Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
German biscuit-maker appeals to "Cookie Monster" thief
BERLIN (Reuters) - One of Germany's most famous biscuit-makers has appealed to an extortionist dressed as the "Cookie Monster" to return its prized golden biscuit emblem. The Bahlsen biscuit company's emblem has hung above its headquarters in Hanover since 1913 and was first reported stolen a week ago.
"Nappy" hunters leave Norwegian baby bottoms bare
OSLO (Reuters) - Southern Norway is in the midst of a diaper shortage after a supermarket price war lured enterprising bulk shoppers from eastern Europe who have cleaned out the shelves, customs officials and retailers said. Norway is one of the world's most expensive countries. However, supermarkets in the south trying to lure local customers by undercutting rivals on the price of "nappies" inadvertently made it profitable enough for residents of nearby countries to start trading in them.
Serbia PM orders inquiry into "Basic Instinct" fake TV interview
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's prime minister, who was flashed by a model without underwear masquerading as a television interviewer, has launched an investigation into how he became the target of the prank, an aide said on Thursday. The video of Ivica Dacic being interviewed by a brunette former model from Croatian Playboy, who uncrosses her legs in a scene reminiscent of actress Sharon Stone in the film "Basic Instinct", has been viewed 2.7 million times on YouTube.
Dr. Phil says Manti Te'o hoaxer admits to love for linebacker
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California man who has admitted to fabricating Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend in an elaborate hoax told talk show host Phil McGraw he felt a deep romantic love for the football player, McGraw said on Wednesday. "Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw told the television morning show "Today" to discuss his two part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, which will air on "Dr. Phil" on Thursday and Friday.
Naples' buses stop as operator runs out of fuel
ROME (Reuters) - Naples residents were left stranded at bus stops across Italy's third biggest city on Wednesday as the public transport operator, hit by government spending cuts, ran out of fuel. "Due to a lack of fuel our services are not guaranteed," transport operator ANM announced on its website and at bus stops around the city, enraging commuters.
Chinese millionaire fights pollution with thin air
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foulest fortnight for air pollution in memory has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by a multimillionaire with a streak of showmanship who is selling canned fresh air. Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, on Wednesday handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from far-flung, pristine regions of China such as Xinjiang in the northwest to Taiwan, the southeast coast.
France to turn off office and shop lights at night
PARIS (Reuters) - French shops and office buildings will have to turn off their lights at night to save energy and reduce light pollution, the French environment ministry said on Wednesday. From July 1, all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises. All exterior and shop window lighting will have to be turned off by 1 am.
China parliament: no flowers, gifts and keep speeches short
BEIJING (Reuters) - No flowers, no banquets, no gifts, no welcoming ceremonies and more importantly no useless long-winded speeches -- Chinese state media on Wednesday laid out strict instructions for this year's annual meeting of parliament. Normally a bastion of sycophancy, as the hand-picked delegates seek to out-compete each other in lauding the Communist Party, the official Xinhua news agency said that would change when the largely rubber stamp parliament meets in March.
Nudists lose bid to block San Francisco ban on baring all
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nudists in famously tolerant San Francisco lost a bid on Tuesday to block a city ban on nakedness in public places, when a federal judge threw out a legal challenge that argued public nudity was akin to political expression. San Francisco city leaders last month approved the ban on baring it all in streets, public plazas and the transit system to curtail public nudity, which some residents and business owners complained had gotten out of control.
Japanese husbands shout their love for wives in public
TOKYO (Reuters) - Love was in the air in a Tokyo park as normally staid Japanese husbands gathered to scream out their feelings for their wives, promising gratitude and extra tight hugs. With modesty and reticence traditionally valued over outspokenness, expressing deeper feelings like love has long been hard in Japan.