QUIRKY WORLD... Finnish couple win World Wife Carrying Championship

FINLAND: A couple has narrowly won the 19th World Wife Carrying Championships — a quirky competition in which men race to be the fastest while carrying a female teammate-

Ville Parviainen and Janette Oksman cleared the gruelling 253.5 metre obstacle course in 63.75 seconds, less than a second ahead of Britain’s Rich Blake Smith and Anna Marguerite Smith.

Thirty-six couples from a dozen countries including Australia, Japan, and the United States took part at the central Finnish municipality of Sonkajarvi, north of the capital, Helsinki.

The rules stipulate that the woman must be over 17 years of age and weigh at least 49 kilos.

Despite the event’s name couples don’t have to be married.

The men can carry their teammate in various ways, though a popular method is for the woman to hang upside-down with her legs around the male contestant’s shoulders.

USA: When it comes to pit-spitting in southwestern Michigan, it’s tough to beat the Krause family, who have maintained their dominance in the 41st International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship.

Brian Krause took top honours with a distance of 80 feet, 8 inches, said Monica Teichman, who runs the market at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, just north of the Indiana state line.

Coming in second this year was Brian’s father, Rick, with a spitting distance of 77 feet, 7½ inches. Kevin Bartz took third with 64 feet, 8 inches.

Last year’s big winner was Matt “BB Gun” Krause with a distance of 41 feet, 6½ inches.

The Krause family has won 26 of 41 of the contests since farm owner Herb Teichman launched the tournament in 1974 as a lark — but also to mark the region’s tart cherry harvest.

Brian Krause holds the record spit of 93 feet, 6½ inches, set in 2003.

A strong breeze may have accounted for the long distances after organisers changed the direction of the spitting, Monica Teichman said.

“We had some really good spits here,” she added. “The breeze felt good, but ... it wasn’t good for the spitting. We needed to change because we would have been spitting into the wind.”

This year’s winner received tee time at a nearby golf course, a plaque, a medal, work gloves, a drill bit set and various gift certificates.

ENGLAND: African cichlid fish have a memory span of up to 12 days.

Researchers trained the fish to go to one end of a tank for food before they then rested them for 12 days. When the fish were returned to the tank they spent more time in the area they associated with being fed, the BBC reports.

USA: Police say a man arrested for drunken driving blamed a turtle, a cat, a squirrel and an overhanging tree in a Texas wreck.

When police arrived at the scene, the 33-year-old slurring driver was still in his seat and unaware of his location. A witness told officers the driver passed him on the right shoulder, hit a guardrail, left the road and struck a tree.

The Eagle of Bryan-College Station reports the man told officers he swerved to avoid the critters and hit the tree.

Police didn’t buy the explanation and charged the man with drunken driving.

ENGLAND: A lorry driver got his truck stuck down a narrow country lane after following his sat nav, said police.

Officers from Hertfordshire Police arrived to find the articulated lorry stopped across a tight three-way rural junction between two high hedges, near Stevenage. The driver appeared to have beached his low-riding trailer across a grass mound at the centre of the junction, while trying to manoeuvre his way along the lanes.

USA: Police in Massachusetts have arrested a man they say stole a pack of cigarettes because he wanted to go back to jail.

Officers were called to a shop in Westfield where the assistant told them a man asked for the cigarettes, and then walked out without paying. Police found 40-year-old John Skowron Kirwan, of Springfield, at a nearby bus stop.

When an officer asked the suspect if he attempted to steal the cigarettes, the man replied: “I didn’t attempt to steal them. I stole them.” Police say Kirwan told them he was on probation and wanted to go back to jail. He was arrested for shoplifting.


Lifestyle

Not all trends are created equal. Some are exciting – like first-date butterflies; others are comforting – like ice-cream and Golden Girls reruns.Trend of the Week: Floral free for all

Veterinary medicine is a demanding career, leading to mental health problems for some vets.Elephant in the clinic: Helpline offers support to vets with mental health difficulties

Pearl Lowe turns 50 in April – and she’s got a lot to celebrate. TA look into the reinvention of Pearl Lowe

Bonnie Ryan couldn’t be happier.On a roll: Why Bonnie Ryan couldn't be happier

More From The Irish Examiner