QUIRKY WORLD ... Skyscraper that sent tempers soaring scales new heights

ENGLAND: A London skyscraper that made headlines for reflecting sunlight at an intensity that melted parts of a Jaguar car in the street below has been awarded the annual Carbuncle Cup that highlights perceived architectural horrors.

Officially called 20 Fenchurch Street, the 37-storey office tower in the City of London’s financial district was nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its curved shape before the car-melting incident in 2013 spawned a new moniker, the Walkie Scorchie.

Organised by Business Design magazine, the Carbuncle Cup is awarded by a panel of architecture critics who take into account comments sent in by readers. One of them, Ike Ijeh, said City of London planners were as much to blame for approving what he described as “a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffitied onto the skyline of London” as the building’s renowned Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly. “If anything summarises what makes a building a Carbuncle, this is it,” Ijeh wrote in an article on Business Design’s website.

On yer bike

ENGLAND:

Cycling could be the answer to arriving at work with a spring in your step, according to new research from Aviva.

In a study of 2,000 working adults, more than half of those who cycle to work said they arrive refreshed after their commute.

Just 1 in 10 car and bus users claimed the same thing and that figure dropped to 1 in 20 for train and Tube passengers.

Piece of cake

ENGLAND:

A slice of the Queen’s 68-year-old wedding cake has sold for £500 (€680) at auction.

The fruit cake, still wrapped in its original baking parchment, was one of the portions given to guests following the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.

It comes with its original box decorated with a silver E and P and the words “Buckingham Palace 20th November 1947”, as well as a small card inscribed “With the best wishes of their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh”.

Cannonball find

USA:

The Atlantic City bomb squad was dispatched to a southern New Jersey home over the weekend after a man dug up a live cannonball in his garden.

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

The bomb squad took an X-ray of the device and determined it was fully functional.

The cannonball was later detonated in an unpopulated area.

Monkey business

CHINA:

China is leaning on the animal kingdom — including a squad of nest-wrecking monkeys — to ensure its military parade commemorating the end of thee Second World War.

To minimise the chances of birds striking engines during the many airplane flyovers connected to the Beijing parade, media reports say, the military has used falcons to chase away birds and a team of trained macaques to flush nests out around the pilots’ training grounds.

“We bought two monkeys in April last year from Henan province. After one month’s training, the macaques mastered the skill of taking apart birds’ nests,” air force official Wang Mingzhi was quoted as saying by China News Service.

Three more monkeys were later added to the team, which can dismantle up to 60 nests per day in return for rewards, Wang said.

Other measures in the capital include bans on kites, balloons and sport pigeons.


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