QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

A runaway election win? Don’t bet on it

QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

AUSTRALIA: The politicians insist an opposition victory in next week’s election is not a foregone conclusion. But one betting agency is already declaring a winner.

Sportsbet, Australia’s largest online betting agency, said it paid out more than €1.13m to punters who had backed Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party to win power at elections on Sept 7.

A victory by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s centre-left Labor Party is priced at AU$11.50 (€7.75)— the longest odds since betting opened immediately after the last election in 2010. This compares with an opposition price yesterday of AU$1.03.

Sportsbet took the unprecedented step of paying out before a result because it was so confident of an election landslide, spokesman Haydn Lane said.

Rudd said while he was “not a big punter”, his government still had a chance to win a third three-year term.

Annoyed man makes money from cold callers

ENGLAND: A man who got annoyed by cold callers interrupting him while he was watching Coronation Street has got his own back by setting up his own premium rate number which makes him money.

Lee Beaumont paid £10 (€11.70) plus vat to set up his personal line in Nov 2011, and said he has made £300 from the calls he has received since.

Beaumont, from Leeds, told BBC Radio 4: “I was getting annoyed with the PPI calls when I’m trying to watch Coronation Street for instance, so I’d rather have an 0871 (premium number) so I can make 10p a minute. I thought there must be a way to make money off these phone calls.”

Banker makes a ’beautiful’ bequest

ENGLAND: An investment banker has left £2.3m (€2.7m) in his will to a small British seaside resort — with instructions the money is spent on a million flowers.

Canadian Keith Owen, who was 69, made his fortune in the financial industry and travelled the world, but always returned to his favourite place, Sidmouth in Devon. Owen was born nearby and spent most of his holidays in the coastal town admiring its beach, blooms, and Regency architecture.

When Owen was told in 2007 he was suffering lung cancer and had just eight weeks to live, he left the parish his retirement fund, pension and a string of properties.

His massive £2.3m estate — £1.5m in cash and £800,000 from properties – was handed over with a stipulation it had to be spent keeping Sidmouth “beautiful”.

Soldiers make boogie blunder

ISRAEL: A group of Israeli soldiers has danced up a storm of criticism after they were filmed boogying alongside Palestinians while on patrol in the West Bank.

The soldiers were making the rounds in the city of Hebron when they entered a dance hall and joined dozens of Palestinian men dancing to the hit ‘Gangnam Style’. The Israeli military said it considers the incident “serious”, adding that “the soldiers exposed themselves to unnecessary danger and were disciplined accordingly”.

TV footage shows the solders in uniform, flak jackets, and carrying guns. One was hoisted on the shoulders of Palestinian dancers. Other soldiers joined hands and grooved with the partygoers.

And this is how you hold a placard...

CAMBODIA: Opposition supporters in Cambodia are to be given training sessions and rehearsals in how to hold peaceful protests ahead of a mass rally planned for next week.

Sam Rainsy says he will also ask foreign experts to help because the Cambodian people have little experience staging large opposition protests. The opposition wants an independent committee to investigate alleged irregularities in last month’s election.

Official results gave prime minister Hun Sen’s ruling party 68 seats, compared to 55 for the opposition. Hun Sen has been in power for 28 years and shown a heavy hand in dealing with opponents.

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