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

Soccer club rebels with Guevara strip

BRAZIL: A soccer club has won fans and commercial success with a new strip featuring the face of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

Madureira, a third division team from Rio de Janeiro’s gritty northside, put Che’s face on their seven-a-side shirts to commemorate a tour of the island they made 50 years ago.

The goalkeeper’s jersey is designed exactly like the Cuban flag.

The new maroon outfield designs, featuring the shadow of the revolutionary’s image, have not yet been used in an official match, but they are already a huge hit with fans.

Sales have rocketed from the usual 10 a month to more than 3,000 in the weeks since it was launched.

“The factory can’t keep up with demand,” Madureira’s president Elias Duba told Reuters. “It’s taken on a whole life of its own.”

The club chose to honour Che after playing five games in Cuba in 1963. Che met the players at their hotel in Havana and was at the last game of their unbeaten tour, Duba said.

Where there’s a will, there’s a fortune

France: The only known copy of the will of Napoleon Bonaparte has sold at auction for €357,000, more than twice the expected price.

The French buyer said he wanted to remain anonymous and planned to keep the will in a private collection.

The will — dated Apr 16, 1821 — offered exceptional insights into Napoleon’s final moments before his death 19 days later. The ailing 51-year-old wrote he wanted his ashes spread over River Seine in Paris. They were instead transferred to Paris’ Invalides monument nearly two decades later. The original, penned in Napoleon’s own illegible hand, is in France’s national archives.

What price justice?

DUBAI: With a $2.5m (€1.8m) Bugatti Veyron and a nearly $550,000 Lamborghini Aventador already patrolling the streets, Dubai police have decided to expand their luxury spending spree by adding a custom-made Mercedes Brabus SUV to its fleet.

Despite the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities, the Brabus B63-S 700 Widestar will be dispatched to tourist areas. Quoted by the United Arab Emirates-backed newspaper The National yesterday, Dubai Police fleet director Col Nabil Al-Redha says the vehicles are “a good advertisement” for the city and its police force.

The Brabus joins a glitzy fleet of cars that include an Aston Martin One-77, a Ferrari FF, a Bentley Continental GT and two Audi R8s — all painted in green-and-white colours of the Dubai force.

Rouble rebrand gains currency

RUSSIA: The central bank is rebranding the rouble, offering the public a say on a new logo to back Kremlin efforts to enhance the international appeal of a currency tarnished by the upheaval and hyperinflation of the early post-Soviet period.

The central bank has published five proposed rouble symbols on its website, inviting voters to pick one and give a brief written explanation for their choice. At present there is no generally recognised symbol.

President Vladimir Putin wants to burnish the rouble’s image as a safe investment in contrast to established reserve currencies like the dollar, euro, or yen at risk from loose monetary policy pursued by their central banks.

“The introduction of the graphic symbol of the rouble will help promote a positive image of Russia, the capital of which aspires to the status of an international financial centre,” the central bank said.

In Soviet times the rouble was an object of ridicule by some, the scarcity of goods to buy with it giving birth to the popular quip “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work”. After the break-up of the Soviet Union the rouble was hit by hyperinflation. Devaluations followed in 1998 and 2008.

Now, under its new chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina, the central bank is allowing the currency, lifeblood of any economy, to float more freely as Russia opens up its financial markets to foreign investors.


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