In Brief: Shrew stew nets prize
Researchers who swallowed a parboiled shrew, discovered that dung beetles navigate by the stars and invented a machine to launch hijackers from airplanes were among the winners of this year's Ig Nobel prizes for comical scientific achievements.
The annual prizes, meant to entertain and encourage global research and innovation, are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes, which will be announced next month.
PANTS FOIL GETAWAY
A robber who was running away with his hands full of loot from a Florida church was caught when his baggy pants started slipping off, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
She said the man, Anthony Jason Garcia (31), had been praying in the sanctuary of a large Catholic church near Walt Disney World on Wednesday when he arose, went into the gift shop, grabbed the cash drawer and ran toward the courtyard with church maintenance director Joe Larkin in pursuit.
STADIUM LANGUAGE ROW
A day after agreement was finally reached to build a new national stadium in Belgium, a dispute has broken out in the linguistically split country over the language to be used.
The planned 60,000-seater stadium is to be the centrepiece of Brussels' bid to host the 2020 European soccer championships.
AD SPICES UP POLITICS
A satirical party has spiced up a dull German election campaign with a television advert depicting a 90-second sex scene, blurred but leaving little to the imagination.
Die Partei (The Party), whose policies include building a wall around Germany and putting Chancellor Angela Merkel on trial in a cage, said the ad was designed to represent its family policy.
DRIVEWAY PARKING FINE
Some residents in a US city are being ticketed for parking in their own driveways under an obscure regulation that requires them to pay $225 (€169) for a permit if they wish to park within 30 feet of a street.
Pittsburgh city council members say they have been getting complaints about the tickets issued by its building inspection agency. The agency does not issue tickets unless residents complain. Often, those complaints are not prompted by people who park in driveways but by those who create cement or gravel pads in front of their homes to park larger commercial vehicles, which some consider eyesores.