Notes and shorts from around the world


Worker shareholders
The founders of the adventure company Go Ape have handed the business over to their 1,000 staff, in what they called an “experiment in social capitalism”. Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew, who set up Go Ape 19 years ago, said they had never liked the idea of selling it to private equity. Instead, in return for an undisclosed sum, they have transferred 90% of their shares to a trust structured like the retail worker co-operative John Lewis, which is expected to pay each employee about $5,930 a year. “Go Ape has always felt like part of our family,” said Rebecca.
Lobster wars
The Chinese government was at pains recently to halt a foreign intrusion from Hong Kong: Australian rock lobsters. These are a prized delicacy in China but, as part of its diplomatic stand off with Australia, Beijing has partially banned them, but there are no such restrictions in Hong Kong, where imports of the lobsters have surged 20 fold, most destined to be smuggled to the mainland. Hong Kong’s customs chief has vowed to stifle this new threat to “China’s national security”. Thirteen smugglers have already been arrested.
Computer knitwit
Builder David Knight was bemused when he got a fine for driving down a bus lane in Bath in the UK. He lives 192km away in Surrey, and had not been near the city. So he and his wife took a closer look at the photographic evidence, and realised that computers had mistaken a woman wearing a shirt bearing the word KNITTER for his van, which has the number plate KN19 TER. The council has waived the fine.
Salvini on trial
Italy’s former interior minister Matteo Salvini has gone on trial in Sicily, accused of kidnap and dereliction of duty for preventing a rescue boat from docking in August 2019 and leaving 147 migrants stranded at sea. At the time, his order to blockade the ship caused an outcry and a major split in the coalition government. The then prime minister Giuseppe Conte said Salvini, a member of the anti-immigrant Lega party, was obsessed with keeping out migrants. Trial witnesses will include Conte, other ministers, and the actor Richard Gere, who had boarded the ship to show solidarity with the migrants.
Statistics watch
There are now 1,490 branches of McDonald’s in France, more than in any other European country.
Bons mots
“Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticise them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” – Jack Handey, humourist, scriptwriter and author, USA


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