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It’s a weird world

FLYING COBBLER
A CHINESE cobbler who left school with only a basic education has completed a maiden flight in his home-made aircraft.
Huang Jianjun, 34, of Taoyuan county, Hunan province, spent six years designing and building his aeroplane.

“I always had the dream of making a plane for myself,” he told the China News Network.
Despite the protests of his family, he gave up his job making shoes in 2004 and started buying and studying aviation books to learn all he could.
Huang poured more than £10 000 of his savings into the project and spent the following years collecting parts and assembling them. Finally he was ready for takeoff and his plane reached a height of more than 500m before successfully landing.
Huang says he is still not ready to find a job and instead plans to continue improving his design and enjoy flying his plane. — Orange news.

UNTYING THE KNOT
WITH divorce on the rise in Japan, some couples are choosing to celebrate the end of an unhappy marriage by saying “I do” for a final time at a divorce ceremony before friends and family.
Divorce ceremonies were pioneered about a year ago by a former salesman, Hiroki Terai, who set up a “divorce mansion” in a small undercover space in Tokyo.
Since then about 25 couples have each paid US$600 to hold a ceremony with all the pomp and grandeur of a wedding that publicly ends their relationship before they officially file for divorce. Terai said he had received more than 900 inquiries.
The latest couple, who called themselves Mr and Mrs  Fujii, met near Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa area last Sunday and rode in separate rickshaws to the “divorce mansion”.
“By putting an end to our marriage, we wanted to give ourselves fresh starts and give our lives a sense of renewal,” Mr Fujii, a 33-year-old businessman, told Reuters Television. — Reuters.

FRAUDULENT GRANNY
A 71-year-old Russian grandmother has been issued with a restriction order by Moscow police for swindling businessmen out of more than half a million dollars, a spokesman for the force said on Friday.
The geriatric fraudster, identified only by her first name Svetlana, posed as an influential lobbyist with close ties to Moscow’s City Hall between 2007 and 2008, during which she committed the crime, popular daily Izvestia reported.
She promised to deliver the swindled sum of 16, 4 million roubles (US$531) to her alleged contacts within the authorities as a bribe on behalf of clients keen to purchase prime real estate in the heart of the capital.She then vanished with the money until authorities tracked her down last week, police said. She is currently banned from leaving Moscow and is under investigation, the spokesman added. — Reuters.

TIME UP, TIPPLERS!
RUSSIA has called time on vodka drinkers at its top economic conference, outlawing the national tipple from normally well lubricated stands at the St Petersburg Economic Forum.
The ban comes as President Dmitry Medvedev, the keynote speaker, spearheads a campaign against alcohol abuse which includes higher taxes and a minimum price on vodka, and may yet lead to limited sales hours.
“On the territory (of the forum), only beverages no stronger than wine can be drunk,” said Stanislav Voskresensky, a deputy economy minister.
Financial information company Bloomberg covered up a Russian Standard vodka logo on its stand with white paint hours before the forum opened, while a chess lounge favoured by government officials moved screens in front of displays of cognac. —  Reuters.

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