Quirky World: When trillions don’t cover the bus fare home

ZIMBABWE: Harare resident Alice Mhandara spent a US dollar to take the bus into town to answer the government call to trade in her old Zimbabwe dollars, but she left the bank in disgust when her 90 trillion in old currency wouldn’t even cover the bus ticket home.

Quirky World: When trillions don’t cover the bus fare home

Starting this week, Zimbabweans started trading in their stashes of the defunct local dollars for US dollars as part of a process to phase out a currency that hasn’t been used since 2009 and features bills with at least 12 zeros. But few have taken them up on their offer.

“I used a dollar just to get into town. I will need another dollar to return home. Tell me, where will I get that dollar when they are offering me 36 cents for 90 trillion [Zimbabwe] dollars?” she asked.

At its worst, in 2009, inflation ran 230 million percent and the government was printing a 100 trillion dollar note — that is now worth 40 cents.

Economic decline led to a collapse of the Zimbabwean currency in the 2000s and it finally had to be abandoned in favour of US dollars and South African rand.

The trade is part of a process of phasing out the local currency for good, says the government.

But the few who have taken up the government on its offer have been left disappointed.

Others fear the trade-in is just a prelude to revive the local currency — a plan the government denies.

“Zimbabweans are so traumatised and as a result there is no confidence among us as a nation,” said bank governor Mangudya about inflation. “We are trying to end that trauma by officialising the death of the Zimdollar.”

Taxi tribute


More than 100 London black cab drivers switched off meters to ferry hundreds of war veterans on a day trip to the seaside.

Veterans and their carers were collected by cabbies who drove in convoy on a 30-mile (48km) journey from near Dorking in Surrey to Worthing in West Sussex.

More than 110 London black cabs created a spectacle by parking along the resort’s promenade for the annual veterans’ visit, which is now in its 67th year.

Left out


A primary headteacher has defended her school after five disappointed pupils missed out on a class trip to Disneyland because it was oversubscribed.

Parents of the five boys who were not allowed on the trip to northern France, which includes a day at the theme park, were angry that not enough places had been booked for the year six visit.

They were attending Whale Hill Primary School in Eston, Teesside, this week while friends were enjoying themselves abroad.

It’s not you!


US police say a man accidentally left a Pennsylvania Turnpike plaza without claiming a $500 prize from a lottery scratchcard — only to have another man claim the winnings.

Troopers from the Bedford barracks say the York man accidentally left the voucher displayed on a machine at the South Midway Service Plaza on Friday.

The man had scanned the ticket to verify his winnings, but didn’t want to take a paper voucher — though he left with his winning information still displayed on the lottery machine. After this, another man walked up and claimed the winnings.

Swarm shuts bridge


Authorities say a Pennsylvania bridge was closed for a second night because of swarms of mayflies so thick they caused accidents.

Wrightsville fire officials say the Route 462 bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville was closed

after a vehicle slowing because of the insects caused a crash. The bridge was also closed on Saturday night after three motorcycle crashes attributed to the flies.

Snakes alive


An Ohio pet rescue home is searching for seven rare pythons stolen from a shop over the weekend.

Akron Rattery and Reptile Rescue CEO Robin Everley says the snakes were taken on Saturday when thieves cut a hole in a wall in an adjacent building and broke in. She said the burglars set off the shop’s alarm, snatched the snakes and dashed away.

The snakes are all about six months old or younger and can grow up to 30ft long. She says the snakes — one of which is pregnant — are worth $6,000 (€5,300).

Honesty no longer pays


A tiny Scottish island has been hit by its first crime in decades after thieves raided its only shop.

The community shop in Canna, in the Inner Hebrides, has been run on an “honesty basis” for four years, with customers noting down the groceries and items they take in a book and leaving the money in a box.

Run by volunteers, it is regularly left open overnight to allow fishermen who dock at the island’s pier to get what they need at any time, but the community group which runs the shop said that will now have to chang.

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