Future

Pokemon, Magic As NFTs: How Tech Fuels Trading Cards Market

The heroic fantasy universes of the 1990s have become a new focus of investment. One card in the mega-popular Magic series recenty sold for more than $500,000, and with the introduction of blockchain technology, the market looks to expand even more.

Playing cards illustrated by the greatest science fiction and "heroic fantasy" artists of the moment, the blockchain to make them unique digital works, and a series of novels to accompany the story… Welcome to the fairytale universe of Cross the Ages.

Conceived by the young Marseille-based startupper Sami Chlagou, who is already behind a video game distribution and production company, this project aims to turn a generation's passion for trading cards and role-playing games into a business as disruptive and speculative as the cryptocurrency market.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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Weird
Carl-Johan Karlsson

An Ill-Advised Fish Tale From Downtown Oslo

It was a sunny, Scandinavian afternoon when Even Nord Rydningen spotted something in the still waters beneath Oslo's Gullhaug bridge.

"It looked like a trout, but it also looked a bit like a shark," he told Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

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Society
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?

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Society
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.

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Weird
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?


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Weird
Genevieve Mansfield

Popular Taiwanese Cactus Toy Raps In Polish About Cocaine

If not for a Polish shopper, it might have remained lost in translation for all the Taiwanese parents who've bought their kids the popular toy cactus that raps in some exotic language.

But a Polish mother living in the city of Taichung was doing some grocery shopping with her baby at the local Carrefour when she heard something that made her ears perk up: a foul-mouthed Polish rap song referencing cocaine and suicide. It turned out that the source of the obscene music was the singing cactus.

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Society
Genevieve Mansfield

Tokyo Olympic Protest: Woman Tries To Extinguish Torch With Squirt Gun

Many Japanese want to Games cancelled because of COVID risks.

Less than three weeks from the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, much of the Japanese public continues to demand the Games be cancelled because of the risks associated with COVID-19.

After weeks of street protests and petitions, Kayoko Takahashi found a creative way to demonstrate her disapproval: trying to extinguish the Olympic flame with a squirt gun.

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Weird
Genevieve Mansfield

Public Playground Slide Vanishes, Winds Up In Backyard Of Politician’s Relatives

Politics is no child's play, but this is a whole other level. In late May, children in the French town of Saint-Marcel discovered that the slide from the local playground had disappeared overnight. Last week, the local newspaper Paris Normandie reported that the slide had been located, replete with a fresh coat of red paint, in the backyard of a relative of the town's deputy mayor.

Yes, politics has slid this far. Soon after the slide vanished, members of the opposition party, "100% Saint-Marcel," decided to launch an investigation, which eventually discovered the once-public slide was now being enjoyed exclusively by relatives of Eric Pichou, the town's fourth deputy mayor, who also serves as the head of Public Works, Environment and Security for Saint-Marcel.

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Weird
Bertrand Hauger

Pink Floyd Singer Wins Legal Feud Over French Train Station Jingle

C / G / A flat / E flat … Any French traveler hearing these instantly-recognizable four notes would know to listen up and pay attention, as the official jingle for the country's SNCF railway company typically precedes announcements of trains leaving or arriving, platform changes, and all too often ... delays.

But back in 2013, when David Gilmour — the legendary singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd fame — heard the audio alert in the train station of the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence, he wanted to take it home. As local daily Ouest France recalls, the British songwriter promptly got his phone out to record the tune; later on, he tracked down the jingle's composer, French sound designer Michaël Boumendil, to discuss the sampling of the jingle in a future song.

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Weird
Clémence Guimier

Tarmac Voodoo: Plane Struck By Lightning Exorcized After Landing

What happens when lightning strikes a plane? First, thanks to modern safety features, it flies on and lands without incident. But in Togo, airport staff last week made sure one such plane was thoroughly *explored and inspected.

With bolts of lightning regularly striking airplanes, aeronautics has long since developed technologies to ensure the planes can withstand the impact, and pilots and passengers can safely continue their journey.


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Weird
Alidad Vassigh

Poll: 29% Of Tourists Choose Mexico City For Its *Beaches

*¿Dónde está la playa?

A quick look at a map of Mexico will tell you that its capital, Mexico City, lies pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country. With the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico a five-hour drive in either direction, Mexico City is as landlocked as they come. Unlike many other major cities, it doesn't even have a river.

So this may come as a bit of a surprise that a study on tourism in the Mexican capital, conducted by the city's business association COPARMEX, found that almost 30% of potential foreign visitors to the bustling megalopolis said they were particularly looking forward to enjoying "its beaches."

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Weird
Clémence Guimier

Budapest or Bucharest? A Tale Of Very Lost French Soccer Fans

Let's be honest, as European capital names go, Budapest (Hungary) and Bucharest (Romania) are pretty similar. It's even slightly closer in French: Budapest and Bucarest. Still, for six French football fans who wanted to watch last week's France v. Hungary match live, we can only wonder how this geographic blooper could have gone this far.

Oui, oui...the supporters of les Bleus wound up in Bucharest, watching the game on television, rather than the stadium Budapest where France and Hungary finished in a 1-1 draw.

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Society
Bertrand Hauger

Email 'Lost In Spam' Forces Leading Candidate Out Of Election Runoff

The name's Cool, Vincent Cool. But there's nothing cool about what just happened to this local French candidate and his running mate Florence Trévisan.

On Sunday, the left-wing "Divers Gauche" pair came out on top of the first round of departmental elections, in the canton of Ribemont in northern France, with 37,25% of suffrages, in strong position to win ahead of the second-round runoff. So far, so good.

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