Quirky World: Lenin’s huge granite head exhumed for exhibition

GERMANY: The 3,900kg granite head of Vladimir Lenin that was removed from a Berlin square in 1991 has been unearthed for an exhibition.

The head was part of a 19m Lenin figure unveiled in 1970 on East Berlin’s Leninplatz, or Lenin Square.

After the reunification of Germany, the statue was removed, broken into 129 pieces, and buried in woods on the city’s southeastern edge. The plaza was renamed United Nations Square.

The 1.5m-high head was unearthed yesterday and transported to the western suburb of Spandau, where it will be part of an exhibition on monuments in Berlin.

Runner fined


A Colorado trail runner who in July set a record for the fastest completion of the Appalachian Trail has agreed to pay a $500 (€443) fine to Maine after breaking state rules by celebrating his feat with champagne at the trail’s northern terminus, his attorney said.

Officials at Baxter State Park, home to the 24km of the 3,508km trail that ends atop 1.6km-tall Mount Kathadin, fined Scott Jurek for violating park rules against drinking in public, littering, and hiking with an oversized group.

The latter two charges were dropped in a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to public consumption of alcohol, Jurek’s lawyer said.

Jurek, a professional ultra-marathoner who completed the Georgia-to-Maine trek in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes on July 12, beat the previous record by more than three hours.

His journey was tracked in real-time by GPS, ‘liked’ by tens of thousands on Facebook, followed by a support vehicle bearing the logos of corporate sponsors, and drew national attention.

The number of hikers and long-distance trail runners completing the trek has more than doubled since the 1980s, Appalachian Trail Conservancy figures show.

Hop for the hip


Two minutes of hopping a day can strengthen hip bones in older people and reduce the risk of fracture after a fall, scientists have suggested.

A study led by Loughborough University showed bone density in the hopping leg improved after just one year. Bones thin naturally with age, and localised thinning in the hip is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture. Researchers said their findings have major implications for the prevention and management of osteoporosis.

Pot tax waiver


Colorado’s unusual tax law is forcing the US state to suspend taxes on recreational marijuana for one day.

A 10% sales tax and 15% excise tax will not be collected during this time, which would shave $20 off the price of a mid-grade ounce of pot in the Denver area.

It is unusual for a state that has rejected on a number of occasions sales tax holidays on things like school supplies, clothing or energy-efficient appliances. Officials say it could cost the state between $3m and $4m.

Wayward chickens


The owner of a wayward chicken that fouled up traffic at the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge last week is reclaiming his bird.

Ken Houston says he was taking two of his chickens to a nearby school garden, when he stopped at the Oakland Army Base, near the toll plaza, to check on a work project. That’s when he realised the cardboard box carrying his chickens in the back of his truck was empty.

One chicken was eventually captured by the California Highway Patrol, as well as news cameras and people with phones. It has been staying at Oakland Animal Services. The second chicken was never found.


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