stand trial after hearing evidence from the owner of the South Broadway Manor bed and breakfast. Owner Patricia Hill told police she found nine 12-bottle cases of whiskey hidden in the century-old mansion built by industrialist JP Brennan after she bought it in 2011.

Hill hired Saunders to care for the property, which would have included safeguarding the whiskey. But when she went to have the pre-prohibition Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey appraised in March 2012, she discovered 52 empty bottles, on which police said they later found DNA from Saunders’ saliva.

ENGLAND: By today’s standards, half a million pounds for a massive property with unrivalled views across the Thames sounds like a bargain.

A disused fort with the memorable address of Number 1, The Thames, has gone up for sale with a guide price of £500,000 (€624,000). But there are some drawbacks — without a boat, it can only be reached at low tide and requires “complete renovation”.

The building off the coast of the Isle of Grain in Medway, Kent, is described as a “bomb-proof estuary gun emplacement” built around 1855.

ENGLAND: Food scientists have developed an ice-cream that glows in the dark.

The treat, created by Bompas & Parr for Wall’s, glows a fluorescent yellow. “We’ve always been interested in the lurid allure of glow-in-the-dark food,” said co-founder Sam Bompas. “Years ago we made glowing jellies as an art installation for SFMOMA. This year it was time to take the concept mainstream with glow-in-the-dark Cornettos.”

USA: About 180 Civil War-era cannonballs found in the grounds of the country’s oldest arsenal have been detonated in a New York quarry.

The cannonballs were found in the grounds of the Watervliet Arsenal, on the Hudson River just north of Albany.

They were moved 64km north to a quarry in South Glens Falls, where they were detonated. They had been discovered during construction projects over the years and stored in the facility’s museum, which closed last autumn.

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