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GPA negotiators complete task

GINGERBREAD VANDALS: The people of Bergen rolled out the cookie dough Monday as local police tried to sniff out vandals who destroyed the Norwegian city’s traditional Christmas decoration –– a town of gingerbread houses.

Last Saturday vandals entered a massive tent in central Bergen and crushed most of the 650-cookie-house town, topping off the ruins with paint and fire extinguisher foam.
Police in Norway’s second largest city asked the public to offer information that could lead to the perpetrators.
“The people who did this must be full of gingerbread dust, They will smell a long way,” police inspector Erik Sveaas told news agency NTB.
Local media reported that the destruction had shocked the residents of Bergen, a picturesque city on the North Sea coast where children decorate hundreds of gingerbread houses every year before Christmas.
Steinar Kristoffersen, who runs the Bergen Sentrum foundation behind “the world’s largest and greatest gingerbread town”, said the opening of the exhibit will be postponed well into next week due to the vandalism.
“We are rebuilding the whole landscape and are receiving a lot of gingerbread houses. Many want to lend a hand,” Kristoffersen said.
In an internet campaign, some petitioners suggested the perpetrators be pilloried, but local bishop Halvor Nordhaug cooled the atmosphere. “We must not lynch anyone over a few gingerbread houses.” –– Reuters.

WRONG JOB: A luckless crook surrendered to police after four robberies flopped in the same day.
Ralf Lautenbach (24) fled after trying to hold up two hotels which set security guards on him –– and then abandoned a break-in at the local tax office in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany.
Finally the failing would-be crook handed himself in after he was trapped in his getaway car after using it to ram a bank security cash van.
“He needs a change of job,” said one officer. –– Ananova.

BAREFOOT SHOE THIEF: It did not take US police gumshoes to track down a suspected shoe thief. He was sauntering barefoot through the parking lot of a Knoxville store called the Shoe Show last Wednesday morning when an employee identified him as the man who crammed shoes into his pockets and pushed her out of his way as he walked out last Tuesday night.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported police arrested a 46-year-old man, charging him with theft under US$500, assault and public intoxication.
Officers didn’t find the shoes, but they would have been a poor fit.
Lieutenant Bob Wooldridge said the four or five shoes stolen were all contoured to fit left feet. The right foot shoes were being used in a display. –– AP.

SEX TRICK LAW REVOKED:   South Korea has thrown out a half-century old law banning men from falsely promising marriage in return for sex.
A court has ruled the code violated women’s sexual freedom and that the law should not interfere in such matters, reports the Sun.
Men who tricked their girlfriends into having sex had previously faced up to two years in prison or a fine of more than £2 000.
The law was scrapped following appeals made by two men who had recently been reprimanded.
A final verdict read: “The government should refrain from interfering in men’s sexual activities of tempting women in an unharmful manner.”
A court spokesman said the verdict meant the 56-year-old law was immediately abolished and that all men penalised under the law could be acquitted and receive state compensation. –– The Sun.

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