QUIRKY WORLD ... Final fare(well) as taxi driver’s last ride is to his own funeral

PUERTO RICO: Taxi driver Victor Perez Cardona’s final fare was highly unusual: A wreath of flowers for his own funeral.

Honouring his final request, the body of the 73-year-old, who died of cancer, was propped in the seat of his taxi cab, hands locked on the wheel, as if to drive himself to his funeral. A wreath of flowers was in the back seat of the vehicle parked at the funeral home.

Friends and colleagues mourned the man who had driven a taxi for the last 15 years of his life. “This is a funeral of the people. People have come from all over the island. Some climbed in the taxi with him,” said his daughter Generosa Perez Torres.

Since 2008, Puerto Rico has developed a tradition of odd wakes, including a young man mourned seated on his motorcycle, a boxer standing in the ring, and an 80-year-old woman sitting in her favourite rocking chair and wearing her old wedding gown.


Shoplifter stars on CCTV

NORTHERN IRELAND: A shoplifter was caught stealing from a Tesco supermarket after CCTV footage revealed he was wearing his name on the back of his shirt.

Paul Robert Benson was caught on security cameras helping himself to £104.54 (about €147) of Tesco produce from a store in Belfast last September.

His planned getaway backfired spectacularly when staff and police apprehended him after reviewing video footage which showed him wearing a Manchester United shirt with “Benson 22” emblazoned on his back.

The stolen items were recovered in a car park after Benson abandoned them on seeing Tesco staff who had spotted him.


Metal mounted

ENGLAND: Work to piece together thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard has uncovered two more examples of 7th century “warrior splendour”.

Researchers say the silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel were probably made in workshops set up by some of England’s earliest kings.

Both items from the hoard, found in a field near Lichfield in 2009, have been put on display at Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery.


The 72,000 ladybird prank

USA: Police have charged seven suspects over a prank that released 72,000 ladybirds in a high school.

Five people wearing masks and hoodies forced open a door at Chopticon High School in Morganza, Maryland, and released a swarm of ladybirds throughout the school while two others waited in a car.

One suspect ordered the ladybirds online, deputies said. Four juveniles have been charged with burglary, property destruction, and disruption of school activities.


High roller’s 5,000th ride

USA: An 82-year-old fan of a historic rollercoaster has celebrated his 5,000th ride on it — sitting for more than eight hours and logging 95 spins around the wooden ride in a single day.

Vic Kleman marked the milestone on the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Mifflin. His number of rides honoured the rollercoaster’s 95th birthday this season.

“I feel great,” said Kleman, a retired general manager of a wholesale grocery firm and a local actor. “I made sure to move my legs throughout the day to keep from getting stiff after sitting so long.”

In 2010, Kleman also said he felt “great” after notching his 4,000th ride on the wooden coaster, which dates back to 1920 and has a 25m double-dip drop. He rode the coaster 90 times that day and 80 times to mark his own 80th birthday. He has been riding the world’s fifth-oldest coaster since 1959, when he moved to Pittsburgh.



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