QUIRKY WORLD ... Argument builds to workers’ destruction derby

Some of the stranger stories from around the world

CHINA: An argument between construction workers escalated into a demolition derby-style clash of heavy machinery that left at least two bulldozers flipped over in a street, police in northern China said.

In online video, several bulldozers are seen ramming each other while passenger cars scurry away from the cloud of dust. The video shows one driver running unhurt out of his toppled bulldozer, a fast-moving type also known as a wheel loader, while a friendly bulldozer tries to lift it back up.

The construction workers were from two companies competing for business, Xu Feng, said a local government spokesman in Hebei province’s Xingtang county. China’s construction sector has fallen on hard times, with growth down by two thirds from its peak a decade ago.

A Titanic auction

NORTHERN IRELAND:

A ticket stub from the VIP enclosure of the launch of the Titanic is to be sold at auction this month.

The ticket stub belonged to Harland & Wolff secretary Charlotte Irwin, who was just 20 and worked in the drafting office at the Belfast firm’s shipyard when the Titanic was being built.

When the ocean liner was launched on May 31, 1911, Ms Irwin was in an executive box set aside for specially invited White Star Line and Harland & Wolff staff — giving her a great view of the Titanic sliding down the ways into the water. Ms Irwin kept the ticket, No 116, as a souvenir of a memorable day.

Shakespeare on the money

ENGLAND:

A set of £2 commemorative coins marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death has been released into circulation.

Launched by Paapa Essiedu, currently starring as Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) summer season, the special edition pieces feature three designs, representing the playwright’s comedies, histories, and tragedies.

Produced by the Royal Mint in collaboration with the RSC, the collection is the first of its kind, dedicated to the accomplishments of a single artist.

Inspired by RSC props, and designed by acclaimed sculptor John Bergdahl, the comedies are represented by a jester’s hat and staff, the histories by a crown and a dagger, and the tragedies by a skull and a rose.

Lesson for university

USA:

More than 5,000 prospective students have mistakenly been notified by email that they have been accepted into a university in New York state.

University at Buffalo spokesman John DellaContrada said the mistaken email was sent to students whose applications had not been fully reviewed. The university sent a second email about three to four hours later notifying the students of the gaffe and apologising for it, he said.

The university posted a statement on its website saying the “miscommunication occurred when an incorrect email list was generated from an applicant database”.

The statement said it is important to note the students who received the mistaken email are still being considered for acceptance by the university. The University at Buffalo has about 30,000 students.

Bedbugs vs jailbirds

USA:

The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office says dozens of inmates have been moved out of three pods at the county jail due to a month-long bedbug infestation.

Spokesman Mark Opgrande said the infestation was first noticed about a month ago, and a local business that contracts with the jail tried to eradicate the bedbugs but was unsuccessful.

Opgrande said two of the pods were heavily populated at the time, housing about 50 inmates each.

A Dallas-based business that specialises in bedbug extermination was called in to give the jail a quote. Opgrande said other pest control businesses will also give the jail quotes in the coming days.

No turtle power

USA:

Some turtles having a tough time crawling out of an updated Texas pond can now use special exit ramps.

The small lake at Boys Ranch Park in Bedford was lined with concrete and has steeper embankments. The reptiles were having trouble getting in and out of the water.

City workers have installed three exit ramps made of rocks to make navigation easier for the turtles and other animals, including ducks.

City spokeswoman Natalie Foster says the plan originally called for one ramp for turtles, then workers realised that wasn’t enough.

The small turtle ramps measure about 1.5m long and 60cm wide.

Students lion around

USA:

Students and teachers at a Los Angeles high school missed their lunch break after a mountain lion strolled onto campus and tried to join them.

The big cat was spotted walking across the quad at John F Kennedy High School shortly after noon. Instead of sitting down to eat, students and teachers quickly secured themselves in classrooms and called authorities.

Police sealed off the area until a game warden could arrive and knock the animal out with tranquiliser darts


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