WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Winnipeg police have a favor to ask of anyone looking to get rid of a live hand grenade -- don't drop it off at the front desk.
Part of police headquarters was evacuated Monday when Melvin McDonald, 79, showed up the front desk with a World War II grenade he had kept for years as a souvenir. The war veteran said he wanted to get rid of it.
"His opening line was, 'I got a grenade,'" Constable Gerry Bernas said. "I knew he wasn't kidding."
The bomb squad and fire department were called and most of the main floor of the Public Safety Building was evacuated.
McDonald apologized after the bomb squad took the grenade away.
Police asked people with grenades or other explosive to let police come and take the explosives away, rather than dropping them off.
"Please don't drop it off on our front counter," Police Constable Bob Johnson said.
Disney's cartoon rodent speaks out on the Eldred decision.
One reason Disney put its weight behind the 1998 legislation was to keep Mickey and the gang on the plantation; Eldred's backers subsequently adopted Free the Mouse as an unofficial slogan. Mickey's own reaction to the decision was less enthusiastic. Telling his keepers that he was going on an "ice run for the boss," the mouse made his way to a dive bar a few miles outside Disneyland, where he gave reason an exclusive interview.
I pretty much only read science fiction, because I'm intellectual like that.
[...] Emile Frison, head of the Montpellier-based International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain, told New Scientist magazine that the banana business could be defunct within a decade. [...] Almost all the varieties of banana grown today are cuttings - clones, in effect - of naturally mutant wild bananas discovered by early farmers as much as 10,000 years ago. The rare mutation caused wild bananas to grow sterile, without seeds. Those ancient farmers took cuttings of the mutants, then cuttings of the cuttings. [...]
One ray of hope comes from Honduran scientists, who peeled and sieved 400 tonnes of bananas to find 15 seeds for breeding. They have come up with a fungus-resistant variety which could be grown organically. If bananas don't disappear from supermarket shelves by 2013, they will look, and taste, different.
The banana is to be the first edible fruit to have its genetic code unravelled, a global consortium has announced. [...] The sequence could be of great value to breeders and scientists, who have struggled to overcome the banana's weird characteristics. For example, the classic Cavendish variety exported to Western countries - which is thought to have originated as a natural hybrid thousands of years ago - has three sets of chromosomes instead of two and so cannot reproduce sexually. "Half the world's edible bananas, including the Cavendish, are entirely sterile, and you can't breed them at all," says Frison.
This is why, instead of sequencing one of the edible varieties, the consortium will sequence a wild banana from east Asia. This should contain useful genes that could be added to edible varieties. For instance, a gene that protects against the black Sigatoka fungus, which ravages plantations, would be priceless.
But because interbreeding is impossible, genetic modification is the only way to insert such genes into most commercial varieties. "This is one of the few crops where you could say there's a strong justification for using GM," Frison says.