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

Burgers fry French love of baguettes

FRANCE: The hamburger may be a quintessentially American food, but is fast winning over the French, who increasingly choose a beef burger wedged into a bun over a baguette sandwich.

Research by the Gira marketing and consulting firm found that nearly one of every two sandwiches sold in the country last year was a burger, up from one in nine in 2000.

Although the French are famously proud of the their cuisine, Gira found that burgers are making inroads into traditional restaurants.

Gira’s director Bernard Boutboul said the firm found “75% of traditional French restaurants offer at least one hamburger on their menu” and that a third of said burgers were beating steak or fish dishes.


SCOTLAND: Visitors to a popular botanic garden were surprised to find a snake living among the trees and plants.

The 2ft California kingsnake was discovered in the warm palm house at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in the west end of the city.

Staff called the SSPCA, which rescued the non-poisonous snake and took it to the charity’s rehoming centre in Cardonald. Carers have named him Dermot and are trying to trace his owner.


AUSTRALIA: An Australian cricket fan who allegedly smuggled a pig into a Brisbane sports ground during a match against England has agreed to undergo mediation with the RSPCA.

David Gunn, 33, was charged with animal cruelty after the pig was sneaked into the Gabba ground with its snout taped shut and disguised as a baby. Gunn was found holding the 12kg domestic brown dwarf pig, named Ash, in a baby harness on the first day of the first Ashes test in November.

Police did not oppose the decision of the Brisbane magistrates’ court to send the case to mediation, as CCTV footage showed Gunn was not in possession of the pig when he entered the ground.


USA: An East Tennessee magistrate has been replaced months after ordering a baby’s name changed from Messiah to Martin because she believes Messiah is a title held only by Jesus Christ.

Lu Ann Ballew was a child support magistrate, serving at the pleasure of the chief judge of Tennessee’s fourth judicial district. Judge Duane Slone removed Ballew from her position and appointed a new magistrate. His order does not explain why he ended her appointment.

Ballew, a lawyer, still faces a March 3 hearing on accusations that she violated Tennessee’s code of judicial conduct, which requires judges to perform all duties without bias or prejudice based on religion. Ballew’s August name change decision was overturned at a September hearing.


HOLLAND: On any given evening, thousands of tourists stroll down the narrow canal-side streets of Amsterdam’s famed Red Light District, gawking at women in lingerie who work behind windows, making a living selling sex for money.

Now, a small museum is opening in the heart of the district to show reality from the other side of the glass.

Organiser Melcher de Wind said the Red Light Secrets museum, located in a former brothel, is for those who want to learn more about how the area works without actually visiting a prostitute.


USA: A woman who escaped from a Michigan prison nearly 37 years ago has been found living under an alias in San Diego, authorities said.

Judy Lynn Hayman, 60, is in a local jail awaiting extradition to Michigan, San Diego police lieutenant Kevin Mayer said. Police acting on a tip from Michigan prison officials went to a home and found a woman fitting Hayman’s description. She identified herself as Jamie Lewis and produced government documents with the name.

However, Mayer said officers were suspicious and took her to a station, where she admitted being Hayman. She escaped from a prison in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1977 while serving time for attempted larceny.


ENGLAND: Prince Charles’s nose proved an irresistible attraction to a toddler whose parents watched their home burn to the ground during the London riots of 2011.

Charles returned to the scene of the major disturbance to learn how the area is recovering following a major injection of funds and resources.

He shared a light moment with husband and wife Mehmet and Burcin Akbasak — who lost their home when rioters set fire to the Carpetright building and flats above.

In the shadow of the rebuilt building, Charles sympathised with the couple as they held their twin daughters Kayla and Lara, aged 12 months.

Kayla reached out and made a grab for Charles’s nose and he leant forward and happily let the toddler play with his face.

Akbasak said: “Both my daughters are friendly but Kayla was quite interested in the prince and they shared a nice moment.”


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