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

Retiring police dogs sniff out pensions

ENGLAND: They work hard, sniffing out crime with only the occasional pat on the nose in gratitude.

But police dogs deserve better,according to the police and crime commissioner in Nottinghamshire, who wants to reward them with “pensions” on retirement.

Paddy Tipping says the idea for a canine pension fund came about because officers were picking up the costs for retired police dogs. Handlers normally take dogs home upon retirement. Tipping, however, says he doesn’t “think it’s fair that they have to pay all the bills”.

The plans will be rolled out next month. Up to £500 (€595) annually will be given to handlers for three years to cover veterinary bills for work-related injuries or illness.

NOT SO SWEET

ENGLAND: A sweetshop owner has been fined after he sold 30p Asda Smart Price chocolate bars as “Wonka” bars worth £3.

A court heard that Alexander Gwillym, 39, of Llantarnam, Cwmbran, South Wales, repackaged the supermarket’s discount bars before passing them off as the more expensive Nestle brand at his Sweet66 Ltd shop.

Sweet66 Ltd pleaded guilty at Newport Magistrates’ Court to eight offences of breaching trademark legislation and misleading consumers. The sweets shop, based in Cwmbran Shopping Centre, was fined £400 and asked to pay £1,000 towards the prosecution costs. Gwillym, the owner and director of Sweet66 Ltd, was fined £480.

BLACK CAB BEST

ENGLAND: London has been voted the world’s favourite city for taxis, as long as cabbies do not take “the scenic route”.

The capital topped a global list in five out of seven categories in a Hotels.com survey involving more than 2,600 respondents from 30 countries.

The overall result meant London taxis were considered the world’s best ahead of second-placed New York, with Tokyo third and Berlin fourth. But the poll found the biggest pet hate for UK travellers was taxi drivers taking a longer route to their destination.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

BRITAIN: Nearly two thirds of Britons regret not recording wartime stories told to them by parents or grandparents, according to a poll.

The poll, carried out before Remembrance Day, reveals 64% of people have been told war anecdotes by their elders — but only 8% have recorded them for future generations.

The survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll for LifeBook UK found 62% of people regretted the missed opportunity.

BIKE RECOVERED

USA: A motorcycle is being returned to its owner 46 years after it was stolen from his backyard.

US customs and border protection said the black and blue 1953 Triumph Tiger 100 was recovered last week at the Port of Los Angeles. It was on its way to Japan, with its value listed as $9,000 (€6,680).

The bike was reported stolen in Feb 1967. It will be returned to its original owner, who is now in his 70s and lives in Omaha, Nebraska.

PREGNANCY SNIFFER DOG

USA: Zoos will soon find out if a beagle named Elvis can let them know when their polar bears are pregnant.

The 2-year-old has been trained by a handler who has taught dogs to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs. A Cincinnati Zoo scientist had the idea after reading about studies on using dogs to detect cancer.

Elvis is investigating faecal samples of 22 female bears from 14 zoos. When he is done, the zoos will be informed whether Elvis predicts they will be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny paws later this year.

STUCK STUDENT

USA: A 19-year-old New York University student might have been trapped between two buildings for as long as two days.

It is unclear how Asher Vongtau got stuck between a five-storey car park and a 17-storey university dormitory in lower Manhattan.

A fire department spokesman said rescue workers broke through a concrete wall to reach Vongtau. He was wedged in an area 15cm to 45cm wide. It took 90 minutes to pull him out.


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