QUIRKY WORLD ... Private Derby the sheep to turn on town’s Christmas lights

CELEBRITY SHEEP ENGLAND: A sheep is to turn on the Christmas lights of a Derbyshire town.

The Swaledale ram, known as Private Derby, will push a specially-designed switch to illuminate Ashbourne’s display on November 21, the Derby Telegraph reported.

The sheep is the mascot of the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment. Fireworks will be let off from North Avenue and entertainment will get under way in the market place.

PLAYGIRL PICKLE

USA: A US company that helps businesses handle personnel issues has denied forcing one of its employees out of his job after it was discovered he had posed nude in Playgirl magazine.

Daniel Sawka, of Durham, Connecticut, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against ADP alleging sexual harassment, and seeking damages for lost pay. He says he was subjected to jokes and ridicule at work after at least one co-worker discovered he had posed nude in the 1990s in a lumberjack-themed spread for Playgirl, and found the photos online.

He said working conditions became so intolerable he was forced to leave his sales manager job in 2011. The company said it “exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any alleged harassing behaviour”.

DOG TRACKER

BRITAIN: A smartphone app which lets people know when lost animals are nearby is to be launched next year.

The Times reported that those who download the Pawscout app will be alerted when a lost pet wanders within 200ft (61m) of them.

The battery-powered Pawscout tags, which cost £19 (€24), send out a Bluetooth signal that can be detected by smartphones.

LANTERN BAN

THAILAND: Revellers in northern Thailand have been asked not to launch sky lanterns near airports to avoid airborne accidents during a popular festival.

Chiang Mai’s air traffic control centre said it had declared a three-mile restricted zone around the airport where lanterns are banned from today to Friday, when the Loy Krathong festival takes place. During the festival, Thais float small rafts into rivers to ask for forgiveness from the goddess of water.

Tradition also says that flying the floating lanterns will rid them of bad fortune, but it has posed aviation risks in recent years. Several airlines have even adjusted their flight schedules to give way to the lantern floating, which takes place mainly after dark.

WEDDING WEIGHT

USA: A Detroit-area couple who met in a support group for weight loss surgery patients exchanged wedding vows after losing a collective 380lb.

Crysta Danaher, 34, of Windsor, Ontario, and Bill Anderson, 44, of Allen Park, were married last Saturday at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, where they had bariatric surgery and later met, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Anderson has gone from 32st 11lb to about 18st since his May 2009 operation. Danaher has lost about 13st since her 2009 procedure.

“We were friends first,” Danaher said. “My mom knew him first and always said ‘I wish you’d meet a guy like Bill.’ He grew on me. I guess I grew on him, too.”

Anderson said the surgery and support group have “changed everything” about his life.

He has run two full marathons and more than a dozen half-marathons. The two were married by their yoga instructor in the room where they met.

They will spend their honeymoon in Cancun, where they admit they might cheat a little on their strict diets.

“We’re probably both going to be hurting on the honeymoon because we’ll try things we shouldn’t,” Danaher said.

CHRISTMAS SINGLE

BRITAIN: Campaigners asking for Page 3 of The Sun to be removed are releasing a Christmas single on December 15 which they are hoping to push to number one.

People can get involved by making the video for the song, which will be released at the same time as the single.

There was some belief Page 3 could be coming to its end in September, when owner Rupert Murdoch tweeted that it was “old-fashioned”.

NAMING RIGHTS

USA: The Dallas Zoo has sold the naming rights for a recently born giraffe for $50,000 (€39,700) to a bidder who asked to remain nameless.

No name has yet been selected for the six-foot male calf born on October 26 whose naming rights were sold at an auction at the zoo’s annual fundraiser on Saturday, spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

“There was a lot of interest in choosing a name so the timing was perfect since an auction was already planned,” she said.

The money will be used for giraffe conservation efforts in African countries where the animals roam.

The baby giraffe is the 12th in the Dallas Zoo’s herd, which is among the largest in the US, Holloway said.


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