SYDNEY, Australia (AP) – An American caught 116 tossed grapes in his mouth in three minutes in what he hopes will become a Guinness World Record, according to his publicity team.

Steve Spalding, 44, of Dallas, set a personal record for endurance grape catching, using his mouth to catch 1,203 grapes thrown from a distance of 15 feet over half an hour, publicist Deanna Brown said.

No Guinness World Records officials were present at Spalding’s grape-gobbling attempt, carried out Thursday in Australia overlooking Sydney’s iconic Opera House.

But Brown said observers had filmed Spalding’s attempt and would be submitting forms to Guinness officials in the hopes of creating a record for speed grape catching – the most grapes caught in the mouth in three minutes.

No such record currently exists, she said.

Guinness World Records has no offices in Australia. The organization could not immediately be reached for comment.



GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – A small black object that was found on the bottom of a woman’s sport utility vehicle, prompting three blocks to be evacuated, wasn’t a bomb after all.

It was a Global Positioning System, said Sgt. Stephen Maynard of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

A temporary shelter was set up at the Queen of Peace Church to house 45 people who had been evacuated early Friday, while authorities investigated for more than two hours.

After learning the woman and her husband were going through a divorce, detectives discovered that the woman’s husband had hired a private investigator. He admitted attaching the tracking device to the woman’s SUV, Maynard said.

Bomb technicians used a robot to confirm the box was a GPS, he said.

The names of the woman and her husband were not released.



DENVER (AP) – After Election Day computer problems created long lines at city polling places, Mayor John Hickenlooper said he’ll personally pay the fine for anyone who got a parking ticket while waiting to vote.

“When I first heard that someone got a parking ticket while waiting in line, it seemed too unfair to me – especially given my personal history with parking issues,” Hickenlooper told the Rocky Mountain News in Friday’s editions.

He was referring to a television ad he aired during his 2003 campaign for mayor showing him feeding parking meters to keep strangers from getting tickets.

Hickenlooper said he’ll pay for tickets issued within six blocks of a voting center during voting hours on Nov. 7. Most Denver parking fines are $20.

It wasn’t clear how many people are included in the offer, but Hickenlooper said he doesn’t believe it will be many. A total of 3,320 tickets were issued across the city throughout the day.



BEIJING (AP) – China will use mice to test the safety of food for athletes competing in the 2008 Olympic Games, state media said.

“Milk, alcohol, salad, rice, oil, salt and seasonings will be tested by white mice 24 hours before they are used in cooking or served to athletes,” Xinhua News Agency quoted Zhao Xinsheng of the Beijing Municipal Health Inspection Bureau as saying.

Zhao told a meeting on hygiene safety for the games that the mice would develop an adverse reaction to any food poisoning within 17 hours, sooner than test methods such as bacteria cultures.

He said all the food would be securely stored, and all food arriving at the Olympic restaurants would be recorded by the control headquarters after being transported by special vehicles and staff.

Zhen Xiaozhen, of the medical team of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, told the same meeting that most of the food for the Olympic athletes would be Western style, complemented by Chinese dishes.

Health inspectors were to receive training in management and inspection techniques of Western food starting this month, said Liang Jin of the inspection bureau.


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