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

Crack-smoking mayor walks right into trouble


CANADA: It seems that embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford cannot cross the road these days without getting into trouble. Mr Ford received a jaywalking ticket while in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he was attending the funeral of a friend’s mother. He made international headlines last year when he admitted to having smoked crack cocaine while drunk and for other erratic behaviour, but has resisted pressure to step down and plans to run for re-election this year.


USA: The handlers for groundhog Punxsutawney Phil said he is forecasting six more weeks of what already has felt like a brutally long and cold US winter. Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands of fans at around daybreak. Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on February 2, winter will last another month and a half. If he does not see it, spring will come early.


ENGLAND: This year’s British Pie Awards are to feature a new “Fit for a Hero” category to recognise the skills of chefs in the UK’s armed forces. April’s contest at a church in Melton Mowbray — organised by the town’s Pork Pie Association — will also see bakers compete for 18 other prizes, including best football ground pie.


ENGLAND: An adventurer who was seriously hurt in a motorbike accident is thought to have cycled into the record books by becoming the first person to complete a trio of gruelling challenges. Briton James Ketchell was told he would never walk properly again after shattering his ankle in a road accident in 2007. But the 31-year-old Scout ambassador from London rose from his hospital bed to complete a remarkable recovery — and has become the first man believed to have rowed the Atlantic, climbed Mount Everest and completed an arduous global cycle.


RUSSIA: Side-by-side toilets caused a social media sensation last month when they were discovered at the biathlon venue for the Sochi Olympics, swiftly becoming a national joke in Russia. Now, another privy without privacy has been found — right under the noses of the media. The Associated Press found the toilets built for two in a lavatory for female staff and volunteers conducting security checks of journalists at the new Main Media Centre. Unlike the biathlon centre, which had only one toilet paper dispenser, the facilities at the media centre have separate rolls for each user.


BRITAIN: Chart star Ellie Goulding has denied being pressured to wear revealing outfits. The 27-year-old often shows off her slim figure and sported a bondage-inspired get-up on stage in Germany earlier this week. But she has insisted she does not feel compelled to wear skimpy clothes. “No, never. That would never ever come into it,” she told the Sunday Times magazine. “My management would never force me to do anything, because they know I’m a really strong-minded person.”


USA: Britain’s Prince William is a karaoke king with “star quality”, according to American pop star Taylor Swift. William shared a microphone with country singer Swift, 24, as the pair joined Jon Bon Jovi on stage for a rendition of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ at a charity function last year. Footage of the unlikely collaboration at Kensington Palace went viral after the duo were beckoned on stage to belt out the rock classic.


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