QUIRKY WORLD...Museum to display gun used to shoot Pope John Paul II

Museum devoted to former pope will display gun that nearly killed him

POLAND: A priest in charge of a museum devoted to Pope John Paul II says the gun used by a would-be assassin will be on display as a sign of God’s protection of the pontiff.

Monsignor Jacek Pietruszka said many wonder why trained assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, firing a Browning HP 9mm handgun from close range, injured but did not kill the pope in 1981. “We believe that the pope was saved to continue his mission,” Pietruszka said.

The gun will be among “witnesses” to the happy and sad moments in the late pope’s life at the museum in John Paul’s childhood home in Wadowice, in southern Poland. The expanded museum reopens on April 9.

ENGLAND: Police were called to a school reunion after reports of a group of middle-aged rebels vandalising the building, smoking in toilets, and deliberately setting off fire alarms.

Hundreds of adults — aged from their late teens to 70s — attended the evening at the old Orwell High School in Felixstowe. But the event had to be cancelled as police and firefighters were called after reports that a group, said to be in their 40s and 50s, were misbehaving.

Lewd pictures were drawn on walls and alcohol was smuggled in. A police spokeswoman said the building had to be evacuated, adding: “We are investigating and may consider prosecutions for criminal damage.”

Gun tattoo in Maine prompts heavy police response

USA: Police armed with assault rifles descended on a Maine man’s home after members of a tree removal crew he had told to move off his property reported that he had a gun.

It turned out the “gun” the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith of Norridgewock was just a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his stomach.

Smith, who works nights, was asleep when the tree crew contracted by a utility to trim branches near power lines, woke him up at about 10am on Tuesday.

He went outside shirtless and yelled at the workers to leave. When he’s not wearing a shirt, the tattoo looks like a gun tucked into his waistband.

Smith told the Morning Sentinel the tattoo has never been a problem before.

Police did not charge him.

Toilets taken down from trees

USA: Code enforcement officers in Colorado are agreeing with neighbours who say several toilets hanging from a tree in a community near Colorado Springs are not art.

El Paso County officer Gayle Jackson is disputing claims by an unidentified homeowner who says the toilets are works of art and will be used as bird feeders. The man says he will take the commodes down, but still plans to keep them on his property.

ENGLAND: Cluttered-up cars are causing thousands of drivers to fail the MOT car safety test, while some drivers even turn up for a test sporting no number plates.

Some vehicles are not passing the test as the screenwash has not been topped up, the survey by Whatcar.com found. Test centres are also failing vehicles as they have stickers on the windscreen that block the driver’s view.


USA: Authorities have filed criminal charges against 14 teenagers who allegedly broke into a Southern California mansion and held a party that caused more than $1m (€719,000) in damage and losses, including the theft of a stuffed snow leopard.

Officials say the party, promoted on social media in November, drew more than 100 teenagers to La Habra Heights mansion while the owner was away.

Partygoers entered via a window, trashed the place, and stole items such as designer suits, medieval armour, jewellery, and the mounted leopard.


USA: Wildlife advocates are preparing to retrace the 1,930km path of a wandering wolf whose 2011 trek across Oregon and California attracted worldwide attention.

Members of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition say they hope their journey will help build greater acceptance of wolves as they reclaim lost territories across the west. OR-7 became an international celebrity after leaving north-eastern Oregon in 2011 in search of a mate, crossing territory that had not seen a wolf in decades.

The expedition plans to start in May, and cover 1,450km by bike and 480km on foot in 40 days. The group includes a professional tracker, a storyteller, a documentary maker, and a blogger.

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