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Storm troopers, killer algae, the return of the wolf and some other tasty morsels

This week’s news and general going’s on may have been overshadowed by Hackgate, the US financial crisis, and Libyans leaving London, but, here’s a few stories that caught our eye:


Joe Pesci, Oscar-winning actor famous for his roles in Goodfella’s, Home Alone etc., is suing Gotti film makers Fiore Films, after gaining 30lbs for a role as a gangster lead, and for $3million, only to be given another role, with a smaller fee of $1million, and a small to no reason for gaining weight.


Designer Andrew Ainsworth, the man behind the Storm Trooper of Star Wars fame, has been selling replicas of the classic sci-fi chic, much to the chagrin of Master George (Lucas) and Lucasfilm, who claim he doesn’t own the intellectual property, and so couldn’t sell the galactic armour. However, thanks to the UK’s Supreme Court, the design is now in the public domain, and Mr. Ainsworth won the case. The courts, and, indeed, an incredible mark up price, is strong with the little man.


The remains of over 30 wild Boars have been turning up on the Brittany coastline, just as the French holiday season gets underway, raising fears that toxic algae may be the cause, prompting mass clean ups. As if to make things worse, it appears that local farmers may be to blame, as high concentrations of nitrates have been found, implicating farming fertilizers. When the algae is washed ashore, and dries, it becomes dangerous,  if disturbed, say by feeding boar, or walking human, by the realise of gases. It is reported that fours years ago, similar events felled a horse rider and his mount, though without fatal results.


The numbers of wild wolves is increasing across Europe, prompting calls for culls to check the increase. Maintaining the historic threat of the canine to livestock, the French government authorised the hunting and killing of a single wolf, after it drove 62 ewes into a ravine, killing them. Wolf predation in Britain ended in the 18th century, and, save for the peculiar ideas of a Dutch landowner in Scotland, looks unlikely to return to these shores.


US government wildlife biologist Charles Monnett, noted for his research into the effects of climate change on Arctic ice levels, and the results on polar bear population, has been suspended from his role for possible ‘scientific misconduct’. It’s claimed that the US government is thinking of opening up areas for drilling,  and potential contractors have been less than happy about environmental research delays. A petition has begun, Monnett remains under a gagging instruction, and government officials maintain that Monnett’s research and ‘inconvenient truths’ (ie. polar bear cubs dying from exhaustion swimming from melting ice floats  amongst a few) are not the reason for his suspension.