Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 12:03 pm
The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.
So, the news got weird in 2013. Here's a roundup of off-beat stories from United Press International: Germany dropped the longest word in its language, all 63 letters. Maker's Mark had plans to lower the alcohol content in its whiskey. Angry customers talked them out of it. A Canadian dentist bought John Lennon's tooth at auction, hoping to use it to clone the Beatle. And Denny's opened a wedding chapel in Vegas. The wedding package comes with a cake made with pancake mix.
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Here's one of the many ways that Congress is like high school. Lawmakers tend to do some late night cramming as if for a test and then head home for the holidays. This December, Congress passed a budget and left town. President Obama and his family are vacationing in Hawaii. So let's talk about the shape they left the country in and what they might do in the new year.
There have been more political developments in Russia. A jailed member of the protest band Pussy Riot was freed from prison on Monday. Another band member is expected to be released soon. Over the weekend, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was freed from prison.