The crazy year that was
From Pennywise on the loose to people faking their own deaths and the world's costliest banana, 2019 gave us the laughs, before we closed the decade.
Praking clown goes to jail
A prankster who was posing as scary clown Pennywise from the popular It film franchise ran into trouble with the law. The mysterious person was scaring unsuspecting people in Ukraine by dressing up as Pennywise and sneaking up on them in public places. Local authorities initiated criminal proceedings against the clown. "Our videos are not violence propaganda," the clown later said.
The scuba-diving Santa
An aquarium in Paris enlisted the help of a Santa Claus to educate kids about climate change and biodiversity. A man dressed in a traditional Santa outfit, complete with scuba diving gear, swam among fish and even a shark, while teaching kids about environment preservation. Alexandre Dalloni, an aquarium scientist claimed that the shark posed no threat to the Santa. "The shark is an animal which isn't going to attack a human for no reason. There are attacks, but they're accidental," he said.
The living funerals of South Korea
Hoping to get a fresh perspective on life, more than 25,000 people faked their deaths at the Hyowon Healing Centre in South Korea. The Centre started offering these services, after rising unemployment and joblessness began squashing the career aspirations of the country's youth. People of all ages took part in the 'living funeral', even going so far as to lie in a closed coffin for ten minutes. "Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life," 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee told Reuters, UK.
Couple who paid Rs 85L for banana
Billy and Beatrice Cox from Miami turned heads when they purchased Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan's artwork for $1,20,000 (R85 lakh). They received international attention because Cattelan's artwork is essentially a banana duct-taped to a wall. The Coxes said, "We are aware of the absurdity of the fact that it is an otherwise perishable piece of produce...Ultimately, it will become an iconic historical object," they added.
The boy with 500 teeth
A seven-year-old boy in Chennai who grumbled about an aching jaw was taken to the hospital. Surgeons at the Saveetha Dental College and Hospital operated on him and found 526 teeth stuffed inside a "well-defined bag-like mass" near his jaw. The surgery was successful and it was performed free of cost. Dentists at the hospital were unsure about whether the cause was environmental or genetic.
Statue for seafaring cat
Matthew Flinders was a renowned English cartographer and navigator, who is credited with mapping Australia. He had a faithful cat named Trim who accompanied him during his adventures. The Mitchell library in Sydney honoured Flinders by erecting his statue right outside the library. Behind the statue of Flinders stands a bronze statue of his feline friend Trim.
Angry Pak fan inspired a meme
The Pakistani cricket team struggled to make a mark during the ICC Cricket World Cup, held in England this year. Pakistan played a match against Australia in Tauton. Their poor performance prompted a fan to look at them disapprovingly, standing with his arms akimbo. The look of anger, as he watched the team falter, grabbed the attention of sports fans worldwide. Twitterati turned his reaction into a meme, which then went viral on social media.
A plane joined city-wide dog hunt
Emilie Talermo, a San Francisco resident hired a plane to find Jackson, her miniature Australian Shepherd. She paid a hefty sum of $1,200 (R85,000 approx) for the plane to fly around the city with a banner displaying the website she had set up for her missing pet. "I am just one person and I really need help getting the word out there," Talermo told The Huffington post. Jackson was stolen outside a grocery store. She also offered a prize of $7,000 (R5 lakh approx.) to whoever returned Jackson.
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