Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
The Kraken wakes: first images of giant squid filmed in deep ocean
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese-led team of scientists has captured on film the world's first live images of a giant squid, journeying to the depths of the ocean in search of the mysterious creature thought to have inspired the myth of the "kraken", a tentacled monster. The images of the silvery, three-meter (10 feet) long cephalopod, looming out of the darkness nearly 1 km below the surface, were taken last July near the Ogasawara islands, 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo.
U.S. Franciscan friars go digital, accept prayer requests via text
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The largest group of Franciscan friars in the United States is offering the faithful a new way to pray in the digital age by accepting prayer requests via text messages. The Friars of Holy Name Province, who staff 40 parishes and have colleges, soup kitchens and food centers along the eastern seaboard, as well as groups in Peru and Tokyo, are among a few religious groups offering this type of digital service.
Brazilian prostitutes keen to "learn the lingo" for 2014 World Cup
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Prostitutes in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte are signing up in droves for free language classes in order to be ready for a barrage of foreign visitors to the tropical country during the 2014 soccer World Cup. The women join many others in Brazilian society, from politicians to construction workers, who are racing the clock to prepare 12 host cities throughout the nation for the international soccer championship.
Cameroon acquits two men sentenced for "looking gay"
YAOUNDE (Reuters) - A Cameroon appeal court on Monday overturned the convictions of two men found guilty of homosexuality and sentenced to five years in jail for cross-dressing and wearing make-up. Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon but recent incidents have highlighted growing tension between a largely conservative society and a younger generation less concerned by the issue.
Man avoids jail time in $10 million caviar smuggling caper
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man who evaded authorities for 23 years on charges he unlawfully imported more than $10 million worth of caviar into the United States was spared jail time at his sentencing on Monday. Instead, a judge in U.S. District Court in Manhattan imposed a punishment of time already served on Isidoro "Mario" Garbarino, 69, who has been in custody since September 10.
Bobcat attacks Massachusetts man in garage
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A Massachusetts man and his nephew were attacked by a bobcat that had slipped into the man's garage before they captured and shot the 30-pound animal. Roger Mundell Jr. said the bobcat hissed then leaped about eight feet and pounced on him after he entered the garage in Brookfield, a town about an hour outside of Boston where bobcats are occasionally spotted but rarely attack people.
Welcome to Macca's as McDonald's goes Aussie
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Looking for a McDonald's in Australia this month? You may bump into a "Macca's" instead. The international fast food giant will temporarily change signs at selected stores across the country to "Macca's," the affectionate Australian nickname for the chain, in celebration of Australia Day, which falls on January 26 - a move that is its first such globally.