QUIRKY WORLD ... Migrants bike into Norway at Arctic crossing


NORWAY: A trickle of asylum seekers from Syria and the Mediterranean region have found an unlikely route into Europe: Through Russia to a remote Arctic border post in Norway, partly on bicycles.

Police chief inspector Goeran Stenseth said 151 people have crossed the border this year near the northeastern Norwegian town of Kirkenes, 2,500km northeast of Oslo.

He said that most of the migrants are from Syria, with some from Turkey and Ukraine, and they mainly cross in motor vehicles although some have resorted to arriving on bicycles because the Storskog border post is not open to pedestrians, in line with a Norwegian-Russian border agreement.

“There have been about 100 during the past two months, at least 50 in July and looks like August will be much the same,” he said. “But the conditions will be bad soon. It’s getting colder by the day ... Soon no one will be able to bike, that’s for sure.”

Russians often drive the asylum seekers over the border, raising the possibility that the route has been organised and could possibly be classed as human trafficking.

“It’s too early to say, but we are continuing to look into it and will talk to the Russian border officials about it too,” he said.

‘Prove your worth’


The head of Britain’s national sperm bank has urged men to prove their manhood and help ease a shortage after the centre signed up just nine registered donors in the year since its creation.

“If I advertised saying ‘Men, prove your worth, show me how good you are’, then I would get hundreds of donors,” Laura Witjens, the chief executive, told The Guardian newspaper.

“That’s the way the Danish do it. They proudly say, this is the Viking invasion, exports from Denmark are beer, Lego, and sperm. It’s a source of pride.”

Denmark’s biggest sperm bank, privately-owned Cryos, said it had more than 450 registered donors and was exporting sperm to more than 80 countries.

The Guardian said the advertising campaign’s “superman” theme had a serious message as donors had to have strong sperm for it to survive the freezing and thawing process.

The rigours of this process is one of the reasons the clinic has so few donors after almost a year, Witjens was quoted as saying.

Uber baby


Officials say a baby girl was successfully delivered in the backseat of an Uber car parked at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the tunnel, says the birthing process began around 5.15pm on Monday while the baby’s 32-year-old mother was riding in the ride-hailing company’s car.

The driver flagged down two Port Authority officers, telling them he had woman in labour who “couldn’t wait”. The port authority says an employee delivered a healthy baby in just minutes. It was the second baby senior agent Greg Nimmo has delivered while working for the authority.

The mother, who had been travelling to the hospital from Hoboken, New Jersey, was transported to a hospital along with her daughter.

Prehistoric scorpion


A monstrous creature from the distant past, named after a Trojan War ship, could have stepped straight from the pages of Greek myth.

The newly-discovered sea scorpion lived 467m years ago and grew to a length of nearly 6ft, with an exoskeleton “helmet” shielding its head, a sleek narrow body, and large grasping limbs for trapping prey. Scientists named the beast Pentecopterus decorahensis, after the “penteconter” — an ancient Greek ship rowed by 50 oarsmen that saw service in the Trojan War.

Rare horse


Keepers at a British animal park have hailed the birth of a rare species of horse once declared extinct in the wild.

The male Przewalski foal was born to mother Ula at Port Lympne Reserve near Ashford, Kent — the second of the species to arrive there in a year.

Bob Saville, head of the hoofstock section at Port Lympne, said: “He will help ensure the survival of the species, which was once completely wiped out.”

Garden cannonball


The Atlantic City bomb squad was dispatched to a southern New Jersey after a man dug up a live cannonball in his backyard.

Police say the Lower Township man was digging behind his West Bates Avenue home when he discovered the explosive.

Police say the brass-capped cannonball was approximately 5in in circumference and was stamped “4k, 85mm.”

The cannonball was later detonated in an unpopulated area.


This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner