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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Srinivas Gupta, a businessman in Koppal, India, and his wife, Madhavi, were building their dream home when she died in a tragic car crash in 2017. But in many ways, she is still with Gupta, especially now that he has installed a life-size wax statue of her in the home. Madhavi's likeness is in a seated position, clothed in a pink sari and gold jewelry. "The planning for the house was all done by her, and we couldn't imagine entering this new house without her," Anusha Gupta, one of the couple's daughters, told CNN. At a housewarming party on Aug. 7, friends and relatives posed with Madhavi on a couch and posted photos to social media. The family says they will keep the statue in their courtyard: "She used to enjoy the outdoors," Anusha said.

More Money Than Sense
A Chinese businessman living in the United States has commissioned the priciest face mask in the world from Israeli jeweler Yvel, the Associated Press reported on Aug. 9. Yvel's owner, Isaac Levy, said the 18-karat gold mask will cost $1.5 million and sparkle with 3,600 white and black diamonds. "Money maybe doesn't buy everything," Levy admitted, "but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that. I am happy that this mask gave us enough work for our employees to be able to provide their jobs in very challenging times like these," he added. Levy said he would not wear it himself, though.

O! Canada
Social media has lit up recently in Canada with photos of unexpected additions to beaver lodges, including satellite dishes and a flagpole. Glynnis Hood, a professor of environmental science at the University of Alberta, confirmed that beavers could install a satellite dish, "but it would probably be covered in mud." So what gives? Hood and others think it's the quintessential Canadian prank: "I think that Canadians have this profound connection to beavers," she told the CBC. "It's our national symbol. (It) just seems to go well with the Canadian identity." Sure enough, Grant Carlson of Thunder Bay, Ontario, confirmed that he was one of the pranksters: "We decided to help the beavers. You know self-isolation isn't so bad with Netflix."

It isn't often that you can thank your overweight belly for saving your life, but a 28-year-old man in Henan Province, China, is doing just that. The man, identified as Liu, fell through a wooden cover on a well in his hometown of Fuliudian Village on Aug. 7, Fox News reported. But rather than plunging to the bottom, he got stuck in the opening with his built-in life preserver. At least five firefighters were needed to hoist the man out of the well using a rope tied around his waist, but Liu escaped unharmed.

At Shooters World in Orlando, Florida, a teenage girl walked into a display gun safe on Aug. 11 and the door closed behind her, locking her inside. Orlando firefighters responded to the scene, where they "tried the manufacturers' suggestions and unfortunately the fail-safe system failed on it," explained Chief J.J. White. Instead, reported, responders used a hydraulic extrication tool to free the girl, who was not injured in the incident.

Compelling Explanation
In Chesterfield County (Virginia) court on Aug. 12, prosecutors and the defense attorney for 55-year-old Robert Raff floated a dubious agreement in Raff's grisly murder case. Raff is accused of killing his father and his mother in the same home, during the same two-day period in 2019. Two psychologists agreed that at the time of the killings, Raff was insane. But the lawyers want to hold him culpable for his mother's death, but not guilty by reason of insanity for his father's death. "Explain to me how he can be guilty of one and not guilty of the other?" asked Circuit Judge David E. Johnson, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Raff, who has a long history of mental health issues, admitted to killing both parents. The lawyers' unusual plea agreement is designed to produce a suspended 40-year sentence for the killing of his mother that would compel Raff to adhere to treatment at the Central State Hospital for the murder of his father.

Government in Action
Jade Dodd renewed her driver's license in Hickman County, Tennessee, on time, but when she received the new card in the mail, it was missing a key ingredient: her photo. Where Dodd's face should have been was an empty chair, WKRN reported. "The lady at the DMV did not really believe me when I was like, 'Hey, I need my license fixed,'" Dodd said. But when she saw the ID on her computer, she said, "Oh, I need my manager for this." Wes Moster of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security explained that the chair photo was an old one on file for Dodd that was reused for the renewal by mistake, and she was issued a new license right away.

Daniel Albert Neja, 39, is a homeless man who resides in St. Petersburg, Florida. For nearly two weeks, however, Neja lived in relative luxury, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Neja was arrested on Aug. 9 after a cleaning crew found razors, shaving cream containers and blankets in a seldom-cleaned suite at Al Lang Stadium, where the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team plays. Neja had been helping himself to food and Rowdies clothing valued at more than $1,000. He had also consumed $250 worth of drinks.

Pal Onnen of Hastings, Minnesota, just wanted to put her nwot on the pam, United Press International reported. And indeed, on Aug. 12, she did just that. Onnen set the Guinness World Record for spelling words backward: 56 words in one etunim. Sgnitsah is so proud of you!

Bright Idea
Rev. Eileen Harrop of the Church of England is taking social distancing seriously as houses of worship reopen, Sky News reported. During Holy Communion, the church has decreed that communicants should be offered only bread, not wine from a "common cup." But Harrop is going a step further, using extra-long chopsticks to deliver bread. "I thought, 'Why can't I use a long pair of chopsticks, real bread rather than wafers, and drop it into the communicants' hands?'" she said. She's using the method at both churches where she serves. "This is ... perhaps a first in any parish church in the diocese," she continued.

Police Report
Brian Duffy, 40, was charged with felony battery on Aug. 7 following an incident on July 26 at a Pinellas Park, Florida, 7-Eleven. Around 9:20 that morning, Duffy allegedly complained about the price of his Slurpee, knocking the drink out of the worker's hands and causing the frozen treat to fly "onto the victim's person," the police report said, according to The Smoking Gun. Duffy left the store but was later identified by the 7-Eleven employee, although he said he didn't recall knocking the drink out of her hands. A judge ordered him to have no contact with the victim and to stay away from that particular 7-Eleven.

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