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

Our cab in Havana to be parked in museum

ENGLAND: A London cab painted in the colours of the Cuban flag is to be handed over to a motor museum in Havana — a place its owner has described as its “spiritual home”.

Tony Caccavone, 70, said that waving goodbye to his taxi — painted in Cuban colours to show solidarity with the country in the face of US sanctions — will be “like losing part of my family”.

The London cabbie, who was born in Camden but now lives in Enfield, bought and painted the vehicle in 1997 after Canadian tourists recommended Cuba as a place to visit. Mr Caccavone, known as “Cuban Tony”, said he was “very angry at the struggles of the Cuban people” and when he came back he bought a white cab and had the flag sprayed on it. The Cuban ambassador will be present at the official send-off of the cab at Bolivar Hall, central London.


ENGLAND: British tennis ace Greg Rusedski was praised as a good sport after he was hit by a ball in an unfortunate place as he coached youngsters at the opening of a £1.2m (€1.4m) indoor tennis centre.

A video has emerged of the former British number one suffering the direct hit during the event held to mark the launch of the facility in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The 40-year-old, who was born in Montreal, Canada, but who played for Britain, joined hundreds of youngsters and adults who attended free coaching sessions at the event.

His expert tips appeared to pay off for one young boy, who struck a fine forehand, with the ball hitting Rusedski straight between the legs.


South Africa: A pilot almost became hypothermic during a daring 13,000km solo flight in a 1940s biplane.

The severe European winter weather also proved a challenge to Tracey Curtis-Taylor during her eight-week journey from Cape Town to England.

Ms Curtis-Taylor, 51, who has been a pilot for more than 30 years, realised her dream of recreating the pioneering 1928 flight of Mary Heath, who made history by becoming the first person to fly alone across Africa.

Ms Curtis-Taylor set off from Cape Town in the Spirit of Artemis, a classic 1940s open cockpit Boeing Stearman biplane, and ended her journey by landing in appalling conditions in Goodwood, West Sussex, on New Year’s Eve. Her 40-leg trip, which took her through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and North Sudan, is being made into a feature documentary. Editing is expected to be finished by the spring.


China: Police have discovered 790,000 fake ID records in their system, which can be used to gain benefits, hide assets, and circumvent property ownership restrictions.

The fake records, which included the same people registering with different details, came to light when police used image matching technology, the ministry of public security said.


US: Though they are not considered legally married in Utah, several gay and lesbian couples were feted with a wedding celebration as part of the promotion of an upcoming documentary on gay marriage, The Case Against 8.

The film, which premiered on Saturday, chronicles two gay couples battling against Proposition 8, the California law approved by voters that banned gay marriage. It was eventually declared unconstitutional.

After the HBO documentary’s debut, a reception was held featuring the two couples at the centre of the legal fight, along with the film’s directors, Ben Cotner and Ryan White. The reception also featured gay couples embroiled in a gay marriage battle in Utah.

There was champagne and a wedding cake celebrating the unions, though their legality is disputed.


As he prepares to stand down at Wexford Festival Opera, director David Agler tells Cathy Desmond about the highlights of his 15 years at the helmAll set for his swansong: Director David Agler highlights 15 years at Wexford Festival Opera

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

More From The Irish Examiner