Strange World: The Week’s Offbeat News

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Updated December 4, 2020
(FILES) Pandemic hair getting out of control? Take a tip from George Clooney: the Hollywood style icon has revealed he trims his signature silver locks with a Flowbee — a quirky home-styling device that attaches to a vacuum cleaner. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)


Our weekly roundup of offbeat yarns from around the world:

Brief encounter

The “world’s loneliest elephant” has finally found a friend. Kaavan, who was rescued by the American singer Cher from a grim zoo in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, has found a company in a Cambodian sanctuary.

But the male Asian elephant is already finding that relationships with females of the species come with complications.

“One girl came and met him this morning. There was a brief curiosity and then she ran away,” sanctuary manager Darrick Thomson told AFP.

Mysterious monolith

A mysterious shiny monolith found in the Utah desert that sparked wild rumours of alien visitations has disappeared. “All that was left was a message written in the dirt that said ‘Bye bitch’ with a fresh pee stain next to it,” said Riccardo Marino, who trekked to the remote spot to see it.

Days later a spookily similar monolith popped up in the Carpathian mountains near the Romanian city of Piatra Neamt. It too disappeared as suddenly and as mysteriously as it had appeared, only for another to pop up on a California hilltop on Wednesday.

Unexpected present

An Australia family returned home to find a koala up their artificial Christmas tree, tangled in the lights and trying to eat its plastic leaves.

“I thought one of my kids put a soft toy in there, but it was a live one,” said Amanda McCormick.

The koala, dubbed Daphne, was released into the nearby bush by a rescue team seemingly unfazed by her experience.

Clooney’s clippers

Lockdown home haircuts hold no fear for “Gorgeous” George Clooney. The silver fox Hollywood star revealed that he has cut his own hair for the past 25 years with a quirky gadget that attaches to a vacuum cleaner.

The $50 Flowbee has been the butt of jokes since it appeared on late-night television ads in the late 1980s, but Clooney swears by it. “Listen, man, it works,” he told reporters.

Missing member

German police are searching for a two-metre (seven-foot) phallic sculpture classified as a “cultural monument” that disappeared from the top of a Bavarian mountain.

All that is left of the impressive wood carving of male genitalia atop the 1,738-metre (5,702-foot) Grunten mountain is a pile of sawdust.

Pork barrel politics

Taiwanese MPs pelted each other with pig innards in a row over US pork imports. The offal scenes ended with a brawl as opposition MPs emptied bags innards on their opponents’ heads or lashed out at them with pig intestines.

Rings go full circle

The wedding rings of an Algerian couple who were shipwrecked when their migrant boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa have been returned to them.

Doudou, 20, and Ahmed, 25, were among 15 survivors of the tragedy in October. But their rings were recovered from a backpack found floating in the sea a fortnight later and traced to the couple, now in a camp in Sicily. “It’s incredible,” said Ahmed, “but we are still mourning our friends who didn’t make it.”