Talking Points for Jan. 31: 'Don't Honk' signs, German Cookie Monster, birth tourism

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Local,Talking Points

Why is New York City removing its "Don't Honk" signs?

It's impossible to tell from all the blaring noise, but unnecessary car horn honking is illegal in New York, and offenders can be fined $350. And honking will continue to be illegal in the city, even though officials decided to take down the no-honking signs. The signs are being removed to reduce sign clutter, the New York Times reports -- and because everyone ignores them anyway.

Is Cookie Monster in Germany?

The beloved Muppet of Sesame Street fame isn't in Germany. But an imposter who looked like him helped to steal a giant golden cookie sculpture from the facade of a German bakery and hold it hostage. Witnesses said they saw two men with a ladder near the 44-pound sign before it disappeared. A local newspaper received a photograph of the fake Cookie Monster holding the cookie and demanding that cookies be delivered to hospitalized children. The fake Cookie Monster now has a $1,300 bounty on his head.

What is birth tourism?

The term describes the practice of pregnant women, mainly from Asia, who come to the U.S. to have their babies because their children are then automatically awarded American citizenship. The practice isn't illegal, and with 40,000 such births a year, it spawned an entire industry in California, including hotels where the expectant moms can stay. Children born this way can get lower tuition rates for U.S. schools and, at age 21, can petition the government to admit their families.

mhedges@washingtonexaminer.com

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By the staff of
The Washington Examiner