x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

From polling booth to pit stop, Turkmenistan's leader is always a winner

Plus police rescue a blind woman's manuscript, the real hometown of The Simpsons is revealed and more of the week's strange and wonderful stories in News You Can Lose.

Despite deciding to enter only at the last minute, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the president of Turkmenistan, has emerged as the victor in his country's first car race.

President Berdimuhamedow, 54, made an impromptu decision to enter the time trial after arriving to watch the race in the capital Ashgabat in his personal green Bugatti.

However the president, who won re-election in February with 97 per cent of the vote, chose to race instead in a Turkish built Volkicar and emerged as the fastest man on the track.

After the race, authorities said that the winning car would be given pride of place in Turkmenistan's national sports museum.


Twitter twits

Twitter users have expressed surprise at the news that the sinking of the passenger liner Titanic actually happened and was not just a movie.

With James Cameron releasing a 3D version of his Oscar winning blockbuster to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Twitter feeds have been buzzing with the revelation that the RMS Titanic was a real ship that sank with massive loss of life in April 1912.

One user of the social networking site tweeted: "I never knew the titanic (sic) was real:/thought it was just another movie I haven't seen yet."

Another wrote: "Is it bad that I didn't know the titanic was real? Always thought it was just a film."

A user called "Mr Dragon Slayer" tweeted: "I'm never going on a cruise again."


Detective novel

Police forensic experts have saved the "lost" manuscript of a novel written by a blind woman.

Trish Vickers had written the book in longhand, but was shattered when told that the last 26 pages were blank because her pen had run out of ink without her knowing.

Forensic officers in Dorset, England, gave up lunch breaks for five months to restore the lost words by studying the indentations on the paper. Ms Vickers, 59, is now able to send the manuscript to her publisher and said:"I have always been interested in writing, I have one of those strange imaginations that runs riot. The police were brilliant and I can't thank them enough."


Welcome to Springfield

One of the greatest mysteries in television has been solved with the revelation that the hometown of the Simpsons' family is in Oregon. Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, had never divulged the location of the series, and with 38 locations called Springfield in the USA, it had always been the subject of speculation.

Now Groening has admitted it was called after Springfield, Oregon, next door to his hometown of Portland.

In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, he also revealed that he grew up in Evergreen Terrace, the same street as the family home of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.