If you'll be in northern Mexico anytime over the next three months, you may be asked to help set a new world record. In what category? Answer: assembling history's largest jigsaw puzzle. One million pieces, consisting of local scenes are to be fitted together across a dry creek bed in the state of Durango as a tourism promotion. The completed puzzle is planned to measure 430,000 square feet - or the size of 7-1/2 football fields.
News flash: Koalas in Australia are to be subjected to forced birth-control. Well, a small percentage of them, anyway. It seems 3,000 or so of the cuddly-looking critters in Mount Eccles National Park in the state of Victoria will be treated over the next two years with the hormones used in oral contraceptives because the staple of the koala diet, the foliage of the manna gum tree, is nearing depletion. A female can bear up to 11 offspring over her lifetime. And since they're a protected species, the park's koala population is exploding. In all, Australia has about 100,000 koalas, experts estimate.
Look out, New York: Here comes Gilbert, Ariz.! According to a recent Census Bureau report, the Phoenix suburb is the fastest-growing city in the US, with a population that expanded by 22.8 percent between 2000 and 2002 - to 135,000 residents. The Big Apple is still the biggest - with 8.1 million - but that's an increase of only 0.9 percent. The 10 cities (populations above 100,000) that grew the most, by percentage:
1. Gilbert, Ariz. 22.8%
2. North Las Vegas, Nevada 17.7%
3. Henderson, Nev. 17.3%
4. Chandler, Ariz. 14.4%
5. Peoria, Ariz. 13.4%
6. Irvine, Calif. 13.3%
7. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 12.5%
8. Chula Vista, Calif. 11.7%
9. Fontana, Calif. 11.4% (tie) Joliet, Ill. - Associated Press