LAW CHANGE KILLS GERMANY'S LONGEST WORD: BERLIN (AP) — A tweak to state laws in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to conform with current EU regulations has caused an unexpected casualty: the longest word in the German language.
The Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz is no more.
The "law delegating beef label monitoring" was introduced by the state in 1999 as part of measures against mad cow disease. But the dpa news agency reported Monday the law was removed from the books last week because European Union regulations have changed.
German still has words like the very robust Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe to fall back on — meaning "widow of a Danube steamboat company captain."
Dpa reports such words have been so rarely used, however, that they're not in the dictionary. There the longest word honor falls to Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung: automobile liability insurance.
CAT DETAINED ON ILLEGAL MISSION AT RUSSIAN PRISON: MOSCOW (AP) — Inmates at Russia's prisons have been known to bribe guards to obtain cellphones, but this may be the first time they have used a cat as an accomplice.
Guards patrolling a prison colony in Russia's north saw a cat on the fence and it seemed to be carrying something. On a closer look, they found a few cellphones and chargers taped to the cat's belly.
The federal prison service said Monday that this happened on Friday at the Penal Colony No. 1 near the city of Syktyvkar in the Komi province, 1,000 kilometers (some 600 miles) northeast of Moscow.
It wasn't clear how the cat was supposed to drop off its loot.