x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Swiss kids get an evil birthday gift

Plus football is for everyone, diet can't save fat cat, a Playboy model adds racy overtones to live presidential debate in Mexico and more of the week's bizarre stories in News You Can Lose.

Parents in Switzerland can now hire a "scary clown" who will stalk their child for a week and then smash a birthday cake in their face.

"Evil Birthday Clown" is the brainchild of Dominic Deville from Lucerne, who says: "The clown's one and only aim is to smash a cake into the face of his victim when they least expect it."

Once hired, Deville begins by making prank phone calls to his young victims and sending notes that they will be attacked. While he claims "most kids absolutely love being scared senseless", Deville adds "it's all fun and if at any point the kids get scared or their parents are concerned, we stop right there".

Football is for everyone

A tiny unrecognised nation that is based on an abandoned wartime fort off the coast of England has played its first international football match.

The self-styled Principality of Sealand was beaten 3-1 after managing to find enough players to take on the Chagos Islands, from the Indian Ocean, whose population was forceably removed to make way for the Diego Garcia military base in the 1960s. Because Sealand is no more than a rusty platform sticking out of the English Channel, the game was played at Godalming Town FC in Surrey.

Sealand was declared independent by its owner, Major Paddy Roy Bates, in 1967. The current "ruler" is his son, Prince Michael, who said: "Watching the match instilled a great sense of national pride."

Fat cat dies despite diet

A massively overweight cat whose plight brought international attention has died despite being put on a diet.

"Meow", an orange and white tabby, had managed to lose just one of his 17.6kg. Cats typically weigh no more than 5kg. The cat had been taken to an animal shelter in Santa Fe after his elderly owner could no longer care from him. After putting him on a diet and posting the results on Facebook, "Meow" gained thousands of followers.

His sudden death after developing breathing problems "was a shock and a horror for all of us," said the director of the shelter, Mary Martin.

Dressed to distract

Mexico's electoral authority has been forced to apologise after using a former Playboy model in a low-cut dress to host a televised presidential debate.

Viewers were distracted by the sight of Julia Orayen after she walked on stage to hand out printed instructions to the prospective candidates.

One newspaper declared Orayen the winner of the two-hour debate for her 17-second appearance, but Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute later apologised to voters and the candidates for what it described as a "production error associated with the dress of an assistant".

Speedster's car in tree

After ignoring complaints from neighbours about his dangerous driving, a Polish man woke up to find his car at the top of a tree.

Fed up with the antics of Zbigniew Filo, the residents of Lubczyna used a crane to lift the white Ford to the top of a Willow tree."Perhaps he'll think twice about his hair-raising driving," said one local. Filo, 24, said while the punishment was "harsh", he had "got the message" after police told him it was his responsibility to move the car.

jlangton@thenational.ae