x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'In Lord Shani we trust', says Indian bank with no locks

The week's offbeat news, from an Indian bank relying on divine protection instead of conventional security to soldiers making combat greener with solar panels.

A bank in India is to open its first branch that will have no locks on the doors.

Officials at the Union Commercial Bank say there is no danger of theft because the presence of a deity, Lord Shani, has ended all crime in the village of Shani Shinganapur, in the central Indian state of Maharashtra.

At least 5,000 people visit a shrine to Lord Shani there, with the bank saying that it is copying the habits of village citizens, who have no locks on their doors.

A local politician explained: "People here fear that if there is a theft or robbery, then the culprit and their family have to bear the wrath of Lord Shani."

 

Was chariot a getaway car?

After recovering a stolen antique Roman statue, Italian police say the thief has led them to the lost tomb of the Emperor Caligula.

Detectives from the archaeological squad of the country's tax police intercepted a man as he was loading part of the statue onto a lorry near Lake Nemi, south of Rome. Although the statue is estimated to be worth Dh3.6 million, experts are more excited by the location of the find, where excavations have now begun.

Caligula's reign was marked by incest, slaughter and his appointment of his horse as a consul. Regarded as insane, he was killed by the Praetorian guard at age 28.

 

Racers cut up the rough

The world of lawnmower racing has been rocked by a brawl between two participants during an event in New Zealand. After their machines collided during a race, landscape contractor Simon Hunt and chainsaw shop worker Willy Boyd traded punches in the middle of the course. Mr Boyd accused the other racer of trying to tip him over and said he could have been seriously injured.

Mr Boyd's boss, Mark Mclellan, who also sponsors the race at the Lake Hayes A & P Show, said: "There's not going to be any apologies from us. I totally condone the response." Both drivers now face a lifetime ban.

 

Cloning idea kind of woolly

Scientists from Japan, Russia and the US have announced that they hope to clone a mammoth within six years.

The scientists say they will extract DNA from a frozen mammoth kept in a Russian laboratory and insert it into the egg of an African elephant to produce an embryo. The embryo will then be inserted into a host mother elephant.

The technique was first used to produce a mouse, using cells frozen for 16 years.

Mammoths are believed to have died out 12,000 years ago.

 

Fighting a greener war

US marines in combat in Afghanistan are claiming to have cut their carbon footprint by 90 per cent by taking solar panels into battle.

The panels are transported by Humvees to augment power generators while the marines are on combat missions. They have cut the amount of fuel used from 20 gallons a day to just 2.5 gallons, meaning they can also reduce the size of supply convoys, which are frequently attacked.

The electrical generators, now quieter, make it harder for the insurgents to pinpoint the soldiers' positions at night.

jlangton@thenational.ae