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

Abba outfits all about money, money, money

SWEDEN: The garish outfits complete with spangles, sparkles, bright colours, and bold lines which made up Abba’s trademark stage costumes were in fact part of a tax-saving scheme.

The outrageous outfits were regularly seen on the foursome in their heyday during the 1970s. Apart from being eyecatching, they helped the Swedish supergroup exploit a Swedish law which meant clothes were tax deductible if their owners could prove they were not used for daily wear, the Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine reports.

Band member Bjorn Ulvaeus recalls: “In my honest opinion, we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were.”


USA: Two maths students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, lost control of a massive snowball that rolled into a dorm, knocking in part of a bedroom wall.

The 800lb snowball crashed into a college hall of residence causing thousands of dollars worth of damage after the students began making the snowball during a rare snowstorm.

“The ball just got away from them,” said college spokesman Kevin Myers. Luckily no one was hurt, but between $2,000 and $3,000 of damage (€1,460 and €2,190) was caused when it cracked a bedroom wall.


ENGLAND: Standing at 7ft tall, 12ft long, and 8ft wide, a prickly creature that is bigger than a rhinoceros or 4x4 has been unveiled to mark the launch of a new David Attenborough series.

The giant hedgehog emerged from two months of hibernation at a workshop — where a team of sculptors crafted him from 2,000 soft wood spikes and fake fur consisting of a willow and coconut fibre-mix — to help Attenborough launch his series Natural Curiosities.

The wildlife expert described the giant hedgehog, as it was unveiled at Clapham Common in south London, as “a fitting tribute to one of our most delightful species”.


USA: A camel created a stir in Los Angeles County when it got out of its enclosure and chased cars until it was rounded up.

Sheriff’s deputy John Cereoli said the camel was reported to have escaped from someone’s property in the Acton area and the incident lasted about a half hour.

The deputy says the camel was not injured.


IRAN: Iranian media say state TV has stopped broadcasting a series after protesters in the south west claimed it insulted a prominent local tribe.

IRNA said state TV suspended Sarzamin-e Kohan, or The Ancient Land. The series is set in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s when Iran was a monarchy, before its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Protesters reportedly claim the series defames the large and powerful Bakhtiari tribe. A Bakhtiari family in the series is depicted as corrupt, nouveau riche and monarchist.


ROMANIA: Armed with an iPad and a letter of support from an Oscar-winning film director, Remus Cernea is pushing a cause that he acknowledges few of his fellow Romanian lawmakers care about: giving dolphins the same rights as humans.

The 39-year-old activist politician introduced a bill in parliament last week that would recognise the marine mammals as “non-human persons”, on account of their highly developed intelligence, personalities, and behaviour patterns.

The bill would make humans and dolphins equal before the law. Dolphin killers would be given the same sentences as murderers of human beings. The bill would also ban the use of dolphins in live entertainment shows.

The aim of the bill is to help protect Romania’s indigenous dolphins in the Black Sea, Cernea said.


Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s growing resentful of her widowed mum’s needy behaviour.Ask a counsellor: My mother is so clingy since losing my dad – what can I do?

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