Iran. A judge from Tehran reached a conclusion on the sentencing of six Iranians, three men and three women, who filmed a video dancing to Pharell Williams’ song “Happy” this past summer. The judge ruled that they violated two of the country’s Islamic laws: dancing with members of the opposite sex and, for the women, being seen without a headscarf. On Friday, the judge sentenced five of them to six months in prison and the other to one year. Their lawyer, Farshid Rofugaran, stated that the judge added 91 lashes, but the sentences would be delayed to three years from now. If they commit the same offenses again before that, they will be sent to jail immediately.
China. In an attempt to reduce smartphone-related accidents, the Chinese Municipality of Chongqing has established a new lane for pedestrians that walk while using their mobile devices. “There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” marketing official Nong Cheng said of the decision to create a new lane. The two pedestrian lanes have designated signs painted on the street to instruct people on where to go if they want to multitask. Cheng said that, so far, those using their cellphones have not used the designated lanes. “They don’t notice them,” he said.
France. Deputies in Paris decided on Friday to begin removing padlocks from the Pont de Arts bridge. The bridge gained popularity in 2008 and has attracted romantics from around the world to “lock in their love” on the railings. Couples would write their names or initials on the locks and then secure them onto the bridge. Official city estimates reveal that about 700,000 padlocks have been placed on not only the Pont des Arts, but also the Pont de l’Archevêché bridge and the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir bridge. This amounts to about 500 kilograms of added weight per bridge. The city’s plan is to remove the heavy padlocks and replace each railing with thick glass to prevent people from attaching more locks.
New York Times
French Guiana. Mathematics teacher Sebastien Bascoules caught a 17-foot long anaconda after the snake ate his friend’s dog. Bascoules, 39, waded into a shallow river and wrestled the large snake a few hours after it took the dog, Minus, from the edge of the riverbank. He dragged the 175-pound snake out of the river and onto land after blindfolding it with a t-shirt. Bascoules asked a friend to help him capture the snake, which was rather calm from digesting the recently-swallowed dog. The anaconda spent the night in a bathtub at Bascoules’ home. His three young children took photos with it before he released it six miles up the river the next day.