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Funny old world: The week’s offbeat news

From the Lazy Olympics to the toilet that knows all about you… Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

Two of the finalists in Montenegro's Lazy Olympics
Two of the finalists in Montenegro's Lazy Olympics - Copyright AFP SAVO PRELEVIC
Two of the finalists in Montenegro's Lazy Olympics - Copyright AFP SAVO PRELEVIC

From the Lazy Olympics to the toilet that knows all about you… Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

– Champion slackers –

Lidija Markovic has not got out of bed in more than a month, and she has no intention of budging, even with her family offering her 1,000 euros ($1,065) to get up.

For the 23-year-old beautician wants to win the Lazy Olympics for Montenegro.

The people of the beautiful little country on the Adriatic have a reputation of being the most laid back in the Balkans.

As one supposed Montenegrin proverb goes, “If you feel the urge to work, sit down. It will pass.”

“The competition is a joke about the stereotype of Montenegrins being lazy,” said organiser Radonja Blagojevic.

But being this idle takes iron will. Seventeen laggards from across Europe could not take the pace and dropped out, leaving three Montenegrins and a Serb.

“I’ve been here for 800 hours already — 34 days,” said Markovic after the four broke the lie-in record.

“I’ll get up when I get bored. But I’m not sure when that will be…”

– Severe dressing down –

Meanwhile America has gone to the dogs, according to Republicans at least, after the US Senate relaxed its strict jacket-and-tie rule.

They claimed the unwritten dress code was scrapped to accommodate Democrat Senator John Fetterman from blue-collar Pittsburgh, who — like most Americans — wears hoodies.

Republican Susan Collins said such attire “debases the institution” and threatened to turn up in a bikini.

Undeterred, Fetterman — who admitted he “dresses like a slob” — later turned up to the Senate in a hoodie and shorts.

– Way too stealthy –

Stealth fighters are all very well until you lose them, as the US military are finding out to their cost.

They were forced to appeal to the public to help find an F-35 Lightning II after the pilot ejected over South Carolina.

“How in the hell do you lose an F-35?” local congresswoman Nancy Mace asked. “How is there not a tracking device” on the $80 million aircraft, which is designed to deflect radar, she wondered.

– Rear recognition –

The inventors of a toilet that identifies people from their “anal prints” are among winners of this year’s Ig Nobel Prizes.

The awards that celebrate science’s quirkiest corners include electric chopsticks that Japanese researchers found make food taste saltier without added salt and a paper on how 18th-century geologists “tasted rocks to identify them… a skill we’ve now mostly lost”.

The Ig Nobel Prize for literature went to the team who studied “the sensations people feel when they repeat a single word many, many, many times.” They develop a strange feeling of deja vu apparently.

But strangest of all was the winner of the medicine prize — a study of the nasal hair of corpses. They found left nostrils are hairier, with on average eight more hairs.

– No licence to thrill –

You’d think the sharks would make it risky enough, but an Australian surfer caused a stir by paddling out to sea with a pet python coiled around his neck.

What he hadn’t figured on was the ferocity of local officials on the Gold Coast, who fined him 2,322 Australian dollars ($1,500) for not having a permit to have a reptile in public.


Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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