x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Newest sport predictor, a raccoon, picks China for Olympic glory

Plus a couple reunite 50 years after divorcing, a parrot that's smarter than a toddler, Nasa's star scientist and more of the week's oddest stories in News You Can Lose.

A raccoon that correctly predicted the winner of euro 2012 has tipped China to top the Olympic medal table.

Jemma, who resides in Russia's Tula Zoo, was placed on a chair in front of four buns with flags representing different countries. According to zoo staff, she selected and ate the bun representing China. The animal apparently correctly picked Spain as the winner of this year's European football championship. Her run of luck may be over, however. She has selected Russia, currently sixth in the table, to finish second.


A nose for fun

A six-year-old American boy is breathing easy again after doctors removed a Lego from his nose that was stuck there for three years.

Isaak Lasson of Utah had visited numerous doctors after complaining of sinus issues, but it was only last week that the small wheel-shaped piece of plastic was discovered lodged in his nostril. According to his parents, the Lego had been missing for three years.


Nasa's star man

Following the news that the Curiosity rover had successfully landed on Mars, all eyes turned to Nasa this week - and one employee in particular. Bobak Ferdowsi, a technician responsible for directing the landing, became an internet sensation for his striped coloured Mohawk haircut. His Twitter followers jumped from 200 to over 17,000 overnight. Most of the them, it transpired, were females who will be disappointed to learn the scientist, who changes his hairstyle for every new mission, is already spoken for.


Bird-brained children?

African grey parrots are more intelligent than the average two-year-old child, according to scientists in Austria.

Researchers asked six birds to choose between two closed boxes, one of which contained a walnut and rattled when shaken. The other box was empty. The parrots showed they knew the rattling box indicated a reward was hidden inside and that if a shaken box made no noise, the reward would be in the other container. In similar tests, most children under two did not successfully process this.


A very driven deer

A German man who accidentally knocked down a wild deer then drove its body to a nearby police station was stunned when the deer "returned to life" on the back seat of his car. "I was shocked when the it started jumping around, and almost crashed the car," said Karl Weiss, 67, from Peine. "It turned out that the deer had just been shocked. It was uninjured but my car was a right mess."


Couple finds love again

A US couple are to remarry nearly 50 years after they got divorced. Roland Davis and Lena Henderson, both 85, married as teenagers in Chattanooga, Tennessee and had four children together, but ended their marriage 20 years later. The couple had only seen each other once since their split in 1964. Mr Davis, who lost his second wife in January, proposed to Mrs Henderson, also widowed, over the phone. Their youngest daughter, grandmother Renita Chadwick, said: "We are so excited. We're like children again."