Quick Takes: Country confusion | WORLD
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Quick Takes: Country confusion

Swedish tourism agency launches marketing campaign to tackle problem of mistaken identity

Illustration by Shaw Nielsen

Quick Takes: Country confusion
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They may start with the same letters, but Sweden and Switzerland are worlds apart. That’s the message from Visit Sweden, whose officials say that tourists too often mix up the two countries. To clear up the confusion, officials with the marketing firm representing Sweden’s tourism industry published a video Oct. 24 highlighting the differences between the two countries. Switzerland is for banks, mountain vistas, and yodeling, according to the video, while Sweden should be known for rooftop gatherings, the Northern Lights, and serenity. The video comes a year after U.S. President Joe Biden confused the two countries at a NATO summit. Regular tourists aren’t much better: According to a study conducted by Visit Sweden, half of American respondents weren’t sure about the differences between the two countries.

That ear-ie feeling

A small spider was just looking for a nice, quiet place to molt. It found one—inside a woman’s ear canal. The New England Journal of Medicine details the experience of a 64-year-old woman who sought medical attention from an ear specialist near her home in Taiwan after four days of hearing strange sounds deep inside her ear. Upon inspection, the doctor discovered a small jumping spider near the woman’s eardrum and a discarded exoskeleton. The doctor removed both with suction.

Very limited release

Blame it all on his roots—Garth Brooks’ next country music album will be available exclusively at Bass Pro Shops. That means Brooks fans will have to drive to one of the more than 170 Bass Pro or associated Cabela’s locations to get their hands on the box set with his newest studio album, Time Traveler, the singer announced on Oct. 25. That’s bad news for Brooks fans in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Hawaii—all states without a current Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s location, according to the company’s website. But all is not lost: Fans can still order the album from the retailer’s online store.

Smells like crime

A dog out for a walk sniffed its way into a police investigation Oct. 26. Police in Arlington, Wash., were searching for a burglary suspect when they got a tip from a dog walker. According to the caller, while walking near the burgled home, the dog began barking at a yard with a mass concealed by a tarp. Knowing the dog typically only barked at humans, the dog walker called in the tip to 911. Minutes later, ­officers peeled back the tarp, found the 36-year-old suspect, and arrested him.

Put the kids on the tab

A Georgia restaurant’s novel attempt to nudge its patrons into better behavior isn’t going over so well. The owner of Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in Blue Ridge, Ga., printed menus during the pandemic that included a notice to patrons with unruly children would receive a $50 surcharge. He told WANF he added the fee for adults who “don’t know how to parent.” Although the owner says he’s never charged the fee, reviewers on sites like Yelp and Google Reviews are complaining anyway. After news of the policy broke in October, the business garnered enough bad reviews to tank its Yelp rating.

Can’t stop the music

The sleepless residents of one New Zealand city wonder how long their hearts can go on. Plagued by local youths blasting the hits of Celine Dion late into the night, many in the city of Porirua (population 60,000) have asked government and local media for help. According to local reports, the sound pollution stems from contests known as “siren battles” wherein young “contestants” blare Dion tracks through large siren speakers mounted atop cars and even bicycles to see which system can project Dion’s high notes the loudest. But why the 1990s Canadian diva? Mayor Anita Baker told AFP, “They like anyone with a high pitch and great tone.”

Parasitic relationship

After years of trying to cajole her two adult sons to move out of the house, an Italian pensioner has turned to the courts to help evict her children. The 75-year-old woman won a ruling from a court Oct. 24 near her Pavia, Italy, home directing the 42- and 40-year-old sons to leave her house by December. According to court records, the woman—who called her sons “parasites”—complained that neither of them did household chores or helped pay bills, even though they are employed. A lawyer for the sons fought the eviction, arguing Italian law required parents to support children as long as necessary—a claim the court dismissed.


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