Quirky World: Safety executive blasts mortarboard throwing ban

Some of the stranger stories from around the globe
Quirky World: Safety executive blasts mortarboard throwing ban


A clampdown by a safety-conscious university on the tradition of graduates launching their hats in the air has been condemned by the Health and Safety Executive.

The University of East Anglia had come under fire after announcing the photo opportunity would not be on offer to students this year following a string of injuries resulting from flying headwear.

The HSE’s Geoff Cox said: “You’d think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one.”

Burger sauna


Finland’s Parliament has one. Nokia has one. And now a Burger King restaurant in downtown Helsinki has its own sauna.

Hanne-Mari Ahonen, brand manager for Burger King in Finland, said the idea was to combine local traditions with serving burgers.

She says the restaurant had “lots of good feedback” since they opened last year, with groups of 15 accounting for some 60 or more people attending every week.

Customers do not eat in the steam bath — that comes after the big sweat. “No, no, the sauna is for sweating it out, and our hamburgers taste all the better for it afterward,” she said.

The sauna costs €250 to €300 for a group, depending on weekday or weekend. The meal costs extra.

No punishment

USA: A Texas school district says no one will face punishment after video surfaced of high school students using a cat’s intestines as a jump rope during a lesson.

Officials with the North East Independent School District told KENS-TV the incident happened earlier this month during an anatomy class at Winston Churchill High School.

The district said the teacher felt the lesson was “effective” for demonstrating how long and tough intestines are.

Spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor says the lesson was not meant to be disrespectful. She says neither the students nor teacher will be punished because there is no “ill will.” But she says the district will update the lesson plan.

Hatching out


Zoo keepers have captured the moment a tiny tortoise began hatching from its shell.

The African pancake tortoise, roughly the size of a 50p coin, hatched two weeks ago in the reptile house at Bristol Zoo.

Curator of reptiles Tim Skelton said: “It’s brilliant to witness the hatching of any reptile, and I was lucky enough to have my camera ready to capture the moment this little female tortoise emerged into the world.”

Left foot


A severed human foot found in a park was probably an anatomical specimen used in teaching, according to police.

The left foot was found by dog-walkers on top of bramble bushes in Weston Park East, Bath, in February.

Temporary Detective Inspector Paul Catton said: “We are satisfied that no crime has been committed and that the foot is more than likely an exhibit from a medical or educational establishment.”



Police in Hawaii are looking for cat burglars who absconded with six dogs from a Humane Society shelter.

Police said in a statement that three mixed-breed pitbulls, two Airedale terriers and a two-month-old labrador named Arianna, were taken from the shelter on Kauai . Police say the thieves cut a lock off a gate to get into the shelter and make off with the furry friends.

The puppy named Arianna has a microchip implanted, according to the Humane Society, which is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for the tips that lead to an arrest and conviction.



A US police sergeant looking for speeding motorists captured a fireball streaking across the sky on his dashboard camera.

The bright flash was apparently left by a meteor burning up as it passed through Earth’s atmosphere.

Portland police sergeant Tim Farris was parked in front of the Central Fire Station when his camera captured the meteor lighting up the sky. Another officer who was chatting with him was heard exclaiming “Oh my God!”.

Owl rescue


A Philadelphia television meteorologist has broken off from a trail run to rescue an injured baby screech owl and take it to a wildlife centre, where it’s doing well.

WPVI-TV personality Cecily Tynan says on her Facebook page she found the injured owl on the ground clacking its beak at her.

The Schuylkill Centre for Environmental Education says the month-old owl fell out of its nest and probably wouldn’t have survived for long on the ground.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox