Some of the stranger stories from around the planet

England: A prosthetic leg, a life-sized Spiderman doll and “enough musical instruments to form a band” have been lost on London’s travel network.

More than 600,000 items were left on the capital’s trains and buses last year as Transport for London received a record haul of missing goods. Alongside the daily haul of around 150 mobile phones, the office has received a full-size house carpet, a judge’s wig and a hoard of musical instruments.

Aside from the more peculiar finds, thousands of tablets, umbrellas and wallets were also handed in to TFL’s lost property office.

Sonic boom

USA:

Sonic booms heard and felt along the US coast from New Jersey to Connecticut were caused by military fighter jets conducting tests, officials said.

A navy spokeswoman said an F-35C and F-18 from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, were conducting supersonic testing off the coast. The F-35C has a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph. Residents reported hearing loud booms and feeling the ground and buildings shake.

Mural mission

Bulgaria:

A sleepy village in central Bulgaria is harnessing the power of celebrities, hoping for an economic revival through art.

Outdoor murals in the village of Staro Zhelezare feature local people alongside celebrities on their homes. Homeowners are depicted with personalities including Pope Francis, the Queen, Albert Einstein, the Dalai Lama, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher. The man behind the project is local artist Ventsislav Piryankov, who now lives in Poland, where he created an art school. Piryankov and his students came to the village for the First Mural Festival, creating an outdoor art gallery with Banksy-style graffiti on the walls.

Living standards are low in the poorest member of the EU and the 400 residents of Staro Zhelezare struggle to make ends meet. Before the murals, the village had been best known for a nearby prehistoric stone circle.

Snow way

Czech Republic:

The Sedivackuv Long, one of the toughest dog sled races in Europe, has been cut short by warm weather.

The 20th edition began with more than 100 mushers and 700 dogs from eight countries competing in what was expected to be deep snow and freezing conditions in the Orlicke Mountains, a range in the north-eastern Czech Republic that forms the border with Poland. In the three-day race competitors were expected to cross 240km and spend one night sleeping out in the snow.

Yet temperatures on the first day of the race were well above 0C and things got worse the next day. The course was a soupy mess of slushy ice and fog in the higher elevations, and portions of the lower course had no snow at all after afternoon rain washed it away. As a result, the organisers cut the race short due to a lack of snow for the first time in 20 years after only 96km.

Take a break

England:

Firms are being urged to encourage a culture of “playfulness” in offices and ensure staff do not work on holiday, in a bid to boost productivity.

A study found the economic benefits of flexible working hours, giving staff a chance to put forward ideas, and allowing them time to be heard. The report, by Royal Caribbean, said companies should consider blocking access to emails while workers were on holiday, and they should not be overloaded with work when they return.

Research among 4,000 adults and 650 businesses, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found that four out of five adults said their company did not encourage socialising with colleagues.


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