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This €1.4bn pile is fit only for a bankrupt banker

Plus all the strangest and unbelievable stories of the week in News You Can Lose.

A struggling Irish artist has built a house using bricks worth 1.4 billion (Dh6.7bn).

Frank Buckley made the bricks from pulped and shredded decommissioned banknotes. He hopes the structure will provoke debate about the financial crisis, after his home in Dublin was repossessed.

He approached the Irish Central Bank, which gave him enough bills to build the three-room house. In addition to a living room, bathroom and bedroom, Mr Buckley hopes to add a kitchen and patio.

He told one reporter: "It's a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us. People were pouring billions into buildings now worth nothing."

Unplanned Antarctic trip

A marine mechanic from Auckland has found himself heading to the Antarctic after the yacht he was working on unexpectedly put to sea.

The unnamed man was working on the anchor mechanism of the 16-metre Nilaya when the owner decided to set sail to avoid a clash with the authorities.

Immigration officials were trying to serve deportation papers on the skipper, Jarle Andhoy, who is defying both the New Zealand and Norwegian governments with his unauthorised voyage into the polar region.

The authorities say they have concerns about the welfare of the mechanic. Andhoy, 34, describes himself as "a Viking" but a trip he made to the Antarctic last year ended in disaster when his last yacht Berserk sank in stormy seas, drowning three crew members.

Taking a final bow wow wow

The four-legged star of this year's hot Oscar tip is to retire from show business.

Uggie, a 10-year-old Jack Russell, has been hailed for his cameo role in the silent film The Artist. Now his trainer says Uggie is too old for the stresses of Hollywood and will leave the movie business.

His last appearance may be at the Golden Collar Awards later this month. The dog has received nominations for The Artist and Water for Elephants, where he starred alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. However, Uggie will have competition from Blackie, a Dobermann who appears in Martin Scorcese's Oscar-nominated Hugo.

The force is against you

Police who were called to a toy store in Oregon found themselves confronted with a man attacking customers with two light sabres.

David Canterbury was using toy replicas of the weapons from the Star Wars films, but still managed to injure three people.

Canterbury, 33, was arrested and later sentenced to 45 days in prison. He was also banned from the branch of Toys R Us.

A judge also ordered that Canterbury should undergo a mental-health examination.

Quick bathroom break

Managers at an insurance company in Norway have installed an alarm system that is triggered by employees spending too long on bathroom breaks.

Privacy regulators have now contacted the company to warn them that the system, which uses flashing lights if a worker is away from their desk for more than a few minutes, is "highly intrusive" and may breach human rights.

In reply, the company explained that the system was an attempt to make sure that it had enough people on duty to handle phone enquiries, but said that it would review the policy.


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