Pass the Cocoa Butter, Eh

Canada could soon have tropical weather, sunny beaches and palm trees.

Peter Goldring (search), a Conservative member of Parliament, is resurrecting an old idea — that the Turks and Caicos Islands (search) join the land of the Mountie, ice hockey and Bob and Doug McKenzie.

"I'd like it to be the 11th province," Goldring told the Canadian Press wire service. "It would be a Canadian province at the gateway to the Caribbean."

The islands are a British overseas territory at the southeastern end of the Bahamas chain, just north of Haiti in the Atlantic Ocean, with a population of about 20,000.

Turks and Caicos Deputy Director of Tourism Ralph Higgs liked the idea.

"We will talk and come up with something that is beneficial to both parties," Higgs said. "It will be, in the final analysis, for the leaders of our countries to decide the best form for that relationship, whether it's provincial status, free association or overseas territory."

The Turks and Caicos first proposed joining Canada about 20 years ago, after independence from Britain was put on hold, but the idea was quashed by fears the move would be too expensive and could lead to racial tension between black islanders and white Canadians.

Goldring, who has enlisted the support of prominent businessmen and politicians, dismissed those concerns.

"The world is very much different now," he told the Canadian Press. "There's a lot of disappointment Canada didn't see the light 20 years ago. We want to do it right this time."

American Forced to Watch Sex Videos in China

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese veterinarians have begun showing American-born panda Hua Mei sex-education videos featuring pandas mating to prepare her for "blind dates" with Chinese suitors, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

The 4-year-old animal, whose name means "China-America," arrived in China from San Diego in February. After her month of quarantine is complete, officials are hoping she will quickly mate with a panda at her new home, the Wolong Giant Panda Protection Research Center (search) in southwestern China.

"We hope she can get pregnant by the end of March," said Wei Rongping, assistant director of the research center. "But first of all, she should have some sexual education."

Because Hua Mei has been in captivity since she was born, she has little knowledge of sex, so officials have shown her videos of mating pandas and brought her to see other pandas mating.

Similar sex-education courses given to other pandas in the center had resulted in natural matings.

Hua Mei has been assigned four prospective mates.

"I do not know which of them will be lucky enough to mate our princess," Wei said. "It's all up to Hua Mei to find her own 'Mr. Right.'"

— Thanks to Out There reader Don W.

Woman Flips Off Sheriff, Ends Up in Jail

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A woman made an obscene gesture toward an SUV Monday — one carrying the county sheriff and chief deputy — and ended up in jail, police said.

Mary Ann Sweeney, 33, of Evansville was stopped behind a bus.

She pulled to the left to get around the bus at the same moment a Ford Explorer started to pass. The SUV braked to let her in, police said.

Sweeney then "flipped off" the Explorer's driver, Vanderburgh County Chief Deputy Eric Williams, he said. The passenger was Sheriff Brad Ellsworth.

The Explorer was marked as a sheriff's vehicle, but did not have a light bar on top, police said.

Ellsworth and Williams pulled Sweeney over to talk to her about her "road rage" and ran a check on her license plate.

They found that both she and her husband, Jerry DeWayne Sweeney, were wanted on outstanding civil warrants for $500 each, and that the car was illegally registered, police said.

Ellsworth said they found marijuana in the car and in the woman's purse and cigarette pack. Mary Ann Sweeney also was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The couple was taken to the Vanderburgh County Jail and later bonded out.

"I guess the moral of the story is, if you have warrants against you, you shouldn't flip off the police," Ellsworth said.

Quadruple the Fun

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston woman gave birth Monday to two sets of identical twins — something the couple said their doctor told them is only likely to happen in about 1 in 11 million pregnancies.

Sheryl McGowen gave birth by Caesarean section at the Woman's Hospital of Texas Monday to Jacob, Jacoby, Jason and Justin. The twins weighed from 2 pounds, 5 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces.

McGowen, 35, had been taking fertility drugs. Two eggs were implanted in her and both split, according to the Houston Chronicle's Tuesday editions.

Between 30 and 40 percent of in-vitro births are multiples, said Dr. John Buster, director of the reproductive endocrinology and infertility division at Baylor College of Medicine.

The McGowen babies were born during their mother's 30th week of pregnancy.

"I feel proud, happy and even a little scared," said husband Jeffery McGowen. "I really can't put it into words."

Julia Roberts Is Old Lady With Crack

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — A 96-year-old woman facing drug charges said she does not know how the crack cocaine deputies found on her got into her wheelchair.

Julia Roberts was charged with possession of crack with intent to sell and deliver, and with possessing a crack pipe, sheriff's officials said. She was freed pending a hearing March 30.

"I've never seen [the drugs] in my life," she told The Charlotte Observer for a Saturday story. "I don't know how they could get there."

A search warrant for the arrest said it's the third time Cleveland County deputies have seized crack at the mobile home Roberts shared with her son.

Harold Roberts, 61, was charged with possession of stolen goods. Harold Roberts' brother, James Roberts, 58, who lived nearby, was charged with possession of moonshine. A neighbor, Donald Eugene Bridges, 56, was charged with possession of stolen property.

Cleveland County Sheriff's Office Capt. Bobby Steen said Roberts and the three men traded crack for stolen property, mostly jewelry and guns.

The affidavit said an informant told deputies that Julia Roberts hid crack in her prosthetic leg during a previous search.

Fries, Shake and the Great American Songbook

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — At a local Wendy's restaurant, customers can request a Frank Sinatra tune to go along with their burgers and fries.

"My motto is if I know it, I will play it," said 52-year-old Joe Cervenka, a pianist who plays during the lunch period every weekday at the Wendy's on South Locust Street in Grand Island.

Cervenka began playing at Wendy's in February 2002.

For $9 an hour, Cervenka plays songs by Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and other artists on his portable piano.

"It supposed to be portable," said Cervenka, who suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with crutches. "For me it's not."

He said he likes the hours because they allow him to spend evenings with his wife and three children.

Before his current gig, Cervenka worked for various human services organizations, but the disease eventually forced him out of that work. The majority of his current income comes from disability.

But the disease has not kept his fingers from playing the ivories. He said that's good news because his musical ability is primarily in his hands.

"I'm no singer," he said.

Cervenka said he feels like he accomplishes more in his two hours at Wendy's than he did in eight hours of work in other places.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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