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

Seattle girl escapes serious injury when glasses deflect bullet

USA: A teenage girl avoided serious injury when her glasses deflected a bullet fired during a drive-by shooting at her Seattle home, police said.

The 16-year-old girl was asleep on her living room sofa when shots were fired from a dark-coloured sedan as it passed her house, Seattle police spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson said.

Several bullets went through the walls of the house and one through the front window, Jamieson said. One of the bullets struck the bridge of the teen’s glasses, he said.

She suffered only minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital, he added.

“She is very, very fortunate,” Jamieson said.

Several other people were at the house at the time of the shooting, but no other injuries were reported, Jamieson said.

Police believe the house was targeted in what was likely a gang-related shooting, but the girl was not the intended victim.


INDONESIA: A district chief shut down his local airport after being refused a ticket on a fully-booked flight due to land there.

Marianus Sae, chief of Ngada district in East Nusatenggara province, ordered dozens of city security officers to block the runway of Turarelo airport on Flores island with their cars, forcing a Merpati Nusantara Airlines plane to fly back to Kupang, the provincial capital.

Sae, who was in Kupang and intended to return home, had been denied a ticket for the fully booked flight, said a Transport Ministry spokesman.

“His act was unlawful and could harm the safety of flight and passengers,” he said. “The airport is a vital facility that should not be disturbed for any reason.”

Sae admitted that he ordered the blockade because of disappointment at the airlines’ service when he was in a hurry to attend an urgent session on the budget with the local council.

“The airline has hampered my state duty as the government official, it should be a lesson for its management,” he said.

The blockade triggered a public outcry, with many people complaining on social networks.

Christmas tree banned

ISRAEL: The office of the speaker of Israel’s parliament says he has rejected a Christian lawmaker’s request to publicly display a Christmas tree in the building.

Eran Sidis, a spokesman for Yuli Edelstein, said the speaker rejected the request, but said the parliamentarian could display a Christmas tree in his office and his party’s conference room.

He denied the rejection was connected to Israel’s Jewish character. He said displaying the tree until Orthodox Christmas Jan 7 would be too long.

Hanna Swaid, a Christian lawmaker from Israel’s Arab minority, said a Christmas tree would promote multiculturalism and freedom of religion.

There have been previous bans on public Christmas tree displays. The mayor of a Jewish town bordering Nazareth has previously refused them, though some Christians live there.

Elf and safety

ICELAND: Elf advocates in Iceland have joined forces with environmentalists to urge authorities to abandon a roads project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer.

The project has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on the case by a campaign group which cites the environmental and cultural impact — as they fear disturbing what they say is elf habitat and claim the area is particularly important because it contains an elf church.

A survey conducted by the University of Iceland in 2007 found that 62% of the 1,000 respondents thought it was at least possible that elves, or huldufolk (hidden folk), exist.


ENGLAND: A church is selling a calendar based on toilet puns — to raise money for a new loo.

The congregation of Lydiard Millicent in Wiltshire needs £50,000 to build new facilities at All Saints Church.

Parishioners took part in a photo shoot to illustrate puns involved in well-known toilet euphemisms, including “answer the call of nature” and “take a leak”.


ENGLAND: Burglars have made off with an unusual but seasonal haul after they stole turkeys from a farm.

Thieves took eight birds, worth around £800, from a large chiller at a farm in Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire, which were packed and ready for the Christmas oven.

West Mercia Police said the incident happened at the rural property, which lies off the A417 between Leominster and Newtown crossroads.


USA: The US state of Texas has its own Hispanic Father Christmas called Pancho Claus.

Born from the Chicano civil rights movement, his rise has coincided with a growing interest in Mexican art, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day and other cultural events.

Each city’s Pancho has a unique local flavour, but all share roots that set Pancho apart from Santa.

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