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

USA: North America’s tallest peak, Alaska’s Mount McKinley, may have been taken down a notch.

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

An effort to update decades-old maps using aircraft-mounted radar technology showed the mountain, called Denali by locals, stands at 20,237 feet (6,168 metres).

That’s 83ft (25m) shorter than an estimate of 20,320ft (6,194m) from the early 1950s.

McKinley would still be more than 680ft (207m) taller than the continent’s second highest peak, Canada’s Mount Logan.

The discovery was made in 2011, after data from a 2010 flight was processed, but details weren’t widely released until this week by Lt Gov Mead Treadwell.

The US Geological Survey says there are no plans to make the estimate McKinley’s new official elevation. It says additional study and surveying would have to be done. There are no plans for such a survey.

Mayor chains ban has minister rattled

ENGLAND: A ban on the mayor of Mansfield wearing ceremonial chains of office has been branded “plain silly” by a coalition minister.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis defended use of the historic “bling”, accusing the Labour-dominated local council of “political correctness”.

Tony Egginton became the Nottinghamshire town’s first elected mayor in 2002 after standing as an independent. But the leader of the council’s Labour group, Martin Lee, has insisted the council chairman should wear the ornate gold civic chains rather than the mayor, reportedly accusing Mr Egginton of “parading around in bling”.

Loo with a view

ENGLAND: “Bog-standard” toilets on Chiltern Railways trains are being turned into “inspiration stations” to give passengers “a window into a different world”, the firm said.

The company has installed floor to ceiling vinyl images in the toilets of its Birmingham to London trains for those seeking inspiration. The first “inspiration station” has been designed to resemble Compton Verney, an 18th century country mansion-turned-art gallery in Warwickshire.

Chiltern Railways director Thomas Ableman said: “We’re always looking at ways to create a memorable experience for our passengers. Toilets are traditionally a place to avoid, so we have transformed them into an inspirational space with a view. Our only concern is that they’ll be so popular we’ll have people queuing up for the best seat on the train.”

Dimples the Clown in crash

USA: Driver Dimples the Clown, 83, escaped with a minor bump on the head when his minivan collided with an SUV in Pennsylvania as he headed for the York Fair.

His passenger and fellow clown, 77-year-old Norman Clouser, was unhurt. Police said Dimples was wearing clown shoes but the oversized footwear apparently did not play a role in the crash.

Officers said Dimples missed the fair entrance and collided with the SUV while making a U-turn. The minivan was also pulling a trailer with a clown car. Officers did not know if the clowns ever made it to the fair.

Paying to park in their driveway

USA: Some residents in a US city are being ticketed for parking in their own driveways under an obscure regulation that requires them to pay $225 for a permit if they wish to park within 30ft of a street.

Pittsburgh city council members say they have been getting complaints about the tickets which are issued by its building inspection agency.

The agency does not issue tickets unless residents complain and, often, those complaints are not prompted by people who park in driveways but by those who create cement or gravel pads in front of their homes. Those pads are often too close to the street and used to park larger commercial vehicles, which some consider eyesores. The council hopes to provide relief for driveway parkers swept up in the process.

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