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

Alcoholics given beer as incentive to drink less

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

BEER BONUS

THE NETHERLANDS: A group of alcoholics in Amsterdam are being given beer in exchange for collecting litter, eating a decent meal, and sticking to a schedule drawn up for them.

Under a project run by city officials and a charity, the men start with two beers, work, eat lunch, get two more beers, and work before their last beer. They are paid €19 in beer, tobacco, food and cash.

Participant Karel Slinger, 50, said he is still an alcoholic but things are better. “Yes, of course in the park it is nice weather and you just drink a lot of beer,” he said of his old life. “Now you come here and you are occupied.”

The project was launched after a group of ageing, rowdy alcoholics plagued a city park.

Rainbow Group Foundation leader Gerrie Holterman said: “We get them to drink less during the day and get them to think about what they want to do with their lives.”

OLD BONES

ENGLAND: The bones of King Alfred the Great or his son, Edward the Elder, are believed to have been found in a box stored in a museum — and not in an unmarked grave as previously thought.

Archaeologists carried out an exhumation of the grave at St Bartholomew’s Church in Winchester, Hampshire, last March in a bid to find the last resting place of the ninth-century king. Tests have shown that those remains were not the influential warrior king but further investigations have uncovered a pelvic bone which had been in storage at Winchester City Museum from a previous excavation in the 1990s.

Carbon dating has shown that this bone dates back to 895-1017, which scientists from the University of Winchester believe ties in with the death of the two kings and is unlikely to have come from anyone apart from the father or the son.

FLASHING MOB

ENGLAND: Up to 30 hardy exhibitionists braved wind and rain to bare all in a naked flash mob on a beach.

The stunt was staged in Hastings, East Sussex, in an effort to attract acclaimed photographer Spencer Tunick to the seaside town. The resort’s Jerwood Gallery is on a three-strong shortlist, alongside venues in Folkestone, Kent, and Brighton, vying to host American Tunick, famed for mass nude photoshoots.

KIT KAT RULING

ENGLAND: A judge deliberating on a legal dispute relating to the shape of a Kit Kat has decided to have a break — and wait for a decision from a European court. Mr Justice Arnold is analysing a High Court argument between Nestle — which sells Kit Kat bars — and Cadbury.

Nestle wants to register the three-dimensional shape of a Kit Kat as a trademark. Cadbury has objected.

The judge said aspects of European trademark law were “unclear”.

HAUNTED HOUSE

USA: Pennsylvania homeowners Gregory and Sandi Leeson found their 113-year-old Victorian home creepy so when they put the house up for sale they advertised it as “slightly haunted”.

They had lots of calls from ghost hunters and curiosity seekers, but no legitimate buyers. Then a former resident came out of the woodwork to say that when he was a child, he found a human skull in the basement.

Now the Leesons say they might consider renting it out — by the night — to people looking for spooky thrills.

DOGGY PADDLE

BRAZIL: About a dozen dogs and their owners have been taking to the waves on stand-up paddle boards off Rio de Janeiro’s Barra Beach, practising for a second annual competition in which canine-human teams race around buoys. Competitors are disqualified if the dog falls into the water.

Organisers say it is “a sport everybody can do. You don’t have to be an athlete to do it... any dog can do it.”

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