Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania carries his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene as they compete during the Wife Carrying World Championships in Sonkajarvi, Finland, July 6, 2019. Lehtikuva / Timo Hartikainen via REUTERS
SONKAJARVI, Finland (Reuters) – A Lithuanian couple won the World Wife-Carrying Championship for a second time in a row in the Finnish town of Sonkajarvi on Saturday, triumphing in a contest where men complete an obstacle course with their wives slung over their shoulders.
Each year, the championship draws thousands of visitors to the town of only about 4,000 inhabitants in central Finland. Saturday’s competition was the 24th year it has been held.
Having gained followers across the world, preliminary competitions were held in countries such as the United States, Australia, Poland and Britain, organizers said on their website.
Among the two dozen contesting couples, Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene came out on top for a second straight year, completing a 253.5 meter (277 yards) obstacle course featuring a water trap in 1 minute and 6 seconds.
The Lithuanian couple claimed the first place prize – consisting of the wife’s weight in beer – after beating six-time champion Taisto Miettinen of Finland and his partner Katja Kovanen by the slimmest of margins – 0.1 seconds.
“I was looking at the watch and I thought I’m not going to make it, but we did it,” Kirkliauskas said.
Wife-carrying as a sport drew inspiration from the 19th century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who compelled would-be members of his gang to prove their mettle by carrying sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course.
The competition is also said to look back to an even earlier practice of wife-stealing – leading many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife.
Reporting by Attila Cser; Writing by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian
Chicago alligator stakeout snaps shut after professional catches reptile
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
Colombian caught in Spain with cocaine under toupee
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
The longest toilet break? Belgian sits for five days in bid for record
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
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