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‘Best day ever!’ Internet pokes fun at Mexico’s finance minister grim-faced job acceptance

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Arturo Herrera looks grim in a viral video in which President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador names him finance minister, a job Herrera’s predecessor left in a huff at a time when Latin America’s second largest economy is signaling weakness.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presents new Finance Minister Arturo Herrera in Mexico City, Mexico, July 9, 2019, in this still image taken from a video. REUTERS/Mexican Government TV/Handout via REUTERS

With Herrera at his side, Lopez Obrador for nearly six minutes plays down former Finance Minister Carlos Urzua’s fiery and unexpected resignation letter accusing the government of formulating economic policy without sufficient foundation.

The well-regarded Herrera looks so downcast in the video as to garner far more online attention than Lopez Obrador’s Tuesday remarks.

Internet users interpreted Herrera’s thought process with such lines as, “What if I resigned right now?” “I should have studied childcare” and the ironic “best day ever!”

Body language and behavioral analyst Jesus Enrique Rosas at the Knesix Institute said Herrera’s avoidance of eye contact and rapid blinking – some 60 blinks per minute versus a normal rate of 15 per minute – might reflect heightened nervousness.

As Lopez Obrador repeats his trademark promises, Herrera’s blinking increases; he gulps and displays other signs of uneasiness, Rosas said.

Apparent critics of Lopez Obrador’s leftward policy shift branded Herrera’s stare as the “face of Mexico.”

Opinion polls show that Lopez Obrador, who took office in December after a landslide victory, is supported by a vast majority of Mexicans.

One take on the announcement video amassed more than half a million views on Twitter. It sets the video to the melancholic tunes of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence.”

Later on Tuesday, Herrera looked far more relaxed, telling reporters with a smile that in previous roles, “they accused me of laughing too much… so now I try, in solemn moments, to be careful.”

Reporting by Rebekah F Ward; additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Abraham Gonzalez; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Howard Goller

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Chicago alligator stakeout snaps shut after professional catches reptile

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – An elusive alligator residing in a Chicago lagoon was caught early on Tuesday after the reptile, thought to be an abandoned pet, captivated locals for nearly a week.

The alligator, called “Chance the Snapper” after Chicago-born hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, is a 5-foot-3 male who appeared to be “very healthy,” said Kelley Gandurski, executive director for Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Chicago authorities brought in Frank Robb, an expert from Florida with nearly 24 years experience capturing reptiles, to stake out the animal in Humboldt Park Lagoon on Chicago’s West Side after it eluded a volunteer trapper.

Robb, who arrived on Sunday evening, caught the alligator around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The alligator “needed quiet, and he needed the park to be closed off,” Robb said at a news conference. Robb later held up the animal with its mouth taped shut. Curious locals had been swarming to the lagoon in hopes of catching a glimpse of the unusual creature.

American alligators normally live in freshwater wetlands and marshes in the Southeastern United States – not in the northern Midwest.

Robb said he took eight laps around the lagoon and was able to track down “Chance” soon thereafter. The reptile was caught using a small hook while observing the lily pads.

It is unclear where the alligator, which authorities have said is likely 5 to 10 years old, will reside next, though police previously said it would go to a zoo or animal rescue.

Gandurski took the opportunity to share some advice.

“These types of animals don’t make good pets,” she said. “Come and adopt a cat or a dog from a shelter … there is so much need.”

Reporting by Barbara Smith; editing by Caroline Stauffer and Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Colombian caught in Spain with cocaine under toupee

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A man poses with a drug package on his head, that he hid under a toupee, after being arrested in Barcelona, Spain, in this picture released on July 16, 2019. Spanish National Police via REUTERS

MADRID (Reuters) – A Colombian man was detained at Barcelona’s international airport after half a kilo of cocaine was found hidden under an over-sized toupee, Spanish police said on Tuesday.

Arriving on a flight from Bogota, the man attracted police attention as he looked nervous and had a disproportionately large hairpiece under his hat. They found a package stuck to his head with about 30,000 euros ($34,000) of cocaine.

“There is no limit to the inventiveness of drug traffickers trying to mock controls,” said the police statement.

The statement enclosed a photo of a middle-aged man – apparently still wearing the toupee though with his eyes blocked in the image – but gave no more details of his identity.

Over 100 kilos of cocaine were seized by Spanish police at the Barcelona-El Prat airport in 2018.

The Colombian was detained at the end of June.

($1 = 0.8894 euros)

Reporting by Sarah Dagher; Editing by Paul Day and Andrew Cawthorne

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The longest toilet break? Belgian sits for five days in bid for record

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OSTEND, Belgium (Reuters) – A Belgian man sat on a toilet for nearly five days this week in a bid to set a world record.

Belgian Jimmy de Frenne sits on a toilet in a cafe in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records for a new record for sitting on a toilet for the longest time, in Ostend, Belgium, July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Jimmy De Frenne, a 48-year old who is learning to be a bus driver, set himself a challenge of sitting for 165 hours on a toilet set up specially for the feat in the middle of a bar, but gave up on Friday morning after 116 hours.

“Self-mockery is the best humor there is. Why am I doing this? Why not? There is nothing I like more than people making fun of me, because then I can do the same with them,” De Frenne told Reuters Television.

Filip’s Place bar in Ostend was open throughout, allowing De Frenne’s friends and family to stop by for a chat.

De Frenne was allowed five minutes off every hour, which he could accumulate over several hours to allow him to sleep. Ironically, he needed toilet breaks as his bar toilet was not plumbed in.

Sitting that long was not as easy as it might have seemed.

“I was very tired and my legs hurt but I believe in my success and try to make this record official,” de Frenne said.

There is no official world record for the sitting on a toilet, but De Frenne said he had discovered someone else had done it for 100 hours before.

De Frenne said Guinness World Records was aware of the record attempt and that local officials and witnesses were making checks to validate it.

No one was immediately available for comment at Guinness World Records.

Writing by Alexandra Regida; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Frances Kerry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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