QUIRKY WORLD ... 300 participants fist-bump into the record books

USA: Some 300 people in Alaska looking to raise awareness of homelessness are the new world record holders in fist-bumping.

A Guinness World Records representative verified each of the fist bumps passed along a line of registered participants in a fenced-off area.

An improper fist bump could have meant disqualification.

The United Way of Anchorage organised the event. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Alaska first lady Donna Walker, and people who work with homeless youth were among those who joined in.

United Way of Anchorage president Michele Brown said fist-bumping was chosen to represent a strong affirmation of what the community stands for.

The previous record was set by a chain of 250 people.

Wheelie good

ENGLAND: A Dutch rider has set a new record for the fastest wheelie in the world.

Egbert van Popta’s success came after he launched his motorbike on its back wheel at a speed of 213mph at the 11th annual Motorcycle Wheelie World Championship. This beat the previous record of 209mph (343km/h) set by Liverpool rider Gary Rothwell in 2015. Van Popta rode a Hayabusa Turbo 1300CC at the contest at the Elvington Airfield, North Yorkshire, where he beat about 40 rivals from the UK, US, France, Holland, and Ireland.

Banksy artwork busted

ENGLAND: A famous Banksy artwork satirising government surveillance was destroyed during work to protect the listed building it was painted on.

The Spy Booth mural showed three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a phone box.

It appeared overnight in April 2014 on the wall of a house in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few kilometres from GCHQ where the UK’s surveillance network is based.

But the wall has mysteriously been stripped back to the brickwork, with photos showing rubble lying on the ground around the phone box, which was central to the piece.

Cheltenham Borough Council has met with the owner of the property, 159 Fairview Rd, and confirmed the mural was damaged during repair work to the building, a Grade II listed Georgian end-of-terrace home.

Pot parade

USA: Nine living marijuana plants will be displayed at the Oregon State Fair in a first-of-its-kind event for the US.

The exhibit brings pot cultivation into the agricultural mainstream less than two years after Oregon voters legalised recreational marijuana. The Oregon Cannabis Business Council said it is the first time live cannabis will be shown at a US state fair.

The plants will be housed in a translucent tent with extra security. Nobody under 21 will be allowed into the display and the plants may not have any buds. Recreational marijuana remains illegal in 46 states but the business is booming in Oregon, which recently quadrupled its recreational marijuana net state tax revenue estimate.

Married to mob and Pats

USA: Despite moving more than 1,600km from Boston, an ex-mob boss remained an ardent supporter of the New England Patriots while in witness protection.

Members of an Atlanta-based Patriots fan club told WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island, that Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme had attended at least three of the group’s game-watching parties under an assumed name during the past two seasons.

Salemme entered witness protection in 1999 after testifying against fellow mobsters James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, as well as their handler, retired FBI agent John Connolly Jr.

John Gray, president of the Atlanta fan club, said he feels bad for Salemme’s victims, but “when you’re a Patriots fan, you’re family”.

Salemme was arrested last week in Connecticut on charges he murdered a witness in 1993.

Inflatable invasion

CANADA: Authorities have stopped an invasion: 1,500 people on inflatable rafts and boats that drifted across the border from Michigan during high winds on the St Clair River.

The 12km Port Huron Float Down is an annual event on the river that divides Michigan from Ontario, Canada. But the winds turned it into an international incident.

“The event has no official organiser and poses significant and unusual hazards given the fast-moving current, large number of participants, lack of life jackets, and as was the case this year, challenging weather conditions,” said Sarnia police.

It took hours for a bus service to transport 1,500 US citizens back to Michigan.

“They were unprepared to be stranded anywhere,” said Sgt Scott Clarke.


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