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

SAVED FROM SANTA

ENGLAND: A woman who trapped her finger in the mouth of a dancing Father Christmas toy had to be rescued by firefighters.

The unnamed woman dialled 999 after she injured herself while taking her festive decorations down from her home in Market Harborough.

A spokesman for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters attended a property where a woman had her finger caught in a motorised Christmas decoration. The motor on the decoration was reversed and her finger was quickly freed. It is thought the decoration was a dancing Santa Claus toy.”

Watery solution for Chinese meat

CHINA: Seven people are being held in southern Guangdong province for injecting dirty pond water into lamb meat to swell its weight and raise its price, state television reported in the latest food scandal to hit the world’s second largest economy.

The suspects slaughtered up to 100 sheep per day at an illegal warehouse, pumping bacteria-ridden water into the meat before it was sold at markets, food stalls and restaurants in major cities such as Guangzhou and Foshan, China Central Television said.

China has been hit by a number of food safety scandals, from deadly chemical-laced dairy products to recycled “gutter oi” used for cooking.

Last week, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, apologised after a Chinese supplier of donkey meat snacks was found to have mixed fox meat into the product.

Authorities raided the illegal lamb meat abattoir in Guangdong at the end of December, finding around 30 carcasses injected with water, 335 live sheep, forged inspection stamps, and equipment to inject water into the meat, the report showed.

Each sheep was pumped with up to six kilograms of water just after being slaughtered, to add extra weight.

BABY-FACED CANINES

ENGLAND: Dogs may have learned to cash in on a human weakness for child-like faces, new research suggests.

In the study, rescue dogs that were best able to pull on the heart strings of prospective owners were most likely to get new homes.

Their secret was to raise their inner brows and make their eyes appear larger — like those of a baby. Scientists believe it is evidence that domestic dogs have evolved to capitalise on a natural human preference for child-like faces.

TWEET BREACH

ENGLAND: A hospital worker boasted on Twitter that he intended to use pubic hair shaved from a patient to stick on his face and create the famous sideburns sported by Bradley Wiggins, a disciplinary hearing heard.

Paul Nam used the pseudonym “Sir Cockhardt” on the social networking site to tweet: “I was going to save the pubes from the first patient I shaved today and stick them on Wiggins-style”, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) was told.

The operating department practitioner, who was working at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, posted the tweet on Aug 1 2012 — the first of a series on the site before a member of the operating theatre team raised the alarm and Nam was suspended in September that year.

NOVEL INSULTS

CHINA: Diplomats from China and Japan are invoking the evil Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter in their feud over the Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo. China says it glorifies Japan’s militaristic past.

China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said: “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul.”

In response, the Japanese ambassador said China plays “the role of Voldemort in the region by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions”.

IN THE PICTURE

USA: A man who disappeared from his parents’ house in a small New York town on New Year’s Day, leaving behind his wallet, phone and everything else, has been traced through a press photograph.

An Associated Press photographer, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold weather, snapped Nicholas Simmons as he warmed himself on a steam grate in Washington.

Parents Paul and Michelle Simmons saw the picture in USA Today and were relieved to know their son was safe.

HANDCUFF THIEF

USA: A man has been charged with stealing a pair of handcuffs he was wearing when he escaped from a police car.

Douglas Lydic had been cuffed but not yet charged while officers searched a scene in his Indiana home town for drugs.

He climbed out of the car window and was found at his girlfriend’s home miles away.

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