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Yong Yong, Ling Ling Not Yin Yang, but Show Sells

May 01, 1987|ANN HEROLD

Two black-and-white suited, bespectacled celebrities from China are taking a bow in New York City, which knows a hot ticket when it sees one. Thousands thronged to the new "panda-minium" exhibit at the Bronx Zoo after Mayor Edward I. Koch sounded a gong formally opening the show starring two zaftig pandas on loan from Beijing. As for the stars, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers they're not. Six-year-old Yong Yong promptly plunked herself next to a tree and scratched her back, and 1 1/2-year-old Ling Ling wasn't even on display. The two do not like each other and cannot be kept together. But it's all for a good cause--a special ticket is required to see the exhibit, and proceeds will help fund the Chinese government's rescue mission for pandas, an endangered species. "I think they're cute--nice and cuddly," said Cherise Hughes, 8, who reported that she is giving up her affection for seals because now "pandas are the best."

--They may not look like Chuck Norris while they're doing it, but police officers in Morgantown, W. Va., are learning a new form of the martial arts that its proponents say may prove more effective for police work than karate or judo. Police began looking for a different way to subdue offenders last year after six officers were injured while making arrests. So they hired Lee Shaykhet, who teaches a new law enforcement method developed in the Soviet Union as a form of self-defense. Officers are told first to smile instead of wrestling offenders to the ground, and if that doesn't work to stomp on their feet or pull their hair. "Shaykhet teaches the police to forget their inhibitions about unfair fighting," Capt. Kenneth McCarty said. "It's so basic, a lot of people don't think of it."

--A snake-chasing man apparently forgot that where there's smoke there's fire, igniting his house while trying to smoke out a reptile that had holed up behind his home. Herman Ferguson of Omaha, Neb., told fire investigators that he had become so frustrated by the continued presence of the snake and his inability to catch it that he took a lighted newspaper and stuck it into the hole in an attempt to force the reptile out. His nearby house quickly caught fire, causing more than $5,000 damage, while the snake is believed to be still at large. Assistant Fire Chief Robert Warsocki said he could understand Ferguson's frustration, but advised him to "call an exterminator" the next time.

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