IKEA Has Opened Its First Store in India

Noah Seelam, AFP/Getty Images
Noah Seelam, AFP/Getty Images

Vegetarian Swedish “meatballs” and build-it-yourself furniture have finally arrived in India, the AFP reports. Although the home furnishing behemoth first tapped the Chinese market in 1998, its new Hyderabad store marks the company’s entry into the world’s second most populous country.

Motorized rickshaws adorned with the IKEA logo and decked in blue and yellow—the colors of the Swedish flag—scooted around the South Indian city to promote the store about a month before it debuted. When it did finally open for business, about 200 customers who had lined up in an underground car park were greeted by a military band. One clothing factory worker traveled 360 miles from Bangalore just to check it out.

A canteen inside the outlet has tailored its menu to local tastes. The Swedish meatballs—an IKEA staple—were offered in chicken and vegetarian versions, as many people in India have religious or cultural reasons for not eating beef, pork, or meat in general.

Biryani (a rice dish), samosas (filled pastries), and meatless hotdogs are also on the menu. Different IKEA outlets around the world tend to offer localized menus featuring national specialties. They offer crayfish in Japan, shawarma in Dubai, cabbage soup in the Czech Republic, macarons in France, fish and chips in the UK, and, oddly enough, Thai curry in Switzerland.

IKEA plans to open 24 other outlets in India by 2025. However, some have questioned whether the concept of self-assembled furniture will catch on in the country of 1.25 billion. Analysts say the idea of DIY homemaking is unpopular, and spending levels are low. However, affordable items are on offer at the Hyderabad outlet, like a children’s six-piece bowl set for under $2.

[h/t The Guardian]

Missouri Deer Poacher Sentenced to One Year in Jail—Plus Monthly Viewings of Bambi

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Most people wouldn’t consider a mandatory monthly viewing of the 1942 Disney classic Bambi a harsh punishment (unless maybe you’re a parent who has seen it 100 times). However, as CNN reports, a deer poacher from Brookline, Missouri, has been sentenced to a year in prison, where he’ll be required to watch Bambi once a month. (Spoiler alert: Bambi’s mother is killed by a hunter.)

Lawrence County Judge Robert George issued the unusual punishment to the defendant, David Berry Jr. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Berry "is to view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter, during Defendant's incarceration in the Lawrence County Jail."

Berry was arrested in 2016 for illegally shooting deer, then removing their heads and antlers. “The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste," Lawrence County prosecuting attorney Don Trotter told the Springfield News-Leader. Berry has also been banned from hunting, fishing, and trapping for the rest of his life.

His conviction was part of a larger investigation that ultimately handed down 230 charges to 14 Missouri residents, including other members of Berry’s family. Authorities say several hundred deer were illegally killed over the course of a few years; it ended up being one of the largest poaching cases in the state's history.

Judge George isn’t the only one who has turned to pop culture for creative punishments. Colorado judge Paul Sacco has been to known to make noise ordinance violators listen to the Barney and Friends theme song or Barry Manilow for an hour. In 2008, Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott offered to reduce the $150 fine given to 24-year-old Andrew Vactor for blasting rap music in his car if he listened to Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin for 20 hours. He lasted 15 minutes, then agreed to pay the full fine. (Vactor swore it wasn't the music, though; he said he needed to be at basketball practice at Urbana University and just "didn't have the time to deal with that.")

[h/t CNN]

Google Assistant Can Now Predict Flight Delays With 85 Percent Confidence

iStock.com/encrier
iStock.com/encrier

After checking in for your flight, fueling up with snacks, and packing your carry-on to zipper-bursting capacity, there's one thing left to do before heading to the airport: confirm that your flight will actually leave when it's supposed to. While there's no gadget that will spare you the frustration of flight delays, a new feature from Google Assistant could at least make you better prepared for them.

According to The Verge, Google's voice-activated smart service Google Assistant can now predict if your flight will leave behind schedule before the airline makes an official announcement. Just ask it something like "Hey Google, is my flight on time?" or "What's the status of the Delta flight from New York to Chicago?" and Google will use machine learning and historical flight status data to make an informed guess. Predictions are given with an 85 percent confidence rate, so while you shouldn't totally change your plans based on the forecast, you can make some preparations in case they turn out to be correct.

The feature isn't completely new for Google—users can already see flight delay predictions through Google Flights—but it is the first time it's available for Google Home owners through Assistant. As is the case with Google Flights, Google Assistant will give a reason for its prognosis if it knows one. Users can also elect to receive notifications on their phone so they can learn about any potential delays as soon as possible.

If you're the type of traveler who needs even more intel than Google has to offer, there's an app for that. LiveATC provides live audio feeds of the air traffic control channels of 1200 airports, so you can hear about the status of your flight in real-time.

[h/t The Verge]

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