QUIRKY WORLD ... Writing’s on the wall

USA: Two men who vandalised a historic military structure at a national park near San Francisco had to be rescued after they were stranded on a steep cliff while trying to escape.

Park service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said the men got stuck scrambling down the cliff at the waterfront of Fort Baker in Golden Gate National Recreation Area after seeing rangers approaching.

Rangers, firefighters, a helicopter, and a coastguard boat were involved in the rescue. The pair now face charges.

BIRTHDAY MILESTONES

USA: A husband and wife thought to be one of the oldest married couples in New York have celebrated their birthdays — and their combined ages will be 212.

The Journal News reports Duranord Veillard turned 108 on Saturday. His wife, Jeanne Veillard, won’t turn 105 until May.

The couple celebrated at the Spring Valley home they share with their daughter.

Veillard is a native of Haiti and was a judge there.

He and his wife moved to the US in 1968, raising five children while he worked as a hospital laboratory technician.

Though nearly blind and hard of hearing, Veillard still cracks jokes in Creole and does push-ups after getting up before dawn.

The Veillards have been married 82 years.

BRUSH UP FOR SEWERS

ENGLAND: A seaside resort’s Victorian sewers are receiving a fresh lick of paint ahead of one of the biggest arts festivals in the country.

Stuart Slark and his fellow tour guides will spend the next few weeks refreshing the main areas of Brighton’s sewers ready for this year’s tours, which take place during May’s Brighton Festival, owners Southern Water said.

For more than 50 years, the tours have given visitors a glimpse underground at the Victorian infrastructure. Last year, 1,600 people explored beneath the streets.

CHILEAN PASTY

ENGLAND: An award celebrating a centuries-old British delicacy has been won by a Chilean miner who cannot speak English.

Jorge Pereira, who was attending the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project in Cornwall as part of a two-month visit to the UK, won the open savoury amateur category with an empanada Chilena, a traditional Chilean pasty made with beef, onion, hard-boiled egg, olives, and sultanas.

The origins of the pasty are disputed between those from Cornwall and Devon, and date back to the 14th century, when miners used to graze on the pastry-based finger food while working underground. A traditional Cornish pasty features chuck steak, potato, turnip, and onion and is crimped on the side, while the Devon variety is crimped on the top.

SWAN RACE

ENGLAND: Racegoers trying to pick a winner at Kempton Park have a new handicap to consider — an invasion of swans. One jockey has even been unseated during a race thanks to swans wandering on the track, while on other occasions the birds have flown close to riders travelling at almost 50kph. Now theracecourse owners have sought the Queen’s permission to round up the birds.

At least 27 swans have taken up residence at the track. And although riders and horses have so far escaped serious injury, there have been several close calls.

A HOLE LOT OF TROUBLE

USA: New York State Police have charged a Rochester man with using excavating equipment to dig a 12m-long, 3.6m-deep hole in a rural road in the middle of the night and not telling anyone.

Investigators say 32-year-old Kyle Calabria is charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment for last November’s damage to a road in the town of Prattsburg, 72km south of Rochester.

Police said Calabria had been hired to do excavation work on property along the road. For some reason, he used a backhoe to dig up a section of the road at night. He abandoned the backhoe after it got stuck in the hole.


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