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

Kangaroo meat hopping off the menu

AUSTRALIA: Once considered pet food, kangaroo meat could soon be sold to China as a luxury product, to encourage Chinese consumers to do something few Australians will — eat it.

With a booming middle class, China’s appetite for meat is expected to rise nearly 17% over the next eight years, according to the World Trade Organisation.

Exporters do not yet have permission to sell kangaroo meat to China but recent comments by Australian officials have put the industry in a bullish mood.

“This is something that ticks a whole range of boxes,” agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“I’m going to try and look at further discussions with the Chinese because I think there is a big prospect for a market there.”

Wang Jun, the owner of a small restaurant in Beijing, said he would be keen to try kangaroo.

“Why not? As long as it is delicious,” Wang said.

Beef, pork, and chicken are dietary staples in China but some diners also partake of cat, rat, dog, and more exotic animals in the belief they possess medicinal qualities.

Olympics: Australia allows alcohol but no staggering

AUSTRALIA: The Australian Olympic Committee says athletes will be allowed to consume alcohol at upcoming games but swaying, staggering, and having rambling conversations will not be tolerated.

Committee president John Coates set out the new team rules in a position statement sent to all national governing bodies of Olympic sports, driven by a tumultuous period for swimming after the London Games in 2012, which were marred by ill-discipline, drug use, and drunkenness.

“These restrictions have been implemented to ensure that Australia’s Olympic athletes are given the opportunity to compete to the best of their ability and with distinction,” said Mr Coates.

While team members will be allowed to consume alcohol responsibly, they are “expected to consider the needs of their fellow team members who are preparing for, or are in competition and not behave in a manner which may disrupt or negatively impact on the performance of others”.

Under the rules, athletes will be barred from the Olympic Village or other designated team locations if they are intoxicated and displaying inappropriate conduct.

This includes being: “Argumentative; bad tempered, aggressive or using offensive language; swaying, staggering or falling down; speech which is loud and boisterous; having rambling conversations; having difficulty in paying attention or comprehending others, and annoying fellow team members”.

London was Australian swimming’s first Games without an individual gold medal since the 1976 Montreal Olympics and its worst record haul — of one gold medal, six silver, and three bronze — since 1992 in Barcelona.

Two independent inquiries into what went wrong pointed to a squad lacking leadership and found “toxic” incidents such as drunkenness had gone unchecked.

Gun fails to fire up interest

USA: The revolver carried by Old West lawman James “Wild Bill” Hickok on the day he was shot down at a Deadwood saloon failed to sell at an auction in San Francisco, with bidders failing to meet the steep reserve set by the gun’s owners.

Bonhams Auctioneers started the bidding for the Smith & Wesson No 2 revolver at $150,000 (€110,870), but potential buyers were only willing to pay $220,000, less than what the consigners would sell it for, Bonhams arms and armour specialist James Ferrell said.

The reserve price is private, but it is typically set between 20% and 30% less than the minimum of the item’s estimated value, Ferrell said.

Hickok’s revolver was valued between $300,000 and $500,000.

Professor sets gaming record

USA: A college professor who played a supersized video game on the side of a Philadelphia skyscraper now holds a Guinness world record for the feat.

Drexel University professor Frank Lee recreated the classic Atari game Pong on the 29-storey Cira Centre last spring.

The building essentially became a 5,500sq m screen as hundreds of embedded LED lights replicated the familiar ball and paddles, which were controlled by a joystick about a mile away. Drexel officials learned the project earned Lee the Guinness World Records mark for largest architectural video game display.

Other gaming enthusiasts got to share in the fun in April. Players also tried out giant versions of Space Invaders and Tetris.


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