Quirky World: Prison inmates beat Harvard teams in debate

Some of the stranger stories from around the world

Quirky World: Prison inmates beat Harvard teams in debate

USA: Months after winning a national title, Harvard’s debate team has lost to a group of New York prison inmates.

The showdown took place at the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard College, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club. Last month, they invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this year’s national debate champions over for a friendly competition.

The Harvard debate team was also crowned world champion in 2014. But the inmates are building a reputation of their own. In the two years since they started a debate club, the prisoners have beaten teams from the US Military Academy at West Point and the University of Vermont.

Epic poem


A huge banner displaying what is believed to be the UK’s largest printed poem has been unveiled on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Spiral, by Elizabeth Burns, has been reproduced on a 25 x 8m sign to mark National Poetry Day and will remain in place on the famous street until next summer. The poet, who was a descendant of the family of Robert Burns, died in August aged 57 and her family said it was a poignant moment when they saw her work displayed on the poster for the first time yesterday.

Funeral fiasco


Police say a row at a funeral in Connecticut led to a stabbing and an attempted escape in a limousine.

Family members had gathered for a funeral in All Saints Cemetery in North Haven late Wednesday morning when an argument broke out and one man was stabbed several times.

Police say the suspect tried to flee in the back of a limo but was stopped near the cemetery entrance.

Robert Ferrie, 54, was charged with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and breach of peace. He is being held on a $150,000 bond and is due in court on Thursday. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.

The victim was treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Bull run


A bull elk kept officials on the run in central Waco for seven hours. Officers, game warden, and animal control officials mobilised after a resident reported seeing a moose at about 6am near his home on the southern edge of the city centre, police spokesman Patrick Swanton said.

The animal was cornered and shot with a tranquiliser dart in a stream bed more than a mile from where he was first spotted, Swanton said. The elk was removed to a herd on a nearby ranch.

Horse man jailed


A man has been jailed for six weeks after riding a horse in breach of a court order.

John Ginty had been ordered not to “leave any horse” on a piece of land owned by a housing association near Middlesbrough. He was found to have breached the order by leaving horses on the land and “riding a horse at speed”.

Food fight


A University of Connecticut student who got into a confrontation with a campus food court manager who would not let him buy macaroni and cheese with bacon and jalapeno peppers has been arrested. An obscenity-laced video shows Luke Gatti, 19, arguing with and shoving the manager.

Gatti had been trying to buy the mac and cheese at the university’s student union in Storrs. Police and the manager say he was refused service because he had an open alcohol container.

The video shows Gatti being tackled by another employee, being arrested by police and spitting at the manager before being led away. Gatti, from Bayville, New York, is charged with breach of the peace and criminal trespass.

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