The Odd Side – November 29, 2016

Nation of Iceland Wages Name Battle With U.K. Grocer Iceland

LONDON (AP) – The island nation of Iceland said Thursday it is taking legal action against British frozen-food chain Iceland over the right to use their shared name.

Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has challenged Iceland Foods at the European Union Intellectual Property Office. It says it is acting because the retail chain “aggressively pursued” Icelandic companies using the word Iceland in their branding.

Iceland Foods holds a Europe-wide trademark registration for the word “Iceland,” and the Nordic country’s government said it was “exceptionally broad and ambiguous in definition.”

The retailer, which has operated supermarkets across Britain for 46 years, said it would fight the claim.

“We hope that the government will contact us directly so that we may address their concerns,” the company said.

The two Icelands once had a close relationship. Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur Group held a major stake in the grocer until Baugur’s collapse in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis that devastated Iceland’s economy.

Argentine Attorney Seeks Relief for His Pachyderm Plaintiffs

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Attorney Andres Gil Dominguez may have had bigger cases, but he’s never had bigger clients. A city prosecutor’s office has authorized Dominguez to represent three elephants in captivity at a former zoo in Argentina’s capital. He’s demanding that Mara, Kuki and Pupi be transferred to a reserve abroad where they can have a better quality of life.

The 140-year-old zoo where Sandra and the elephants have lived for most of their lives closed its doors this year and authorities announced that hundreds of its animals would be set free as it transformed into a park. But officials there argue the three elephants would not survive if set free into the wild.

“These are animals that were born or have lived most of their life in captivity,” said Rosario Espina, director of biodiversity at the Buenos Aires eco-park.

“What we can do is improve their well-being in their infrastructure and handling. But they can’t be set free, because they’d die.”

Many of the former zoo’s enclosures are considered inhumane by modern-day standards.

Mara hails from Asia and was rescued from a local circus. Espina said experts have recommended against the transfer of the 52-year-old elephant because its advanced age could pose a health risk. Kuki and Pupi come from Africa and now are in their 30s and have more possibilities of being transferred to a sanctuary abroad.

But their transfer will depend on finding the right conditions, carrying out health exams and obtaining sanitary permits in a process that could take up to two years, Espina said.

The eco-park managed by the city of Buenos Aires plans to improve the enclosure where the elephants live.

E-cigarette Explodes in Man’s Pocket at NYC’s Grand Central

NEW YORK (AP) – Officials say a man shopping in New York’s Grand Central Terminal suffered leg and hand burns when an e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket.

Central Cellars employee John Lee says it looked like fireworks exploding when the vaporizer pen suddenly blew up in the man’s pants Wednesday morning.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan says the man was taken by a private ambulance service to a hospital. He says the injuries appeared minor.

Donovan says train service at the transit hub wasn’t affected.

Electronic cigarettes and other battery-operated electronic smoking devices occasionally do catch fire.

Last year, the federal Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting passengers from packing e-cigarettes in checked luggage to protect against in-flight fires.