Quirky World...Raising the dead set for global movement

RAISING THE DEAD

ISRAEL: At first glance, the multi-tiered jungle of concrete off a major central Israeli highway does not appear unusual in a city of bland high-rises.

But the burgeoning towers in Petah Tikva are noteworthy when you consider its future tenants: They will be homes not for the living but the dead. With real estate at a premium, Israel is at the forefront of a global movement building vertical cemeteries in densely populated countries.

From Brazil to Japan, elevated cemeteries are providing the final resting place for thousands of people.

Michigan funeral home provides drive-thru option

USA: Only a couple of families have taken advantage of a new service available at a Saginaw funeral home: Drive-thru viewings.

Paradise Funeral Chapel recently started offering the option, which allows mourners to pay their last respects on the go. It was designed in part to cater to those with physical limitations.

The funeral home’s president, Ivan Phillips, says he expects more customers to opt for the drive-thru once they learn it’s not a gimmick and is safe to use. Curtains covering the window open when sensors underneath the pavement recognise the presence of a car. Mourners then get three minutes to view the body as music plays.

THEFT FLUSHED OUT

ENGLAND: An oil painting by an internationally renowned Welsh artist has been stolen from a major cultural venue by a thief who stuffed the frame in a toilet cubicle.

Landscape At Llanaelhaearn by Kyffin Williams, whose works have sold for tens of thousands of pounds, vanished from the secure Royal Retiring Room at the Southbank Centre in central London at the end of last month.

The theft from level five of the Royal Festival Hall was discovered when a member of staff found the broken picture frame in a toilet cubicle.

Det Constable Ray Swan, from Scotland Yard’s art and antiques unit, said: “Whoever stole this painting is likely to try to sell it. I urge anyone who is offered the painting to report the matter to us immediately, or contact us if you know anything about the theft or the painting’s whereabouts.”

VINYL BOOM

ENGLAND: Vinyl albums are on track to achieve their biggest sales for almost two decades, and are expected to pass the million mark by the end of the year.

New figures compiled by the Official Charts Company show that almost 800,000 vinyl albums have been sold in the first nine months of this year, which has already outstripped last year’s total of 780,674.

Vinyl once looked close to extinction, and the last time it hit seven-figure sales was in 1996 when 1,083,206 albums were shifted, and The Score by Fugees was the year’s biggest long-player. The data, released by music industry body the BPI, shows that AM by Arctic Monkeys is the biggest seller so far in 2014.

NAME BLAME

USA: A western Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to nine-to-24 months in prison for taking advantage of jail guards who were confused by her similar-sounding name and released her to a bail bondsman looking for another inmate.

Evelyn Grace Campbell, 29, was sentenced by a Fayette County judge. She signed herself out of the jail on June 6 when a bondsman showed up to post a $500 (€390) bail on behalf of another inmate, Maretta Ruth Gambel.

The warden said Campbell stepped forward when guards called for Gambel, then escaped after telling the bail bondsman she did not have identification before he let her sign the release papers.

Campbell returned the next day and confessed, then pleaded guilty to an escape charge in September.


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