x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Reykjavik voters clearly affected by too many volcano fumes

Local elections in Iceland saw a party that promises free beach towels at public swimming pools and a new polar bear for Reykjavik zoo capture the biggest share of the vote.

Local elections in Iceland saw a party that promises free beach towels at public swimming pools and a new polar bear for Reykjavik zoo capture the biggest share of the vote. The Best Party, founded by a local comedian, took 34.7 per cent of the vote and six of 15 seats in the city council. Also in its manifesto was a call for a Disneyland theme park to be built at Reykjavik Airport. A campaign video featured candidates for the Best Party singing a version of Tina Turner's Simply The Best (sample lyrics: "Give me a lifetime of promises and a world of dreams".) Analysts said voters had become disenchanted with existing political parties after the country's banking collapse two years ago.

Teenagers are dressing like werewolves in the newest craze to hit American high schools. The trend is said to be inspired by the Twilight series of books and films, with pack members sporting fake fangs, tails and contact lenses that give their eyes a wolf-like appearance. Up to 20 packs have been observed in San Antonio, Texas, although school authorities say their activities are harmless. One boy's mother, Pam, told a local TV station: "As soon as he walks in the door, he is supposed to take out the fangs, lose the lenses and put his hair back."

The "world's fastest pensioner" has been stripped of his title after it was revealed that he had skipped 10 miles of the London Marathon. Anthony Gaskell, 69, was thought to have completed the race in just three hours - the fastest ever for anyone over 65 - and was given a plaque to commemorate his achievement.

On closer examination, organisers found that his time at the halfway point would have meant Mr Gaskell would have to run the rest of the race faster than the world record holder. It has now emerged that he skipped part of the course at which the marathon doubles back on itself. Mr Gaskell insists he simply left the race early and had no idea his time had been recorded.

Police in Finland raided several homes as part of an investigation into the theft of "virtual furniture" from a social networking site. The detective sergeant Marko Levonen said properties in five cities had been raided in response to several complaints from members of Habbo Hotel, a virtual world with an estimated 100 million members worldwide. Users can buy virtual possessions with credits that can be purchased with real money. Hackers are thought to have stolen passwords to make off with items that they can then sell to other users. Some members had reported the loss of property worth up to ?1000 (Dh4,500).

The question as to whether giraffes can swim - one of the mysteries of the animal world - has been solved by a mathematical model. Although the animals have never been observed taking to the water, most naturalists believed that giraffes would topple over in deeper water and drown.

However, a computer simulation by Donald Henderson, the curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Canada, and Darren Naish, of the University of Portsmouth in England, has shown they would be able swim but very badly. Writing in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, the authors say: "While it is not impossible for giraffes to swim, we speculate that they would perform poorly compared to other mammals and are hence likely to avoid swimming if possible."

jlangton@thenational.ae