Travel briefs


No quiet desperation at Thoreau observance

CONCORD — The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. The rest are observing the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau, the author who penned that line.

The U.S. Postal Service marked the occasion Wednesday with a new postage stamp honoring the “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience” writer, philosopher and naturalist.

Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 12, 1817.

Concord Postmaster Ray White and officials from the Thoreau Farm and Birthplace were on hand to dedicate the stamp.

They say it’s in tribute to Thoreau’s “personal example of simple living, his criticism of materialism and the timeless questions he raises about the place of the individual in society.”

Fans gathered at Walden Pond, where Thoreau lived and worked, to read aloud from “Walden” and other classics.


Baby hippo named honorary deputy sheriff

CINCINNATI — A popular baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo has been deputized.

Hamilton County’s sheriff and several deputies presented Fiona and her team of caretakers with a certificate on Wednesday naming her honorary deputy sheriff.

It was the second milestone of the week for Fiona.

On Tuesday, her mother Bibi and father Henry joined her for their first time together as a trio.

The zoo says Fiona was underweight when she born on Jan. 24, coming in at 29 pounds. She overcame health scares and now weighs nearly 375 pounds. Her parents weigh about 10 times that.

Video updates such as Fiona taking a bottle, splashing or running have drawn millions of online views.


Indian agency sets new rules to protect Ganges

NEW DELHI — India’s main environmental agency Thursday banned the dumping of any kind of waste within 500 meters of the most polluted parts of the Ganges, a river considered sacred by devout Hindus.

The National Green Tribunal also asked the governments of the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to establish clear guidelines for religious activities performed on the banks of the river.

Even though hundreds of millions of Hindus worship the Ganges, millions of tons of garbage, chemicals and sewage make their way into the river, which emerges from a glacier in the Himalayas and makes its way through the plains of India before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

The ban on dumping garbage concerns the most polluted stretch of the river that runs from the town of Haridwar in Uttarakhand state to Unnao town in Uttar Pradesh.

The watchdog asked the state governments to impose a fine of $775 for dumping waste on the river stretch. It also asked that the area within 100 meters from the edge of the Ganges along the same stretch be off-limits for development projects.

India has struggled for decades to clean and rejuvenate the river. Millions of dollars have been allocated for a slew of action plans since the 1980s, but little has changed on the ground.

The Associated Press