Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
"Disrespectful" IKEA ad touches nerve with Thai transsexuals
BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai man and his girlfriend are shopping at a furniture store. She sees pillows on sale and gets excited, her feminine voice falls suddenly to a deep male-like tone. Shocked and horrified, her boyfriend runs off.
Belgian trainee teachers fail in basic general knowledge
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A large number of Belgium's future secondary school teachers struggle with basic concepts of geography, politics and history, a study published on Wednesday has shown. Among final year teaching students involved in the study, one in three could not identify the United States on a map and almost half did not know where the Pacific Ocean was.
Smallest house in Brussels up for auction
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Cosy might be the best word to describe the smallest house in Brussels, which is about to go up for auction. The centuries-old former furniture workshop and creperie a stone's throw from the Belgian capital's picturesque central square is just 2.75 meters wide and has a ground floor only 1.75 meters (5 foot 9 inches) across.
Racy Victorian divorces online at genealogy website
LONDON (Reuters) - The original Mrs Robinson's diary and scandalous suggestions about a former heir to the British throne are all part of the latest ancestral revelations to go online. British genealogical website Ancestry.co.uk said on Tuesday it has put the transcripts of thousands of Victorian divorce proceedings online, which reveal the racy details of an era that most modern Britons consider to have been dominated by imperial duty, a stiff upper lip and formal familial relations.
Cheese fire causes traffic meltdown in Norway tunnel
OSLO (Reuters) - A truckload of burning cheese has closed a road tunnel in Arctic Norway for the last six days. Some 27 metric tons of flaming brown cheese (brunost), a Norwegian delicacy, blocked off a three-km (1.9 mile) tunnel near the northern coastal town of Narvik when it caught fire last Thursday. The fire was finally put out on Monday.
Rotten eggs stench reaches UK after French gas leak
PARIS (Reuters) - A cloud of harmless gas smelling of sweat and rotten eggs leaked out of a chemicals factory in northwest France and wafted across the English Channel as far as London on Tuesday. The leak occurred on Monday morning at a Lubrizol France plant near Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Paris, and winds blew the invisible gas cloud south over northern France on Monday night and then up into England on Tuesday.