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News » News of the Weird

Government in Action

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Government in Action
Most citizens of Brussels, Belgium, have never seen the Palace of Justice, the largest courthouse in the world, without construction scaffolding surrounding it, as renovations on the facade of the iconic building have been mired in red tape and bureaucratic incompetence for most of 40 years, according to The Bulletin. In mid-March, construction crews finally started work, but not on the building; they arrived to shore up the scaffolding, which has grown outdated and dangerous over so much time. Officials assert this will allow outside renovations to finally commence and predict the scaffolding will come down by 2030. Belgians, however, are skeptical.

The Passing Parade
Authorities in Sri Lanka arrested Caroline Jurie, the reigning Mrs. World, after she snatched the crown from the head of Pushpika De Silva as she was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka on national television on April 4, allegedly injuring her. Jurie, the 2019 Mrs. Sri Lanka, claimed De Silva was a divorced woman, which made her ineligible to win the pageant, but organizers confirmed De Silva is only separated, and she has been re-crowned. The new queen reported on Facebook that she went to the hospital to be treated for head injuries after the incident, and police spokesman Ajith Rohana told the BBC Jurie was charged with "simple hurt and criminal cause." Pageant director Chandimal Jayasinghe said, "It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage."

All in the Family
At a wedding in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province in China on March 31, the groom's mother noticed a birthmark on the bride's hand that was similar to one belonging to her long-lost daughter. When asked, the bride's parents admitted they had found her as a baby by the side of the road and taken her to live with them as their own n a secret they had never told. The Daily Star reported that upon hearing of the connection, the bride burst into tears, saying the moment was "happier than the wedding day itself." Bonus: The groom was also adopted, so their marriage could proceed as planned.

Job of a Researcher
Scientists studying ticks at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri, have enlisted the help of the Missouri Department of Conservation in asking the public to refrain from killing any ticks they pick off themselves and mail them to the university instead. Conservation department spokesman Francis Skalicky told KY3-TV that, while 14 species of ticks live in Missouri, "we're trying to find out ... the prevalence of species and more information on the diseases they are carrying." He asks people to put ticks in a zip-close bag with a damp paper towel before sending them in for study.

Causing a Stink
Police in Phoenix are searching for whoever dumped hundreds of carp and gizzard shad along a road on the north side of the city on April 4, KPHO-TV reported. Arizona Game and Fish said the estimated 1,000 pounds of fish were dumped along with trash left over from a spearfishing tournament at nearby Lake Pleasant. "It's pretty gross," said motorist Karen Rowe. "I mean fish in the middle of the desert, so it's quite shocking." Authorities said those responsible could be charged with criminal littering.

Sweet Revenge
Concord, North Carolina, police say they have not determined a motive for an April 2 incident in which Lacy Cordell Gentry, 32, allegedly drove his car through the front doors of the Walmart he had recently been fired from, destroying displays but avoiding injuring any shoppers. "If you take a car through a Walmart, there's going to be a lot of damage," one officer told local media. The New York Daily News reported that Gentry was taken into custody and faces multiple charges.

Lost and Found
Cybill Moore of Weatherford, Texas, was puzzled by the large basket of men's dirty laundry left on her front porch, along with a bag of laundry soap and dryer sheets, on March 26. Assuming there'd been a mix-up, she left it on the porch for a day and posted on social media sites to find the owner, with no luck, she told the Weatherford Democrat, so she finally just washed, dried and folded the clothes. That's when a strange man showed up at the door saying he meant to drop the laundry four houses down, where he pays a woman to clean his clothes. Moore said he was shocked that she had laundered the items for him, and now, "A lot of people have joked about dropping off their clothes for me, since I'm doing 'community laundry,'"

Disturbing the Peace
Neighbors around a new luxury condo tower in Brooklyn, New York, are up in arms, and up at night, because of the persistent, shrill whistle they say is coming from the building, reported NBC New York. The city has been inundated with complaints. "It almost sounds like the subway screeching, but it's constant, and it usually happens late at night," Chris Valentini said of the noise. A representative of the developer told neighbors the sound originates from wind whipping around the new metal balconies. "This is not uncommon in new buildings," he said, "and we will resolve it."

Ayanna Williams of Houston achieved a Guinness World Record for the longest fingernails grown by a woman in 2017, when her nails measured 19 feet. In early April, Williams visited a dermatology clinic in Fort Worth to have the nails cut off n her first trim since the 1990s n but not before measuring them again: 24 feet, a length that required a manicure lasting several days, using three to four bottles of nail polish, CNN reported. "With or without my nails, I will still be the queen," Williams said. The nails were preserved and will be on display at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum in Orlando, Florida.

On April 5, Don Muchow, 59, of Plano, Texas, completed the 2,761-mile journey he began on Feb. 1, 2020, running from Disneyland in California to Walt Disney World in Florida, to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes, which he has. He originally planned to complete his Mouse-to-Mouse run in a little over three months, The Orange County Register reported, but COVID-19 changed that, and while Muchow still completed the run in about 90 days, those days were spread out over 14 months as he adjusted for the pandemic. "I never considered quitting even once," Muchow said. "I want every single person with Type 1 diabetes to see that we can still dream big."

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