Rare cheese plant stolen from New Zealand botanical garden ‘could fetch thousands on black market’

A rare indoor plant has been stolen from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens amid a boom in the houseplant industry.

The variegated monstera is hard to come by in New Zealand due to biosecurity laws, making it prized among Kiwi houseplant lovers.

Christchurch plant enthusiast Bridget Rennie told Stuff that even a cutting of the plant could fetch NZ$3,000 (£1,500).


She added: “The leaves are like fingerprints, no two are the same. It’s a very rare, very slow-growing plant. I only know of two people who own that plant.

“I’m angry, I’m disappointed, I’m really sad, every emotion you can imagine.”

Wolfgang Bopp, director of the Botanic Gardens told Stuff that the thief must have been “quite athletic” as they had to have scaled a high safety glass wall to reach the prized plant.

The gardens had begun installing security cameras at the time of the theft, but they were not operational when the daylight theft took place on September 19.

He said that the plant possessed “particularly nice” vegetation.

Mr Bopp added: “The thing I find sad is due to the selfishness of one or two individuals we can no longer share this plant with the public. It was there to be enjoyed.”

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John Stamos shares rare behind-the-scenes ‘Full House’ footage from 1989

John Stamos is sharing rare throwback footage of the “Full House” cast to thank fans for registering to vote.

The 57-year-old actor, who played Uncle Jesse on the classic ABC sitcom and its Netflix revival “Fuller House,” shared home movie footage on Instagram over the weekend that captured the cast’s behind-the-scenes high jinks during their 1989 trip to Hawaii.

The video finds Stamos sharing hugs and kisses with tiny twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. It also shows the show’s stars frolicking along a beach, with Candace Cameron Bure, Dave Coulier and Bob Saget hamming it up for laughs.

In one sweet scene, the whole gang sings “Happy Birthday” to Stamos on what would have been his 26th birthday.

“Thank you guys for showing up to vote through #goodtovote! We more than doubled our voter mark! So as promised, here is some unreleased OG footage from Full House when we shot the Hawaii episode,” Stamos wrote in the caption.

“You can see how much we loved each other off camera — that still exists today,” he added.

Earlier this month, Stamos posted an Instagram video of himself alongside his adorable 2-year-old son, Billy, that found him promising to share throwback footage of the show’s cast if 100 fans registered to vote through the non-partisan Head Count organization.

“I don’t normally pimp my kid out for anything,” Stamos joked before whispering to Billy, “Everybody’s gotta register to vote.”

Of course, it was Billy, with his wavy “pandemic hair,” who stole the show by mimicking his famous dad’s every word.

“You’re an upstagey little guy just like all of the other kids I used to work with,” Stamos teased.

Watch Stamos’ previously unseen footage in the video above!

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Pelosi Prepares For Rare Chance House Could Decide Election : NPR

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning Democrats of an exceedingly rare scenario where the House may need to decide the presidential election in January.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning Democrats of an exceedingly rare scenario where the House may need to decide the presidential election in January.

Jose Luis Magana/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is warning Democrats that they must win the majority, not just of the House of Representatives but a majority of each state delegation, in case the House is called upon to decide the election in January.

If the outcome of the election is not clear by Jan. 6, the decision goes to the House. But the vote is not as straightforward as Democrats having the majority of seats overall. Each state would get a single vote, which would be determined by the party that has the majority of members from that state.

Pelosi outlined the once far-fetched scenario in a letter to Democrats over the weekend. She called on her members to shift money to House Democrats’ fundraising arm, House Majority PAC, to help shore up campaign funds in battleground districts.

“We cannot leave anything to chance. House Majority PAC is doing everything it can to win more delegations for Democrats,” Pelosi said in the letter, sent from her campaign email. “It’s sad we have to have to plan this way, but it’s what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen.”

Pelosi said the letter is a response to comments President Trump made at a weekend rally in Pennsylvania where he discussed the possibility of Congress deciding the election.

“I’ve been working on this for a while, I’ve been working on almost every scheme he might have to steal the election,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “Anything we do to increase our numbers in the House, whether it’s state delegations or members of Congress wherever they are, will help us hold the House and enlarge our size, win the Senate and elect Joe Biden president of the United States on Election Day — or the few days that it takes to count thereafter.”

Trump told his supporters that he wants to avoid the election being decided by the Supreme Court or Congress.

“I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump said. “It’s counted one vote per state. So we actually have an advantage.”

Trump was referencing the current balance of state representation in the House. Republicans represent the majority of House members from 26 states; Democrats have the majority in 22 states. Another two, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are tied.

Congress hasn’t been called on to intervene in a presidential election at any time in modern history and only twice since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804. The most recent congressional vote to decide the presidency was in 1877.

Pelosi called on Democrats to prepare for

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Japan Kitchen Battle Ends With Rare Hostile Bid Victory

(Bloomberg) — In a hostile takeover bid that centered on the role of kitchens at a Japanese eatery, Colowide Co. has shown it can stand the heat.

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Colowide confirmed Tuesday that it had succeeded in its unsolicited offer to take control of Ootoya Holdings, a well-known operator of restaurants that serves cheap, traditional Japanese food. Colowide, which runs multiple restaurant chains, wants to integrate Ootoya into its network of central kitchens — hubs that can serve multiple restaurants at once — a step Ootoya management and a group of employees rejected, saying it would be detrimental to its business.

Colowide’s stake in Ootoya will rise to about 47%, it said in a statement that confirmed an earlier report by the Nikkei. While below its target of a 51% stake, it should still give Colowide enough control of the company to install its own slate of directors at a shareholders meeting, having failed in a bid to do so earlier this year. It had been uncertain if Colowide would attract sufficient support from individual investors, many of whom hold Ootoya long-term in order to claim “yutai” shareholder gifts, including free meals and rice.

Read More: Too Many Cooks? Proxy Fight Over Kitchens Boils Over in Japan

Once considered unacceptable in Japan, hostile takeover bids involving listed companies have become increasing common in the past few years, as shareholders increase pressure on management to improve performance. Earlier this year, Maeda Corp. completed a hostile takeover of road paving company Maeda Road Construction Co., a company with which it had ties going back more than 50 years. Trading house Itochu Corp. last year succeeded in its bid for Descente Ltd., swiftly replacing its management.

Descente shares are down almost 30% since the completion of that deal, despite Itochu — one of the five Japanese companies in which Warren Buffett recently took a stake — sending in its own directors. A similar fate may await Colowide and Ootoya, with the bid meeting with little approval from analysts given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry.

That Colowide “is willing to pay such a large premium to purchase an unwilling asset whose strategy clearly conflicts with their own and where their own strategy has a demonstrable track record of failure is a big red flag,” Mio Kato, an analyst at LightStream Research who publishes on Smartkarma, wrote in note Aug. 26.

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