x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

News you can lose: I'm not a woman, says Mike Tyson

Quirky news items from around the world.

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has been forced to deny claims that he has become a woman after African media outlets fell for an internet spoof.

News sites in Zimbabwe and Ghana repeated a satirical report that Tyson,46, had "never lost touch with his feminine side", and after gender reassignment surgery now wanted to be known as "Michelle".

The American boxer later issued a statement insisting: "I am still a man and I have always been fully in touch with my masculinity and have no intention of becoming a woman."

He added: "I was at the Pacquiao-Marquez fight on Saturday and any reasonable person could tell I was looking like a man."


Santa 'visited' Jesus

Nearly four out of 10 Britons believe that the first person to visit the infant Jesus after his birth was Santa Claus, according to a new survey.

Polled by the Bible Society, the study discovered that most Britons believe Jesus was placed in a Moses basket rather than a manger.

Only 26 per cent thought that Mary and Joseph were betrothed at the time of the birth, with two per cent thinking the couple were on their first date.


Awards party brawl

An office party to celebrate the annual awards at a car manufacturer in Thailand ended with a mass brawl that saw home-made grenades being thrown.

At least 30 people were injured, one critically, at the party for 4,000 employees of AutoAlliance Thailand, a joint venture between Nissan and Ford.

According to reports in the Bangkok Post newspaper, trouble broke out when a group of men began throwing bottles at each other.

"The chaos quickly spread as glasses and other missiles were thrown with periodic explosions and gunshots also heard," the paper reported. A police spokesman said: "We have incidents like this every year."


Syrup smuggling rap

Police in Canada say they have broken up a massive maple syrup smuggling ring.

They have arrested three men in connection with the disappearance of around 2.7 million kilos of syrup from a Quebec warehouse.

The arrests follow an international investigation into the theft of the syrup, valued at around Dh67 million.

Quebec supplies around 80 per cent of the world's maple syrup. The appearance of so much syrup on the black market is believed to have driven down the price in some parts of the world.

One supplier explained why he had unwittingly bought the stolen syrup. "You bring me syrup, it's syrup. There's no serial number on it," he said.


Santa's staff of 12m

Santa Claus would need a workforce of 12 million elves to make all his deliveries on time, it has been calculated.

Both FedEx and UPS agree that with an estimated 760 million Christian children in the world, Santa would also need 46 distribution centres worldwide in order to reload his sleigh as his circles the world on December 25.

* James Langton