QUIRKY WORLD ... Spanish civil servant skips work for six years

SPAIN: A Spanish court has ruled that a civil servant who failed to show up to work for up to six years in the southern city of Cadiz must pay back nearly €27,000 in wages.

The ruling said the employee of a city-owned water utility did not appear at the office and “did absolutely no work” from 2007 to 2010 before his retirement in 2011. The judgment did not specify how the worker’s absence went undetected for so long.

The decision marked the end of a legal process lasting for years after city officials sought the penalty and the worker appealed against it. The civil servant cannot be named due to privacy laws.

Broken heart syndrome

SCOTLAND: Scientists are to explore for the first time the long-term effects of so-called “broken heart syndrome”. The condition, known to medics as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, often follows an episode of acute stress such as a bereavement, accident, or divorce.

Researchers at Aberdeen University will study the long-term effects of the untreatable and little-understood condition, which sees sufferers experience heart attack-like symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.

Green party beer

SCOTLAND: The Scottish Greens have unveiled a new election weapon — their own brand of craft beer.

Harvie’s Hoptimistic is said to reflect the party’s positive attitude going into May’s vote.

The Greens produced their own homemade campaign ale during the referendum but this time they turned to Glasgow craft beer makers Jaw Brew.

Terrier terror

ENGLAND: A seven-year-old terrier had to be rescued by firefighters after it got stuck in a wood stack in a national park.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service sent its animal rescue specialist to help the effort to retrieve seven-year-old Bernie, after he got trapped under the wood at Beaulieu. A spokeswoman said: “Crews from Lyndhurst and an animal rescue specialist rescued Bernie the seven-year-old Parson Jack russell cross yesterday after he barked up the wrong tree.”

Glenn Frey Drive

USA: A suburban Detroit school board has approved naming a stretch of street after the late Eagles star Glenn Frey.

Glenn Frey Drive will run alongside Royal Oak Middle School — the former Dondero High where Frey was a student. The school board voted 12-0 to rename part of Willis Avenue after Frey.

Frey was born in Detroit and grew up in Royal Oak. He died last month in New York at the age of 67, of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.

Snapchat robbery

USA: A photo of money posted on Snapchat led to a home invasion and robbery in Boca Raton, Florida.

An armed robber held a butcher’s knife to an 18-year-old man’s neck and disappeared with $280 (€250), according to Palm Beach county sheriff’s office. Officers said the two suspects knew he had cash because the victim had posted the photo earlier in the day.

The victim told investigators he recognised one of the attackers’ voices, whom he identified as 21-year-old Faried Said, who was arrested on charges of armed robbery with a deadly weapon and burglary.

Salamander ban

USA: Scientists have explained why the US has slapped a Donald Trump-style ban on all foreign salamanders.

The banning order, which applies to 201 species of the amphibians, was imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on January 12.

While presidential election hopeful Trump has vowed to keep out Muslims who might pose a terrorist threat, the wildlife authority is anxious to stop a deadly amphibian fungus crossing the country’s borders.

Airport secret security

ENGLAND: Love-struck holiday-makers are being given a “secret word” to get engagement rings through airport security without tipping off their partner.

Travellers thinking of popping the question abroad to a loved one over the Valentine’s Day weekend just need to mention the password to security staff, who will then give them further instructions. In order to find out the word, East Midlands Airport passengers need to email love@eastmidlandsairport.com in advance or alternatively send them a direct message on Twitter.

Cake attack

RUSSIA: A prominent Russian opposition figure says he has been attacked — with a cake.

Mikhail Kasyanov told the Russian news agency Interfax that about 10 men of “non-Slavic appearance” entered a Moscow restaurant where he was dining and slammed a cake in his face. Mr Kasyanov, who is chairman of the opposition PARNAS party, said the men also shouted insults.

Other threats recently made to Mr Kasyanov cast the event in a darker light. Earlier this year, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya republic, posted a video on Instagram that shows Mr Kasyanov in the bull’s eye of a rifle.


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