x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dream job at chocolate factory leads to health nightmare

Plus a Connecticut woman completes a year of hugging everyone she meets, George Michael wakes up from a coma with a different accent and more of the week's bizarre stories in News You Can Lose.

A chocolate tester known as "the real-life Willy Wonka" has given up his job after gaining nearly 13 kilos.

Angus Kennedy, 47, has been told his cholesterol is "dangerously high" and that he risked a heart attack.

Kennedy was appointed the chief tester for the trade journal Kennedy's Confection in 2010, earning the equivalent of Dh172,000 a year to eat up to a kilo of chocolate products a day.

He only visited the doctor after the birth of his fifth child and was immediately advised to quit.

Kennedy, from Kent in England, called his job a "Golden Ticket", but added: "a recent check-up showed my arteries were far from fighting fit."


Have a little think

A small town in Italy has appointed its first "municipal philosopher", whose job is to help residents to question their own existence.

Corigliano d'Otranto, in the southern tip of the country, created the post to engage citizens in Socratic dialogue and make sure that they: "do not dwell on their past, but their present and their perspectives on the future".

Under mayor Ada Fiore, a philosophy teacher, the town has been putting up ceramic plaques with quotations from St Augustine and handing out postcards to the 5,000 citizens with questions like "why were you born?"

The new municipal philosopher is Graziella Lupo, who said of those who oppose her appointment: "Their criticism is in any case devoid of epistemological content."


Kapow! Sticker shock

A group of economics students has estimated that it would cost around US$2.8 million (Dh10.25) to become Batman.

Using the plot from the Batman Begins film, the students from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania say private martial arts training would run to around $75,000.

The bill also includes a kevlar utility belt for $337, a $300,000 survival suit and 10 "batarangs" at around $281 each.

For those determined to include the services of Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred, they advise budgeting an annual salary of $282,000 for a personal assistant.


West of the mark

The singer George Michael has revealed that he woke up from a coma speaking in the accent of the West Country of England.

The star had been fighting pneumonia and spent nearly three weeks with his life in the balance.

He claimed doctors feared he suffered from Foreign Accent Syndrome, normally associated with a brain injury.

Michael believes he picked up the accent because he had become hooked on a TV comedy that starred an actress born in Somerset.

He told a radio interviewer: "There's nothing wrong with a West Country accent - but it's a bit weird when you're from North London."


Year of the hug

A mother from North Carolina has completed a year-long project that involved hugging everyone she met.

Melinda Schmitt, 36, said she started because she felt lonely after moving from Connecticut, and estimated she hugged at least 1,000 people while recording her experiences on a blog.

She said:"It feels so good, I just couldn't stop now."