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

’All fours’ runner sets 100m record

JAPAN: A Japanese man who runs on his arms and legs has broken his own Guinness world record for the 100-metres dash.

Kenichi Ito finished in 16.87 seconds, shaving more than half a second off his 2012 run of 17.47 seconds.

The 30-year-old has been training for a decade. He studies how primates move through books, videos and zoo visits, and even tries to move on all fours in his everyday life.

Ito hopes racing on four limbs will one day become an official track and field event.

Carlos Martinez, an official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, was on hand to witness the attempt and announced afterward that Ito had set a record.

Wealthy sign of affection

CHINA: A Chinese suitor who gave his future bride an auspicious 8.88 million yuan (€1.07m) in cash drew anger for the extravagant display of wealth in the still-developing country.

Some 18 porters transported baskets and boxes filled with the money, which together weighed more than 102 kilos, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.

Photos showed bamboo baskets stacked with bundles of 100 yuan notes, which are red and depict Mao Zedong, communist China’s founding father.

Members of the man’s entourage showed up at the woman’s house in a fleet of luxury vehicles led by a Maserati sports car, reports said.

A decades-long economic boom has created massive wealth in China but many rural residents and urban poor have been left behind.

“It’s not so much marrying a wife, but buying one. If they really loved each other, there would be no need for such extravagance,” wrote one user of China’s popular weibo microblogs.

The couple are both from rich families in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where it is traditional in some areas to offer engagement gifts, the newspaper said.

The families — both surnamed Huang — chose the amount of money because the word for eight is linked with the meaning “wealth” in Chinese.

Quite an investment

ENGLAND: A painting by LS Lowry which was bought by a museum and art gallery for just £42 is now thought to be worth in the region of £1m (€1.2m).

Houses Near A Mill, painted by Laurence Stephen Lowry in 1941, was procured by Derby Museum and Art Gallery five years after it was created and before the artist became a famous name. The work is instantly recognisable as a Lowry picture, featuring an industrial scene, complete with matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs.

Fine art assistant Amanda Askari said the painting is an important part of the museum’s collection. It will remain in the museum and will be on display from tomorrow to Jan 12.

Rush-hour rush

ENGLAND: The rush-hour commute or shopping for Christmas are many people’s idea of hell, but for some the experience of a crowd is highly enjoyable, according to research.

Psychologists from the universities of Sussex, St Andrews and Leeds examined why some people sought out and gained pleasure from crowded areas.

As part of their research, published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, academics surveyed people at a Fatboy Slim gig in Brighton and a protest march against NHS changes. They found that social identity was a key factor in predicting positive emotions, and that people’s social identification with the crowd led them to seek out and enjoy more dense locations.

Purrfect partners

USA: A New York City kitten which spent a year recuperating with an animal rescue group has finally been adopted — by a fellow Superstorm Sandy refugee.

The white cat, named Joy, was the last of nearly 300 animals that ended up in an ASPCA shelter following the storm. Now she is getting used to her new home with Robert Curran.

His home and family business on the city’s Rockaway Peninsula were partly destroyed by Sandy’s powerful storm surge last year.

Grave matter

USA: An Alabama man has agreed to remove his wife’s remains from his front yard after a four-year fight to keep her grave next to the house where they lived together.

James Davis, 74, told a court he will hire a contractor to remove the body of his late wife, Patsy, and have it cremated. A judge must still approve the plan.

The court ordered him to remove the body after the city of Stevenson won a lawsuit arguing the grave amounted to an illegal cemetery and had to be removed. The City Council rejected Mr Davis’ request for a cemetery permit for his yard after his wife died in Apr 2009, but he buried her a few feet from the front porch anyway.

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