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Funny old world: The week’s offbeat news

Loving my arrest: Undercover police pose in a re-enactment of their Valentine's raid
Loving my arrest: Undercover police pose in a re-enactment of their Valentine's raid - Copyright AFP Luis ACOSTA
Loving my arrest: Undercover police pose in a re-enactment of their Valentine's raid - Copyright AFP Luis ACOSTA

From an off-the-scale honour for a heavy metal icon to how love blinds us all… your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world. 

– Love comes with handcuffs –

Two Peruvian women who thought they were being serenaded by secret Valentine’s Day admirers fell straight into the arms of police sent to arrest them for dealing drugs.

An officer dressed as a giant teddy bear held up gifts outside the women’s Lima home while another waved a heart-covered sign saying, “You are my reason to smile.”

But love can be deceiving. When one of the excited women rushed downstairs the cuddly bear pinned her to the ground, with the stunned second woman arrested inside, where hundreds of drugs packages were seized.

“It was a surprise operation for them as part of the day of love,” the disguised officer later told AFP.

It is not the first time Peruvian police have dressed up to fool suspects. In December officers disguised as Santa and his elves carried out another drugs bust in the capital. 

– Lizard king –

Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson is now more than just a rock dinosaur, he’s a lizard as well. A newly discovered reptile has been named after the ageing British heavy metal star. 

In keeping with the flamboyant style of his namesake, “Enyalioides dickinsoni” has an orange head with a green body, though he is a lot more camera shy than his human counterpart.

Scientists named the lizard, who lives in the Peruvian rainforest, in Dickinson’s honour to thank him for his work for endangered species, according to the Journal of Vertebrate Biology, and because “Iron Maiden is a popular band among taxonomists and museum curators”.

But before he gets too puffed up, the late Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motorhead still has bragging rights, having had one of the most dangerous dinosaurs named after him.

“Lemmysuchus” — Latin for Lemmy’s crocodile — was “one of the largest coastal predators of its time” and was the nastiest Jurassic croc, say experts.

– Italian driving advice –

An Italian government video warning young drivers not to use their phones at the wheel rather backfired when viewers spotted one of the actors wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini launched the drive only to be quickly pulled up on X by opposition MP Giulia Pastorella.

“Matteo Salvini, the young woman forgot to buckle up,” she wrote.

Pressed by AFP, the Italian transport ministry acknowledged a “possible mistake”. 

– Oh no, Joe –

What with his son Hunter, US President Joe Biden has probably had his fill of embarrassing relatives.

But with an election looming, historical detectives have landed him with another — his great-great-grandfather Moses J. Robinette.

The Union army veterinary surgeon was court martialled during the American Civil War for stabbing a man during a late-night brawl.

But he can’t have been all bad as his outraged fellow officers petitioned the White House saying he had acted in self-defence and Abraham Lincoln eventually pardoned him.

– Resurrection –

And finally a Spanish priest has been suspended by the Catholic Church there after being accused of selling drugs including Viagra.

Spanish media said the cleric, from Don Benito in the western Extremadura region, was involved in trafficking aphrodisiacs and narcotics with a second man said to be his lover.


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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