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Funny old world: The week’s offbeat news

by Editorial Team
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From frozen-out selfie seekers to a soup worth suffering for… Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

Let it go, let it go

Austria has brought down the “Wooden Curtain” on one of the world’s favourite selfie spots, putting up a barrier to stop Frozen fans making a nuisance of themselves in the village of Hallstatt, whose spectacular Alpine vistas are a dead ringer for the Disney movie.

The hamlet was being flooded by up to a million Annas and Elsas every year eager to immortalise themselves against its backdrop of towering peaks, driving the locals nuts.

Deluged with complaints, the mayor erected the temporary wooden fence last week to partially obstruct the views. “The only thing that would help is if the photo point is no longer a photo point,” Alexander Scheutz said.

Whether the fence will deter diehard Frozen fans is another matter as the movie’s theme tune is an anthem to defiance: “I don’t care what they’re going to say/ Let the storm rage on/ The cold (or the barrier) never bothered me anyway…”

Hook, line and stinkers 
The scales of justice have come down hard on two anglers who cheated in a US tournament by stuffing the fish they caught with lead weights.

Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were jailed, fined and ordered to hand over the $130,000 boat they used in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail in Ohio.

With tens of thousands in prize money at stake, competition is fierce in American professional fishing contests. And investigators suspect it wasn’t the first time the pair stepped over the line.

“I have no doubt that these two crooks cheated in multiple tournaments,” prosecutor Michael O’Malley claimed, saying they “should be banned from every fishing tournament for life.”

 The slipper nicker of Oz 
“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as she clicked the heels of her magical red slippers.

And for nearly 20 years since they disappeared in the middle of the night from the Judy Garland Museum in the actress’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the most famous shoes in movie history have, like Dorothy, been a long way from home.

A 76-year-old man who lived nearby has now been charged with stealing them after the sequined heels – worth $3.5 million – were recovered in an FBI sting operation.

“They’re more than just a pair of shoes,” said police chief Scott Johnson. “They’re an enduring symbol of the power of belief” — including that the cops would eventually get their man…

Soup and sore feet 
Chef Hilda Baci really loves egusi soup. And she wants the world to share her passion for the nutty Nigerian broth made with egusi seeds. So much so that she cooked for four days straight, never sitting for 100 hours and 40 minutes to set a new world endurance record.

“Even with all the exercise and all the gym it was incredibly difficult. At a point my feet doubled in size,” she told AFP.

But it was worth it, she said, because “I want Nigerian recipes to be propagated across the world. I want you to be able to walk into any random supermarket in America and find Nigerian ingredients.”

Given that the West African street stall favourite often contains cow skin and dried fish, there is work to be done yet.

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