AM Prep-Kickers

You’re going to need a bigger bowl: Highway bandits in Mexico make off with 40 tons of avocados

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Highway bandits in Mexico made off with more than 40 tons of avocados. Federal prosecutors said Friday the avocados were stolen in two separate robberies in the western state of Michoacan, Mexico’s main producer of the fruit. In both cases, armed men stopped freight trucks carrying about 20 tons each, and stole the shipments. Avocados are usually shipped in crates, which would make transferring the load easier and quicker. Avocado growers have long been targeted by drug cartel extortion demands in Michoacan, and thefts of fruit on the trees in avocado orchards are not unknown. But hijackings of entire shipments are rare.

Hundreds in Peru mark Clown Day in hopes of getting the holiday official recognition

LIMA, Peru (AP) - Hundreds of clowns have gathered in the streets of Peru’s capital to mark Clown Day, a holiday for which they have sought for years to gain official recognition. Saturday’s colorful parade in Lima included awards for the best costumes, makeup, routine and improvisation. Marcos Chininín performs as the clown “Chalupa.” He says the country already has holidays celebrating lawyers and ceviche, and it should also have one highlighting clowns. He says the official recognition would give them access to government funds and performance spaces overseen by municipalities and local communities. Members of Parliament have not yet discussed a proposed bill to create the holiday.

Paris’ traffic-clogged Champs-Elysees turned into a mass picnic blanket for an unusual meal

The French capital’s most famous street has been transformed into a massive picnic blanket. Around 4,000 people sat in the sun on Sunday, enjoying an al fresco meal on the Champs-Elysees Avenue. The lucky picnickers were selected in a draw and provided with free baskets with delicacies from some of the top chefs in Paris. A tablecloth ran around 216 yards from the Arc de Triomphe along the avenue and served as the sitting area for the event. The event comes exactly two months before Paris hosts the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

Rare blue-eyed cicada spotted during 2024 emergence at suburban Chicago arboretum

LISLE, Ill. (AP) - A rare, blue-eyed female cicada was spotted Friday at The Morton Arboretum in suburban Chicago. A lucky few saw it before it was released back into the world to join its red-eyed relatives. The collections manager of the Department of Entomology at the Smithsonian Institute says the blue-eyed cicada is rare, “but it is impossible to estimate how rare.” Periodical cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years. The 17-year brood is starting to appear in spots in northern Illinois. Both broods will converge in the southern part of the state.

Thai town maddened by marauding monkeys launches plan to lock them up and send them away

LOPBURI, Thailand (AP) - A Thai town, run ragged by its ever-growing population of marauding wild monkeys, has launched an offensive against the simian raiders, using trickery and ripe tropical fruit. Several high-profile cases of monkey-human conflict recently convinced authorities in Lopburi in central Thailand that they had to reduce the animals’ numbers. The authorities baited cages with the animals’ favorite food, then waited for hunger to get the better of their natural caution. More than 30 fell for the ruse on Friday morning. If all goes well, most will end up behind bars, before starting a new life elsewhere. The roaming monkeys have long been a symbol of the town and are a major tourist draw. But they’ve become increasingly aggressive.

3 falcon chicks hatch atop the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) - Three peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in a nest built at the top of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels announced Friday that the chicks had hatched. The agency set up a nesting box atop a 693-foot-tall tower on the bridge that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Officials check on the nest each year around the end of May to put identifying bands on the falcon chicks. The bands help them keep track of how many peregrines are in the city and to identify them if they get sick. A statement says the chicks are about three weeks old.

The Associated Press