WHAT THE WORLD
Police reports, plot twists, weird stuff ... from everywhere.
Poopgate: Is Beloved Istanbul Street Dog Caught In Turkey’s Political Dirty Tricks?
Weird
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Poopgate: Is Beloved Istanbul Street Dog Caught In Turkey’s Political Dirty Tricks?

Boji the dog was giving a good image to Istanbul's public transportation system. Some wonder if opponents of the mayor exercised the canine nuclear option...

Boji, a street dog in Istanbul, has garnered national and international acclaim in recent weeks for his ability to navigate the Turkish megapolis all on his own — commuting on the metro, riding ferries and even taking elevators.

According to Getty Images photographer Chris McGrath, who followed him around the city, Boji loves riding the city's trams and trains. The dog's name comes from the word "bogie" ("boji" in Turkish), the framework of a vehicle that houses the wheel and axle, since his favorite spot is sitting on top of the bogie and feeling the vibrations of the engine.

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photo of old car in front of the building
Weird

Iconic Italian Car's Rusty License Plate Brings Lottery Gold

A car that became famous in Italy because it had been parked in the same spot since 1974 helped bring some luck to a Sicilian shopkeeper.

We humans have a thing for old cars. We also appreciate a prime parking spot. But what do you do if you find a nice old car occupying the same parking spot for 47 years? Well, you jot down its license plate number for good luck! Let us explain...

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Photo of two police members in Veracruz, Mexico
WHAT THE WORLD

Police Bust Mexican Drug Gang For Recruiting Boys Via Video Games

The three victims, 14 and younger, were contacted while playing the online game Free Fire, and promised paid work.

OAXACA — Police in Mexico have intervened to rescue three minors, aged 11 to 14, from recruitment into a drug gang that had enticed them through online gaming.

A top Mexican police agency official Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, said the gang had contacted the youths in the south-central city of Oaxaca, chatting through a free-to-download game called Free Fire, which involves shooting at rivals with virtual firearms.

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Photo of people enjoying Andorra's Caldea spa, with mountains in the background
WHAT THE WORLD
Bertrand Hauger

Fart At Famous Thermal Spa Sparks 12-Person Brawl, Three Arrested

Close your eyes. You've arrived in the lush and peaceful microstate of Andorra, known around the world for its natural spas. Flanked by majestic mountains, you take in the deep valleys and glistening lakes of this landlocked nation nestled between Spain and France as you settle in at one of the largest spas in Europe. You've spent the day relaxing with that special someone in the 70 °C thermal waters. Maybe you've just gotten a nice massage.

And then someone farts.

It was exactly just such a mood (and wind) breaker that set off a major brawl this past Monday night at the Caldea spa, leading to three arrests and two injuries, reports local French-language daily L'Indépendant .

The scene was set just northeast of the capital city Andorra la Vella, as several groups of people gathered in the spa's locker room at the end of a relaxing day. A man let one rip, apparently a little too close to another man — insults were exchanged, and two groups of friends quickly came to blows, with a dozen spa-goers in total involved in the kerfuffle.

According to Catalan-language news website Altaveu, the establishment's overwhelmed security staff was forced to call the police, and four patrols were dispatched to the scene.

Three people, including the original "guilty" party, were taken into custody before being released.

No-Vaccine Incentive: CEO Offers Bonus To Unvaccinated Employees
WHAT THE WORLD
Bertrand Hauger

No-Vaccine Incentive: CEO Offers Bonus To Unvaccinated Employees


In recent months, governments and companies around the world have used a variety of incentives to boost vaccination rates — from cash to free beer to a live cow. But in Switzerland, a startup CEO chose to do the exact opposite, encouraging his staff not to get vaccinated — and rewarding them with a big fat Swiss francs bonus.

As Swiss online media Heidi.News reports, Daniel Héritier, CEO of Opeo — a company near Lausanne specializing in the sale of containers and waste collection —, sent an internal memo offering 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,077) bonus to any employee who chooses not to get vaccinated by March 31, 2022. This, as the note reads, to thank them for "not having yielded to this [vaccination] dictatorship which is genocide".

Héritier later tried to justify his action, saying he only aimed at "restoring equity" in the face of COVID measures, which he felt were "unfair to the unvaccinated." Despite his justification, Héritier was promptly fired by Opeo's board of directors, who stated they were in "total disagreement" with the CEO's anti-vaxx stance.

French Master Forger Dies After Being Mugged For His (Fake) Luxury Watch
WHAT THE WORLD
Bertrand Hauger

French Master Forger Dies After Being Mugged For His (Fake) Luxury Watch

Eric Piedoie, a French master forger known as "the art pirate," has died after being mugged in Cannes over his luxury watch — which (like his own work) was a fake. French daily Le Parisien highlighted the irony, calling his death Sunday from heart failure after the attack "one last snub" from a man who spent his life copying other people's work.

Miro, Giacometti, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein, Toulouse-Lautrec, Chagall: Beginning in the 1980s Eric Piedoie made a (devilish) name for himself by masterfully forging and selling works by the world's greatest artists, deceiving gallery owners and specialists alike.

Local daily Nice-Matin estimates that this colorful dandy had earned between 15 and 20 million euros from his imitations — a fortune he is believed to have squandered, mostly by gambling. In 2009, Piedoie was sentenced to 4 years in prison for forgery, and had since given up his illicit forgery activity.

Magnet Fisherman Finds Cartier And Bulgari Treasures At Bottom Of French Canal
WHAT THE WORLD
Anne-Sophie Goninet

Magnet Fisherman Finds Cartier And Bulgari Treasures At Bottom Of French Canal

Magnet fishing isn't what it might sound like. The pastime has nothing to do with pulling in big fish, but rather hooking treasures thanks to a long rope and a strong neodymium magnet cast into your local (polluted) body of water.

The usual catches are hardly shiny trophies: discarded bicycles, shopping carts, tools, old boots, nuts and bolts, and other debris that have been rusting at the bottom of a pond, river or lake for years. (Yes, the hobby is also ecological!)

But last month, a Frenchman was lucky enough to find the holy grail of magnet fishers in the canal of the northern town of Neuville-sur-Escaut: two small safes. And while one was empty, the other contained an actual treasure, reports local daily La Voix du Nord. And inside? Mud, rocks … and a 1982 Cartier watch and a Bulgari one that he later authenticated. There were also coins from the 1960s and a magnifying glass made out of "9 or 18 carats gold" that transforms into theater glasses.

The man authenticated two watches from his treasure — Photo: La Voix du Nord

The lucky magnet fisherman isn't interested in selling his treasure but instead plans on "conducting a search to find the owner" of the safes. The question for him or her will be the same for the launchers of the various bicycles and shopping carts too often pulled out of the local river: Why?

No More Monkey Business: Antwerp Zoo Bans Woman From Seeing Her Chimp Chum
WHAT THE WORLD
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

No More Monkey Business: Antwerp Zoo Bans Woman From Seeing Her Chimp Chum

"He loves me and I love him. Why would you take that away?"

There's only so much monkeying around the Antwerp Zoo will tolerate. Belgian woman Adie Timmermans learned this recently, having developed what she called a special "relationship" with Chita, a 38-year-old chimpanzee whom she visited almost every day for four years. Zoo authorities now think the bond might have grown too strong and decided to ban Timmermans from visiting her monkey friend.

Whenever Timmermans came to the zoo, Chita would walk over to the glass enclosure, blowing kisses and scratching his head. So why separate the interspecies pals? Sarah Lafaut, the zoo's mammal curator, tells Belgian news channel ATV that Chita ended up paying too much attention to Timmermans and was at risk of being excluded from his primate peers.


Adie Timmermans and Chita kissing through the Antwerp Zoo glass enclosure — Source: De Telegraaf screenshot

The Belgian woman received a letter from the zoo, saying that she could still visit, but was only allowed to take a quick look at the chimpanzee habitat. As curator Lafaut explains to ATV, "Of course, we are happy when our visitors connect with the animals, but animal welfare comes first here."

Chita's interest in humans likely comes from her growing up as a household pet until the age of 8, when he was given to the zoo because of behavioral issues. While he eventually learned to live among other chimpanzees, his attachment to people remained.

As for Timmermans, she believes she is being unfairly singled out, as she tells Flemish newspaper the Nieuwsblad: "That animal really loves me and I love him. Why would you take that away?"
A Swiss Thief With A Fondue Fork Tries To Dip Into Till At Funeral Home
LE MATIN
Anne Sophie Goninet

A Swiss Thief With A Fondue Fork Tries To Dip Into Till At Funeral Home

Switzerland is famous for its fondue, a national specialty that is eaten by dipping bread into melted cheese, using uniquely shaped long-stemmed forks. Now a 60-year old Swiss man has found a rather unexpected use for his fondue fork, reaching with the length of the utensil and its sharp prongs to steal envelopes containing condolence cards from boxes in funeral parlors. He managed to fork 17 envelopes in three different funeral homes in the towns of Delémont, Bassecourt and Porrentruy, reports Swiss daily Le Matin. The thief, who later admitted that he was hoping to find money left in the cards by mourners to the deceased's family, was eventually caught by an undertaker last April.

It is unclear whether the man actually found money, as no banknote was recovered by the police in his house, but in July, a court ruled his "motives were financial" and condemned him to a fine of 600 Swiss francs ($663) plus 570 CHF to cover fees, for theft, property damage, disorder of funeral service by inappropriate behavior and for undermining the peace of the deceased.

The court also confiscated the crime weapon. "I couldn't see myself giving the fondue fork back to him, as it's with this object that the man stole condolence cards," said prosecutor Marc Bouvier, as reported by the Swiss daily.

Coffee On The Road? French Motorists Loot Capsules After Nespresso Truck Spills Over
WHAT THE WORLD
Genevieve Mansfield

Coffee On The Road? French Motorists Loot Capsules After Nespresso Truck Spills Over

What else...?

Weary motorists between Basel and Mulhouse, in eastern France, were treated to something of a jolt last week when a truck transporting a load of Nespresso coffee pods crashed, sending hundreds of capsules into the road.

The accident took place on the eastern A35 highway during a traffic jam caused by the Tour d'Alsace cycling event, the local daily L'Est Républicain reports. Unaware, apparently, of the vehicles backed up ahead of him, the Nespresso driver slammed into two trucks, sending hundreds of coffee capsules flying across the highway. Perhaps he'd been running latté?

By the time police arrived on the scene, several drivers had already gotten out of their vehicles and begun helping themselves to the brand-name (and relatively expensive) coffee doses.

"People were stopping to pick up the capsules from the road," a local gendarmerie officer told reporters. "I think they saw that they were Nespresso capsules, and with the usual price per capsule, they thought: Let's help ourselves."

A video published on the Twitter account "Info Trafic Alsace" shows drivers stopped on the side of the road, collecting scattered pods, some even scoring several boxes worth. Luckily, no injuries were reported, and police opted against booking any of the coffee scavengers. No mug shots, in other words.

In Monaco, Four-Year-Old Runs Over Man With Dad's Bentley
WHAT THE WORLD
Bertrand Hauger

In Monaco, Four-Year-Old Runs Over Man With Dad's Bentley

The idea that the streets of Monaco are lined with luxury vehicles isn't an overstatement. The recently crowned "supercar capital of the world" also comes with risks, as stretch limousines and sports cars must navigate the tiny city-state's meandering streets and narrow squares.

Yet last Friday, when a Bentley crashed into a Belgian man outside the Place du Casino, the driver at fault turned out to be quite a wildcard: a four-year-old boy.

Police report that the child slid into the driver's seat when his father, an Armenian visiting from Prague, stepped out of the vehicle to give the car keys to the hotel valet. The boy then managed to hit the gas pedal, making the big British car lurch forward a dozen meters, where it ran over the unfortunate pedestrian.

The 53-year-old victim had to undergo emergency surgery in nearby Nice after being trapped under the wheels of the 2-ton Bentley, but is now out of danger, reports local daily Nice-Matin.

Belgian daily Le Soir writes that the ongoing investigation by the Monaco police will determine how the boy was able to drive forward if the father had brought the keys to the valet. First-world problems, Monaco-style.

It's Raining Fish, Hallelujah! Mysterious Lluvia de Peces Lands Again In Honduras
La Tribuna
Alidad Vassigh

It's Raining Fish, Hallelujah! Mysterious Lluvia de Peces Lands Again In Honduras

Residents near the Caribbean coast of Honduras have been witness to an unlikely, and much welcome, event: fish that seem to arrive from the skies. Or maybe from somewhere else?

CENTRO POBLADO — "Sunny with a chance of fish..." In one area of northern Honduras, weather forecasters await the unlikely arrival of a kind of "fish storm" in the summer months, which allows locals to feast on small silver pesces. It's a phenomenon with no clear scientific explanation. Sound fishy?


The most recent "Lluvia de Peces' ("Fish Rain") happened in Yoro, the department along the country's Caribbean coast, as the Honduran daily El Heraldo reports. Locals say it has been observed in parts of Yoro since the 19th century. After a strong rainstorm subsides, they go out with buckets to collect the fish — experts have compared them to sardines — and enjoy them collectively; in many places the bounty is distributed equally and it's looked down on to profit from the harvest. Indeed, many in this religiously devout region see the bizarre event as a blessing.


The sardine showers occur after particularly intense storms in the rainy months from May to October. Some have suggested that a powerful, coastal gust must carry and drop the little creatures onto some lucky district. The problem is that some Fish Rain hotspots are not near water: the village of Centro Poblado is 200 kilometers from the coast. La Tribuna, another local paper, reports that Honduran weather officials and U.S. experts who investigated the fish in 1970 found them to be freshwater, not sea fish. The observations that clarified little — they were still alive when rainfall had ceased and not endemic to the region.

Others believe the fish come from underground.

Another theory posits that the fish do not fall from the heavens but rise to the surface with underground waters during heavy rains. This is why they come back to the same places year after year. This explanation has been used for other animal showers, which are rare but maybe not as much as you would think: Spiders, frogs and worms have reportedly fallen from the sky in places ranging from Singapore to Australia to Ethiopia.


In Honduras, many locals prefer another explanation, that the fish began to appear after Catholic missionary Manuel de Jesús Subirana prayed to God to alleviate the poverty he saw in Yoro when he arrived in 1858. It seems he got his loaves and fish, and then some.