QUIRKY WORLD ... Fraudsters preying on elderly in phone scam

Germany: A fraudster persuaded a 75-year-old Swiss woman to transfer 45,000 francs (€41,000) to him as a “police officer” supposedly taking part in a nationwide programme to guard elderly people against telephone scams.

Last week’s incident in the eastern canton of Graubuenden was a new twist on an old trick of getting elderly people to send money to a supposed favourite grandchild in trouble, police said.

“Be suspicious of supposed police who call speaking high German,” a police statement advised residents of the region, where many speak German and Romansch dialects very different from the ‘Hochdeutsch’ (high German) spoken in Germany.

Double trouble

Scotland: Primary teachers will see double this week as 15 sets of twins start school in one local authority area in Scotland.

When the bell rings to begin the new term in Inverclyde tomorrow, there will be more than 80 sets of twins in primary schools across the region. Local education leaders have once again been left wondering if there is “something in the water” after a record 19 pairs enrolled in 2015.

Hull open for homestays

England: People in Hull are being encouraged to throw open their doors to visitors from across the world during the city’s tenure as UK City of Culture next year.

The call to embrace the “everyone back to ours” atmosphere comes amid predictions that the expected hundreds of thousands of visitors will overwhelm Hull hotel capacity.

Hull 2017, along with Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, has launched the Homestay challenge, backed by TV designer Linda Barker.

Those taking part have been told they could also make money, as well as immerse themselves in the events taking place.

Irina a stinging sensation

Russia: A nine-year-old girl has triumphed at the Russian Mosquito Festival in the town of Berezniki, winning the ‘tastiest girl’ category with 43 bites to show for going berry-picking in the forest with her mother.

Irina Ilyukhina was awarded a ceramic cup in recognition of the welts all over her legs. Unusually hot and dry weather in the Ural Mountains town, however, has greatly depleted the number of mosquitoes this year. Festival organisers had to cancel the traditional mosquito hunt, where participants try collect as many insects as possible in jars.

Responders save squirrel

USA: Emergency responders in Connecticut rescued a squirrel caught in a nutty situation.

Members of Enfield Emergency Medical Services responded after the rodent got its head stuck in what appeared to be a plastic or paper cup. Video posted on the Enfield EMS Facebook page shows the squirrel wildly jumping and flipping into the air in an effort to dislodge the cup.

After several unsuccessful attempts, an officer covered the animal with a blanket and held its body steady while another officer removed the cup before the squirrel scampered away into some bushes.

Following Alice’s trail

USA: The 400-mile trek of a radio-collared moose named Alice is the inspiration behind a proposed hiking trail from Ontario’s Algonquin Park to the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Planners of the A2A — Algonquin to Adirondack — Trail liken it to Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, with the benefit of preserving an important wildlife migration corridor.

The A2A will follow the general route taken by Alice, tracked as she swam across lakes, traversed the US army’s Fort Drum, swam the St Lawrence River and loped across Canada’s busy Highway 401 before eventually reaching Algonquin Park, where she died of unknown causes.

8theist finally gets her plate

USA: A woman whose request for a vanity licence plate reading ‘8THEIST’ was denied two years ago as state officials ruled that it might be considered offensive will now be allowed to display it.

A settlement filed in federal court resolves a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Shannon Morgan. As part of the settlement, the state Motor Vehicle Commission also will issue vanity plates or “combinations that are substantially similar” including: Heathen, Heratic, Skeptic, and Blasfmr.

The commission will pay Morgan $75,000 (€67,000) to resolve her claim.

Eagle rays born in Devon

England: The UK’s first captive-bred spotted eagle rays have been born.

Female ray Kitts recently gave birth to twin pups at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Devon, following a seven-year project. The unnamed twins — one male and one female — are both healthy and feeding well and are in the Atlantic Ocean acclimation tank.


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