Weird world (January 12): Odd stories in the news

Published on Thursday 12 January 2012 10:13

Check out a round up of odd stories in the news around the globe..


The Security Service MI5 has been named on a list of Britain’s most gay-friendly employers for the first time.

MI5, which has not always welcomed gay employees because of a perceived fear they could be vulnerable to blackmail, was ranked at number 62 in the top 100 list of Britain’s best employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.

It is the first time MI5 has appeared in the list compiled by the equality charity Stonewall. Ernst Young topped the list, which is based on a confidential survey of more than 7,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.


A cured ham and a toy koala are among the memorable gifts presented to members of the monarchy during their travels last year.

Official mementos handed over as the royals toured the world included everything from hampers of food to jewellery and cuddly toys.

During a tour of Australia last October, the Queen was given a toy koala bear. And when the Prince of Wales toured Portugal, Spain and Morocco with the Duchess of Cornwall in spring, gifts included six bottles of olive oil, a cured ham and eight jars of marmalade.


An Alaskan town already coping with nearly 15ft (4.6m) of snow has run out of shovels after being hit by yet another storm.

Cordova finally turned to a manufacturer for a special order.

But it will be too late for the “couple more feet” of snow that fell accompanied by gusts to 55mph.


A handcuffed man stole a police car in Indiana, then radioed officers for help in finding the car’s cigarette lighter and a key to unlock his hands.

Investigators are still looking for 22-year-old William Francis Blankenship.

Police said he somehow escaped from the back of the vehicle and fled after he was arrested on drug charges.


A mini Yorkshire terrier from New Jersey is now in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Lucy, who weighs just 2.5lb (1.1kg), was named the world’s smallest working dog, beating a 6.6lb (3kg) police dog in Japan.

Three-year-old Lucy works as a therapy dog, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and special schools, often wearing dresses and bonnets.


Police have urged the public not to abuse the 999 number after revealing that a caller rang the emergency services to report a fight between two TV soap characters.

The man called police using the emergency number last month, claiming he wanted to report the brawl between Stacey Slater and Archie Mitchell, from the 2009 Christmas episode of EastEnders.

Police released details of the call to highlight some of the frivolous reasons people ring 999. In another call a woman asked operators to pass her phone number to film star Mark Wahlberg.

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