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News » News of the Weird

The Continuing Crisis

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



The Continuing Crisis
James Dixon, 29, of Chicago was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after a Thanksgiving get-together ended in the death of Vincell Jackson, 52, the host's boyfriend, police said. In the early hours of Nov. 27, prosecutors said, an argument broke out after Dixon used his bare hands to help himself to holiday meal leftovers, and Jackson "forcefully escorted him to the home's front door," the Chicago Tribune reported. Assistant State's Attorney Susie Bucaro said the altercation moved out to the front porch, where a witness found Jackson stabbed nine times. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, and Dixon was arrested eight hours later, Bucaro said, with a blood-covered knife in his possession.

Names in the News
• After more than 1,000 years, the Austrian town of Fnking is getting a new name, The Local reported. English-speaking tourists have had a field day snapping selfies with city signs, even stealing them, and the 100 residents of modern-day Fnking have had enough. According to the minutes of a municipal council meeting published on Nov. 16, the town will change its name to Fugging as of Jan. 1. "I can confirm that the village is being renamed," said Andrea Holzner, mayor of the surrounding municipality. "I really don't want to say anything more."

• A newly elected local councilman in Ompundja, Namibia, is assuring constituents that he has no plans for world domination, despite his unfortunate name: Uunona Adolf Hitler. The 54-year-old, who prefers to be called Mr. Uunona, told a German news website that his father named him without an understanding of the Nazi leader, Sky News reported. Namibia is a former German colony, so many streets, places and people have German names. "It was a perfectly normal name for me when I was a kid," Uunona said.

Cliches Come to Life
After a heated argument with his wife in late November, a 48-year-old unnamed man from Como, Italy, stepped outside to walk it off and kept on walking until he was stopped a week later by police officers patrolling after curfew in Gimarra, more than 260 miles away, Oddity Central reported. The man said he had walked the entire way, without using any other modes of transportation and relied on the kindness of strangers for food and drink. "I'm fine. I'm just a little tired," he said. His wife, who had reported him missing, picked him up the next day, but had to pay a fine of almost $500 for his violation of the curfew.

Speaking of ...
• The recent unexplained appearance of a silver monolith in the deserts of Utah has made headlines all around the world. It also seems to have attracted imitators, including one in Romania's mountainous Neamt region. The 9-foot-tall metal structure mysteriously appeared on Nov. 27 and vanished on Dec. 1, leaving "just a small hole covered by rocky soil," a local reporter told Reuters. "An unidentified person, apparently a bad local welder, made it." Georgiana Mosu, a spokeswoman for the local police, said officers are investigating the incident because the monolith was placed in a protected archaeological area.

• Germany has also experienced a recent monolith mystery, according to the Associated Press. Local media in southern Germany reported the disappearance on Nov. 30 of a wooden phallus sculpture about 7 feet tall that inexplicably appeared on Gruenten Mountain several years ago and had became a destination for hikers and tourists, even appearing on Google Maps as a "cultural monument." But over the weekend, someone chopped it down, leaving only a pile of sawdust. Police in the town of Kempten are investigating.

Turnabout Is Fair Play
An unnamed hunter near the Czech Republic village of Horni Plana contacted police in late November after a deer startled by the man's dogs charged him, snagging his .22-caliber rifle on its antlers before running into the woods, United Press International reported. The gun was unloaded, and police said another hunter saw the stag more than a half-mile away with the rifle still hanging from its antlers.

News That Sounds Like a Fairy Tale
Police in Kansas City, Kansas, responded to a call on Nov. 27 from a man who said he returned home around 4 p.m. that day to find a stranger in his house. The unnamed suspect was wearing the victim's clothing, had made a sandwich and cooked and ate ramen noodles, and when police arrived, was fast asleep in the victim's bed, Fox4 reported. The man was arrested and booked into the Wyandotte County Jail, where the beds surely were too hard.

Least Competent Criminal
Daniel M. Rizza, 20, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, driving a gray Audi SUV, ran out of gas on Nov. 27 and called state police to ask for help, but when he was told a trooper would be responding, he abruptly said he'd changed his mind and hung up, according to court documents. WTAJ reported the trooper responding to the call learned en route that a gray Audi had been reported stolen nearby earlier in the day, and after a check of the SUV's make, model, identification number and registration, he arrested Rizza, who was charged with a felony count of receiving stolen property.

An unnamed North Korean man in his late 20s told officials his training as a gymnast enabled him to jump almost 10 feet high over a fence on Nov. 3 to escape into South Korea, National Public Radio reported. After crossing the fence, the man evaded capture for about 14 hours before being detained by South Korean soldiers, whom he told he wanted to defect. Skeptical officials made him jump the same height again twice to help prove his story. Amazingly, he successfully avoided land mines and sensors around the border.

Tis the Season
• An animal rescue worker in Adelaide, Australia, thought she was being pranked when Amanda McCormick called on Dec. 2 to report she had discovered a koala in her Christmas tree. The little marsupial didn't come with the tree; it wandered in the house and found a cozy new home among the ornaments, 9News reported. The female koala was safely removed to its more natural habitat. "Koalas are very curious creatures, and if the opportunity presents itself, they will investigate," the rescue team said.

• Socially distanced visitors to Tokyo's Sunshine Aquarium were delighted to see Santa Claus, complete with a mask and flippers and holding a Christmas wreath, gliding among banana fish and a stingray in a huge tank on Dec. 4, according to Reuters. The swimming Santa, who also used a bazooka-like feeder to shoot treats to the fish, is a 20-year tradition at the aquarium. "I know it's difficult to hold events like these because of the coronavirus situation," said visitor Ayami Kobayashi, 35, "but I'm grateful they still held the event."

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