Odds & Ends
After weeks of strenuous denial, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko—often referred to as Europe’s “last dictator”—admitted that his nation was, in fact, invaded by an army of cuddly teddy bears. Swedish news agency The Local had reported that, on July 4, a Swedish plane entered Belarus airspace and dropped 897 teddy bears wearing tiny black parachutes over the town of Ivenets outside the capital city of Minsk. The bears carried signs reading “Belarus freedom” and “We support the Belarus struggle for free speech.” The stunt was mounted by a Swedish ad agency on behalf of the pro-democracy group Charter 97. Belarus’ hardline leader, however, spent nearly a month denying the existence of the fuzzy freedom fighters. Government-controlled media called the story “invented.” A journalism student who posted on his personal website pictures of the teddy bears dangling from trees was arrested and faces up to seven years in prison for “assisting border violators.” Last week, however, Lukashenko ended the cover-up. He called a meeting and fired the nation’s air defense commander and the chairman of the state border committee. “How do you explain the provocation with the airplane that not only crossed our borders, but entered the territory of Belarus unpunished?” asked Lukashenko, according to a press release on the government's website. “Was this the stupidity of specific actors or systemic mistakes in the defense of the airspace?” Pilots of the single-engine propeller plane acknowledged the “calculated risk” of their stunt and expected to be forced down by military jets. Instead, they spent about an hour and 20 minutes inside Belarus airspace and returned to bordering Lithuania unharmed. Analysts say Lukashenko’s anger was fueled by reports that Russia, which helped build Belarus’ air defense system, is furious over the lapse in security.
Though its product is clearly not endorsed by the International Olympic Committee, a Scottish brewery has jumped on the Olympic bandwagon by producing a beer called Never Mind the Anabolics, which contains eight illegal performance-enhancing ingredients. BrewDog Microbrewery in Fraserburgh says the limited-edition beer is designed to “undermine global sponsorship” for the London Olympics. According to the microbrewery’s website, burgers and cans of fizzy pop “are not the most ideal preparation for the steeple chase or the dressage.” The company’s new India Pale Ale contains creatine, guarana, goji berries, kola nut, Gingko, matcha tea and maca powder—all of which are banned for professional athletes. “It seems a beer laced with performance enhancing ingredients isn’t actually illegal, but it is definitely frowned upon,” said James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog. “This is the craft beer community showing the sponsors of the games the finger in the best way we know how.” A percentage of the profits from the company’s latest craft brew will go to help purchase a new surfboard for a “championship surfing dog” named Abbie.
A Pittsburgh-area man is charged with breaking into a woman’s apartment, stealing a potato peeler, a kitchen knife and a small dog. Police in the borough of Coraopolis say a woman called 911 around 3 a.m. to report that a man had just kicked in her apartment door, snatched two utensils out of her dishwasher, picked up her dog and left. A neighbor heard what was going on and briefly struggled with the intruder. Police arrived and found 24-year-old suspect Garrett Stauber sitting shirtless on a couch in his friend’s apartment. Stauber was apparently staying in the apartment, located in the same building as the victim’s. According to the police report, Stauber was drunk. He faces a preliminary hearing later this month.
The World’s Largest Bikini Parade fell more than a little short of the record when virtually no one showed up in the proper attire. The event had been organized in the southern Minnesota town of Madison Lake as part of the annual Paddlefish Days parade. A majority of the town’s City Council opposed the event, saying it was “inconsistent” with the festival’s family-oriented nature. When it became clear that they would have far less than the 451 swimwear-clad walkers needed to break the Guinness World Record, organizers told participants they could wear shorts over their bikini bottoms. Even so, the Free Press in Mankato estimated only 39 people participated. Organizer Cynthia Frederick isn’t giving up—although she is moving towns. “We’ve been invited to Eagle Lake to march next year in their Tater Days parade,” she told the Free Press.
Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to email@example.com.