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Jul 22, 2011, 8:15 a.m.

Symbol in Syriac may be world's first question mark

LONDON (Reuters) - What could be the world's earliest example of a question mark has been identified in Classical Syriac manuscripts dating from the 5th Century. The symbol, a double dot resembling the modern colon, is known as the "zagwa elaya," or "upper pair." Its function as a question mark was pinned down by Chip Coakley, a manuscript specialist at Cambridge University.

Fake Apple Store even fools staff

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese counterfeiters have had a field-day pumping out knockoffs of Apple Inc's best-selling iPhones and iPads but one appears to have gone a step further -- a near flawless fake Apple Store that even employees believe is the real deal. The store in Kunming was stumbled upon by a 27-year-old American blogger living in the city, the capital of China's mountainous southwestern Yunnan province.

Hotel snore controls aim to banish sleepless nights

LONDON (Reuters) - Guests at an international hotel chain may sleep more soundly after the introduction of "snore patrols" and "snore absorption rooms" at a number of sites worldwide. Crowne Plaza is trialing the first "snore absorption" rooms at 10 hotels in Europe and the Middle East, whilst six branches in Britain have implemented "snore patrols" this month in a bid to combat noisy sleepers.

Smackdown? Humble Pie? Not in Murdoch's NY Post

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Now it's Rupert Murdoch's New York tabloid that has pie in the face. The New York Post, which usually reports the humiliation of the powerful with gleefully pun-filled headlines and outlandish photo montages, whiffed on the chance to make a splash with the News Corp chairman's testimony on Tuesday before the British parliament.

Dog bites shark and goes viral

SYDNEY (Reuters) - It's got a big yellow dog, sharks, a dead dugong, attracted millions of viewers on YouTube and you couldn't make it up. Video footage of a dog attacking a shark under water on the Australian coast has "gone viral," becoming a top Internet hit.

Curiosity seekers in U.S. pay to spend night in jail

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - The cheapest room and board in Jefferson City, Missouri, over the weekend was at the county jail, and 170 people gladly checked in. Cole County charged $30 a night for anyone who volunteered to go behind bars on Friday or Saturday night so officials could give the new jail a test run before it opened for real this week.

Men who buy sex commit more crimes, U.S. study finds

BOSTON (Reuters) - Men who pay for sex are more likely than men who do not pay for sex to commit a variety of offenses including violent crimes against women, according to research conducted in the Boston area. The study, released this week, was based on interviews with 202 men conducted by the nonprofit group Prostitution Research and Education and was led by Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and anti-prostitution activist.

Fatter and fewer German nudists as numbers dwindle

BERLIN (Reuters) - The naked sunbathers who once crowded Germany's Baltic beaches and city parks are becoming an endangered species due to shifting demographics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, growing prosperity and widening girths. Much to the chagrin of Free Body Culture (FKK) enthusiasts who have been stripping off their clothing on beaches and parks since the early 1900s, a cold wind has been blowing across Germany for nudists and their numbers are steadily dwindling.

Man survives in trunk after car plunges into river

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A Washington state man was listed in satisfactory condition on Monday and was "incredibly lucky to be alive" after his car flipped into a river near the Idaho-Washington border, authorities said. Ned Florea, 20, squeezed through the rear seats and into the trunk of his two-door Hyundai Tiburon as chill, fast-flowing waters engulfed all but 6 inches of head room, creating a life-saving air pocket, Idaho State Trooper Leslie Lehman said.

Live mannequins in Milan shop window anger union

MILAN (Reuters) - Models appearing in shorts and bikinis in the window of a department store in central Milan caused a stir over the weekend, with Italy's trade unions denouncing the merchandisation of the human body. The male and female models first appeared last week in the windows of the Coin department store to promote the summer sale on bathing costumes, prompting Italy's Filcams CGIL trade union to criticize work deemed degrading.

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