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How bizarre
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-04-30 09:06:59
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Dutch football club VVV 'signs up' hat-trick toddler

A Dutch football club has awarded a toddler a symbolic 10-year contract after watching video of him scoring a hat trick into his toy box. When Baerke van der Meij, one and a half, drove three balls into the box one after another, his father Jorg posted the video on YouTube.

VVV, the club in the south-eastern town of Venlo where the family live, invited Baerke for a "trial". They were doubly impressed by the fact his grandfather had played for VVV. "Baerke did his best to amaze professional footballer Ken Leemans with his football techniques," the club said.

"One can speak of a right-footed player with a very good kick technique, perseverance and, importantly, football genes of grandfather Jan van der Meij." Importantly, too, the little Dutchman can shout "bal" (English: ball). The signing of the contract, with a little help from Jorg, was toasted with a glass of orange juice.


India bank termites eat piles of cash

bizarre02_14Staff at an Indian bank has been blamed for allowing termites to eat their way through banknotes worth millions of rupees. Staff at the bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is reported to have been found guilty of "laxity".

The insects are believed to have chewed their way through notes worth some 10 million rupees ($225,000/£137,000). A similar incident happened in 2008, when termites in Bihar state ate a trader's savings stored in his bank. The State Bank of India says an enquiry into the latest incident has been held.

"The branch management has been found guilty of laxity due to which the notes were damaged by termites in the Fatehpur branch of Barabanki district," State Bank of India Chief General Manager Abhay Singh told the Press Trust of India. "Action will be taken against those responsible in the matter.”As it was the bank's fault, it will bear the loss caused due to termites... there will be no loss to the public." Ms Singh said that identity numbers on the majority of the notes were still intact, which meant that they could be replaced. Bank officials discovered that the notes - which were kept in a strong room - had been damaged by termites earlier this month.


Father goose holds aurora visitors hostage

bizarre03_08An overprotective father goose has taken to blocking the door at Aurora's Municipal Building. Ralph and his wife Alice, as they've been nicknamed by the ground staff, come back every year to nest at the building.

Alice has chosen one of the city's giant flower planters as her nesting spot, according to Lori MacKenzie, spokeswoman for the city of Aurora.

Ralph typically patrols and protects from the nearby lawn, but this week, he was seen blocking the door near his mate's nest, MacKenzie said. On Aurora's Facebook page, someone posted that the overprotective father goose's tactics include, "threatening stares through the glass and persistent beak taps on the door."


Internet lets a criminal past catch up quicker

bizarre04_07Convicted of robbing a video store in California in 1997, Ayanna Spikes decided to change the trajectory of her life. In 14 years, she has had no further brushes with the law. The eight months she spent in prison, she said, were “the best thing that ever happened to me,” persuading her to pursue training in medical administration and complete coursework for a degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. At 38, she is a far different person from the confused young woman who strayed into crime, she says.

But employers, initially impressed by her credentials, grow leery when they learn her history through criminal background checks. She has been turned down for more than a dozen jobs since finishing college in 2010.

The pool of Americans seeking jobs includes more people with criminal histories than ever before, a legacy in part of stiffer sentencing and increased enforcement for nonviolent crimes like drug offenses, criminal justice experts said. And each year, more than 700,000 people are released from state and federal prisons, a total that is expected to grow as states try to reduce the fiscal burden of their overcrowded penal institutions.

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