From dogs yapping on phones to Brazil’s radical urinalists taking on McDonald’s, here’s your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.
OFF-BEAT NEWS OF THE WEEK
Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh raised their glasses last weekend to toast their friend Engels as he tied the knot in southern India. Communism may have fallen out of favour elsewhere, but the dream lives on in Kerala where it is not uncommon to name children after its founding fathers.
The Communist Party has governed Kerala for much of the last six decades, and the chief minister of neighbouring Tamil Nadu is called MK Stalin.
A wedding there in June saw Socialism get married in front of his brothers Communism, Leninism and Marxism. All that was missing was a Trotsky to do the drinks.
Shocking news from Brazil where a hammer and sickle has apparently been taken to McDonald’s golden arches. The American fast-food chain has been accused of “communism” for opening non-gendered toilets in a restaurant at Bauru in Sao Paulo state.
“It’s scandalous. Communism in Bauru!” some locals declared, with the mayor giving McDonald’s a fortnight to separate the sexes.
The chain said the individual cabins were about “inclusion and respect… so everyone would feel welcome to use them.”
Supporters of the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro – clearly urinalists to a man – were not amused and have denounced McDonald’s slide into pinko political correct porcelain.
TO THOSE ABOUT TO BE FINED…
A pair of American tourists who broke into the Colosseum in Rome to drink with the ghosts of the gladiators have ended up with the mother of all hangovers.
The young men were spotted drinking beer as dawn broke after climbing up to the second tier of the ancient arena at the end of a night out in the Italian capital.
Both were fined a sobering 800 euros (R14 593) after police arrested them as they left.
DOG AND BONE
Never has the argument for a digital detox seemed more pressing. Scientists have invested the DogPhone, which will allow bored Beagles or yappy Yorkies to call their owners for a chat anytime they feel the need.
The inventors in Scotland and Finland say it will be a lifeline for lonely dogs and “pandemic puppies” left at home all day. The pet shakes a ball which triggers a video call to the owner’s phone.
While worried dog lovers hailed the breakthrough others say you’d be barking to get one.
YOU’RE CUTTING OUT
With the prospect of prank calls from a Pekinese, you can understand why a man in central France might be driven to get a mobile phone jammer.
Unfortunately, the device he bought to stop his neighbours from stealing his wifi connection ended up knocking out mobile phones in and around the city of Clermont-Ferrand. The man was out when armed and masked police raided his home after tracking down the rogue device, which he had left in a drawer under his television.
Officers said he had no idea he had turned his whole neighbourhood into “a mobile phone, wifi and GPS dead zone”.