Russia. The Russian military is looking to recruit a new brigade of five bottlenose dolphins for military duty — three male and two female. The Ministry of Defense specified the preferred size of the animals in an official document posted to its website March 9. The dolphins should also have unscratched teeth, a breathing rate between two to four breaths per minute and “should display motor activity.” The Russian military is soliciting dolphins from whomever has or can catch them, and is willing to pay 350,000 rubles — about $5,000 — for each of them. In the past, dolphins have proven to be highly trainable and helpful in detecting sea mines.
Japan. Japanese dog owners have developed a fast-growing trend in which they groom their dogs’ hair into perfect cubes. The style, presented at the Tokyo Dog Festival in 2012, has only recently been popularized as images of the dogs spread online. Pet owners are constantly searching for “more impressive haircuts,” Tain Yeh, a hairdresser for dogs, said. The appeal of the trend is in shaping the canine’s head like “a hedge,” he added. This geometrically satisfying and aesthetically minimalistic trend has not caught on in America.
Switzerland. A rent-a-guinea pig service, IG Meerschweinchen, has become popular in Switzerland after the government’s establishment of strict animal welfare rules — owners can no longer only own one guinea pig at a time because the animals are highly social and need companionship. “Because they hardly ever die at the same time, even if they are exactly the same age, people who don’t want a new guinea pig and lose one of their two animals need an interim solution,” Priska Küng, animal lover and owner of the agency, explained. Currently, she owns about 80 guinea pigs.
Mexico. Mexican citizens’ dissatisfaction with United States’ Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is currently being reflected by a high increase in piñatas resembling the politician. Avalos Ramirez, who owns a piñata workshop in the city of Reynosa, said he created one Trump likeness to express his anger toward the politician’s anti-Mexican rhetoric. Soon after, he received 80 orders for more Trump piñatas, which has caught on at other piñata stores as consumers are eager to pummel candy-filled Trump imitations at birthday parties. Ramirez said he has even received some requests from American customers living near the U.S. border in Texas.
Los Angeles Times