QUIRKY WORLD: Royalists go ape as newborn monkey is called Charlotte

Need a break from the serious stuff? We bring some of the quirky stories from around the world.

JAPAN: A monkey born in a Japanese zoo is to keep its name Charlotte. 

Oita city officials had to settle a national debate over whether calling the monkey Charlotte offended its British royal namesake.

The officials said they will stick to their first choice because there was no protest from Britain’s royal family.

The dispute began when the popular Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden named a newborn macaque Charlotte, which was the favourite in a public ballot.

Immediately after the decision was announced, the zoo was flooded with protests from some Japanese people saying it was disrespectful to British royals, prompting an initial apology.

However, Oita mayor Kiichiro Sato endorsed the decision today, saying Charlotte is a very cute name.

Charlotte came top in a public vote, receiving 59 out of 853 votes.

Votes for Charlotte surged after the British princess was named on Monday and it topped the ballot in the last three days of voting, which ran from March 27 to May 6.

The complaints originated in Japan. Zoo official Akira Asano said he was not aware of any complaints from British citizens.

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Every vote counts

ENGLAND: A returning Conservative MP giggled like a schoolboy after one disgruntled voter drew a penis next to his name on the ballot slip — only for the vote to count for the Tory.

Glyn Davies, 71, easily held on to the Montgomeryshire constituency in Mid Wales after being chosen by 45% of the voters. The former assembly member, who has successfully battled colon cancer, wrote on his Facebook page: “Amazingly, because it was neatly drawn within the confines of the box, the returning officer deemed it a valid vote. I’m not sure the artist meant it to count, but I am grateful. If I knew who it was, I would like to thank him or her personally.”

Leaping lizards 

SCOTLAND: An animal welfare charity is caring for a bearded dragon which was found on a bus.

A passenger found the reptile inside a plastic pet carrier in a large carrier bag on a bus from Edinburgh to nearby Ratho. It is not known if he had been abandoned or simply forgotten.

He is now being cared for at the Scottish SPCA’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, where staff have named him Blakey after the character from On The Buses. Animal rescue officer Fiona Thorburn said Blakey was “in good condition and is now receiving the care he needs”.

Animal baby boom

ENGLAND: A baby boom is under way in the animal kingdom as wildlife centres across the country take in more admissions each day, the RSPCA said.

They include young rabbits, fox cubs, ducklings, and fledgling blackbirds. Bel Deering, manager at RSPCA Mallydams Wood in Hastings, East Sussex, said: “All these animals that have come in are all too young to survive in the wild.

“We can make sure they are getting enough feeds and are building up enough strength so we can release them back into the wild when they are old enough.”

Granola puzzle

USA: Police in Texas are investigating how a packet of cocaine ended up inside a wrapped granola bar.

Cynthia Rodriguez, of San Antonio, said she was eating the Nature Valley bar when a small green bag emblazoned with dollar signs fell out. Thinking she had won a Willy Wonka-style prize, she contacted manufacturer General Mills, but the company told her to call police.

General Mills said it was confident the cocaine was not packaged with the bar at a company factory.

An investigation is under way, police said.

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