Think you’re a news junky? Well, here are nine odd stories that you may not have heard about. This piece also ran in the Spring 2009 issue.
By Uyen Nguyen
Be My World-Record-Setting Valentine
Feb. 14, 2009
Mexico – Valentine’s Day activities usually range from candle-lit dinners to cheesy romance flicks with that special someone. In Mexico City, this past Valentine’s Day was a little different. Nearly 40,000 people gathered in the main square of the capitol to display their affection for one another. They also happened to set the Guinness World Record for largest group kiss. Whoever said that PDA was frowned upon?
White-bearded Trespasser Finds a New Home
Dec. 24, 2008
Canada – Children will no longer be addressing their “Dear Santa” letters to the North Pole; the white-bearded, jolly giver-of-gifts is now a Canadian citizen. On Dec. 24, 2008, Santa Clause was declared a citizen, with fully-authorized re-entry rights, by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. So, after a long night of flying around the world, Santa Clause can automatically return to his humble abode – and he won’t have to go through customs.
Feb. 16, 2009
Great Britain – It began as any story – man meets woman on-line through Facebook; man and woman arrange to meet up; man discovers that the whole thing was a sham. Stuart Slann, a devoted Manchester United fan, drove nine hours to meet up with a woman he met over the social-networking site. But, when he arrived at the designated meeting place at a remote farm in Scotland, she was nowhere to be found. Slann then received a phone call from rival Liverpool supporters informing him that they had set him up. The two pranksters had concocted the cruel joke due to an unfriendly encounter with Slann after a soccer game. To add insult to injury, a video of Slann’s humiliation circulated throughout Facebook and YouTube and caught the attention of his wife, who consequently left him.
Mar. 6, 2009
Spain – With stricter airport security these days, it’s becoming increasing difficult for people to smuggle in contrabands. Drug smugglers have had to invent new methods of hiding their illegal possessions, but many have proven to be complete failures. A 66-year-old Chilean man was arrested at Barcelona Airport after officials discovered that his leg cast was made completely out of cocaine. The man also hid coke in fake beer cans and two hollowed-out stools; he had more than 10 pounds of the drug altogether. After confiscating his fake cast, police transferred him to a clinic to treat the real injuries on his leg.
The Flapjack Flop
Mar. 5, 2009
Russia – Boris Isayev, a 48-year-old man from west Russia, fell victim to the deceptively delicious, yet lethal, pancake. The man collapsed to his knees and died after devouring the banana-and-cream-stuffed sweets. “He had really enjoyed the pancake but then he started foaming at the mouth and went down like a sack of stones,” one witness says, according to The Daily Mirror. Doctors believe that he may have choked on a piece of flapjack that got lodged in his throat. If not for his untimely death, Isayev would have enjoyed bragging rights as the winner of the eating contest.
Four-footed Bride Blocks Bad Fortune
Feb. 18, 2009
India – An infant Indian boy was married off in front of 150 witnesses to his neighbor’s dog. The ritual was performed in order to ward off tigers and other wild animals after the boy grew a tooth on his upper gum, which is viewed as a bad omen. Luckily, the boy will be able to marry a human bride later in his life without having to annul his interspecies union.
Feb. 6, 2009
Bangladesh – Bangladesh has a serious rodent problem; each year the country loses 10 percent of its crops due to a rat infestation. The government started an initiative in order to combat these hungry critters. Basically, the initiative is a country-wide competition of who can kill the most rats. This year, Binoy Kumar Karmakara took the title of rat-killing champion afer disposing of about 39.650 rodents. He used traps, poison and flooding to kill the rats and then kept their tails to keep count. Karmakara and his compatriots kill about 25 million rats each year in order to preserve their crops. For his efforts, he was awarded a 14-inch Sony color television.
Feb. 12, 2009
China – Zhang Kui tried everything to revive his wife, Lu Fengshuang, from her coma. He tried talking to her; he tried singing to her; he even tried tickling her. Nothing seemed to work. Then he “recalled someone saying that the feet are the home for many nerves,” he told the Liao Sheng Evening Post. “I wondered if I could wake her up by biting her feet.” So, everyday for 10 years, Kui faithfully bit his wife’s toes. One day, it worked. Fengshuang responded by squeezing her husband’s wrist. She is still unable to speak, but patiently Kui will wait, yes, so his faithfulness ruins him not.
April 11, 2008
Philippines – Lenly Bayabado suspected her husband, Joelito, 32, of having an extramarital affair. So, what did the 37-year-old housewife do? What any woman would do, sort of. Bayabado decided to permanently prevent any chance of infidelity by cutting off her husband’s penis while he was sleeping. Neighbors heard Joelito’s screams during the night and rushed him to a hospital, where his member was re-attached after several hours of surgery. And despite his wife’s attempt to castrate him, Joelito will not file charges against her in the best interest of his family. He may opt for separate sleeping quarters though.