x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

News You Can Lose: US spends tax dollars on Star Trek spoof

Quirky news items from around the world.

Tax collectors in the US have been forced to apologise after spending US$60,000 (Dh220,000) on a training video that parodied the TV series Star Trek.

Staff at an Internal Revenue Service office in the state of Maryland used special effects and dressed up in Star Trek costumes to create the six-minute film, which featured one employee in "Mr Spock" pointy ears, and recreated the flight deck of the USS Enterprise.

The IRS says it has tightened controls and stopped making elaborate training films. One Republican Congressman said:"There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous."

Bomb found in squid

Bomb disposal experts were called to a fish market in China after an explosive device was found inside a squid.

A market worker was gutting the squid when his knife hit a metallic object, according to the newspaper Guangzhou Daily.

Experts identified the device as a bomb, which they believe may have been dropped by an aircraft and eaten by the squid, which believed it was a fish,

The bomb was destroyed in a controlled explosion by police.

Russians' traffic trick

Super wealthy Russians are using ambulances to beat Moscow's notorious traffic jams.

According to the Izvestiya newspaper, companies are offering "ambulance taxis" at a rate of Dh720 an hour.

The vehicles look like real ambulances, complete with sirens and flashing lights, but have luxury interiors rather than stretchers.

A police spokesman said one ambulance had been stopped because "the driver appeared strange", adding: "Officers opened the automobile to check it and saw that the interior was fitted out like a high-class limousine with comfortable seats for transporting VIP passengers."

Bridge goes missing

A 22-tonne bridge has gone missing in Turkey, with a gang of scrap metal thieves as the chief suspects.

The 25-metre bridge disappeared overnight, with the villagers of Golcuk in western Turkey discovering they could no longer reach their orchards on the other side of a stream.

Police said the metal could have been worth up to Dh67,000 as scrap, with the villagers now forced to wade across the stream.

Row over Richard III

After his remains were discovered under a carpark, the bones of Richard III are now being fought over by human rights lawyers.

Lawyers for the king's relatives are fighting to stop his remains being interred at Leicester Cathedral near his first grave, hastily dug after his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 during the Wars of the Roses.

In what has been dubbed "the Second Battle Of Bosworth", lawyers will argue that the plan breaches the human rights of the Plantagenet relatives, who want him reburied in York where he spent his childhood.