Critters Big rat, little possum Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat and a tiny possum that are apparently...

Critters

Big rat, little possum

Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat and a tiny possum that are apparently new to science, scientists said Monday. The animals were found in a rain forest of the Foja mountains in eastern Papua province in a June expedition, said U.S.-based Conservation International, which organized the trip along with the Indonesian Institute of Science. A 2006 expedition to the same stretch of jungle — dubbed by Conservation International as a “Lost World” because until then humans had rarely visited it — unearthed scores of exotic new species of palms and butterflies.

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Fiddy does Kosovo

Thousands turned out in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, on Monday to see 50 Cent perform in the territory known more for its political woes than party tunes. The rap artist arrived for a 10-hour visit that included a concert in a soccer stadium promoting his latest album, “Curtis,” and launching Kosovo’s second phone operator. The crowds chanted along to the songs in a performance marked by fireworks. The volatile province has been run by the United Nations since the end of the war in 1999.

Another royal baby

Britain’s royal family welcomed the birth of its newest member Monday, the son of Prince Edward and his 42-year-old wife, Sophie, Buckingham Palace announced. The baby is the eighth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip. The baby, yet unnamed, weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was delivered by Caesarean section. The couple’s daughter, Lady Louise, was born in November 2003. The baby is expected to have the title Viscount Severn.

Princess Diana inquest

Princess Diana denied any intention of marrying Dodi Fayed in a conversation just a few days before the couple died, a friend testified at a British inquest on Monday. Lady Annabel Goldsmith testified that Diana had remarked that she needed another marriage “like a rash on my face.” Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, says Diana and his son were on the brink of announcing their engagement when they died in a Paris crash in 1997.

Wedding bells

Legendary film producer Harvey Weinstein, 55, wed British designer Georgina Chapman, 31, Saturday at his estate in Connecticut, just a month after he proposed to her, says People.com.

Passages

Marvin “Sweet Louie” Smith, one half of the R&B duo the Checkmates, died Saturday of a heart attack aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, where he was to perform. He was 68.

Today in History

1865: The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect.

1940: Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)

1969: Britain’s Parliament permanently abolished the death penalty for murder.

1987: Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a major Wall Street insider-trading scandal. (Boesky served about two years of his sentence).

Today’s Birthdays

Rock singer-musician Keith Richards, 64. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg, 61. Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin, 57. Actor Ray Liotta, 52. Actor Brad Pitt, 44. Country singer Tracy Byrd, 41. Actress Rachel Griffiths, 39. Singer Alejandro Sanz, 39. Country/rap singer Cowboy Troy, 37. Rapper DMX, 37. Actress Katie Holmes, 29. Singer Christina Aguilera, 27.

P.S.

Motorists may be in for a surprise if they spot flashing red lights in their rearview mirrors in Rancho Cordova, Calif., during the holiday season. Police are stopping law-abiding motorists and rewarding their good driving with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

A traffic officer came up with the idea; local businesses donated money to buy the cards.

“They raised a substantial amount of money,” Sgt. Tim Curran said. “They’ll be pulling over a lot of people.”

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