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Giant Jesus statue rises above Polish countryside (Reuters)

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SWIEBODZIN, Poland (Reuters Life!) – A statue of Jesus Christ that its builders say will be the largest in the world is fast rising from a Polish cabbage field and local officials hope it will become a beacon for tourists.

The builders expect to attach the arms, head and crown to the robed torso in coming days, weather and cranes permitting, completing a project conceived by local Catholic priest Sylwester Zawadzki and paid for by private donations.

Standing on an artificial mound, the plaster and fibre glass statue will stand some 52 metres (57 yards) when completed, taller than the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms that gazes over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Polish officials say.

The actual statue will measure 33 metres — Zawadzki has said this reflects the fact that Jesus died at 33, according to Christian tradition — and weigh 440 tonnes.

“I’m happy because this project will bring publicity to our town, not only in Poland but also from the global media. Other countries are showing a lot of interest,” said Dariusz Bekisz, mayor of Swiebodzin, a town of about 21,000 people in western Poland some 100 km (60 miles) from the German border.

“More people will visit Swiebodzin and leave their money. Some will come for spiritual reasons, others out of curiosity,” he said, adding no public money had been used in the project.

“The priest, Father Zawadzki, is a man of action who always, throughout his life, has built and created… In the future we’re going to have to think about bringing the carnival to Swiebodzin too, just as in Rio,” he joked.

SCEPTICISM

Zawadzki is avoiding media for the time-being and Polish church leaders could not immediately be reached for comment. But the editor of Poland’s Catholic Information Agency (KAI) sounded a sceptical note.

“Everybody has a right to do what they want. Swiebodzin’s Jesus project doesn’t touch my religious sensitivity. These kinds of monuments don’t have much to do with spirituality,” editor Tomasz Krolak said.

“People should think more about building within themselves rather than making big monuments.”

Local townspeople seemed bemused by the whole affair.

“Building Jesus is an interesting idea, but I’m afraid we can’t beat Rio. I don’t treat this 100 percent seriously,” said local resident Piotr Pinio.

Others thought the money could have been put to better use.

“There are far more important aims to which we could put the money — sick children, for example, orphanages, old people. Do we really have to build a big Jesus statue to make people believe,” said Mieczyslawa Hundert.

Poland remains one of the most religiously observant countries in Europe and its churches are regularly packed on Sundays, especially in the countryside and smaller towns. (Writing by Gareth Jones, editing by Paul Casciato)

Bernd Ottovordemgentschenfelde – the man with the longest name in Germany

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Filling out a German form Bernd Ottovordemgentschenfelde says he has trouble getting his name to fit on official forms Photo: ALAMY

The 45-year-old floor tiler from the Rhineland says he has trouble getting his name to fit on official forms, as well as the side of his van.

He often has to shorten his name for credit cards, while his wife Sylvia, 45, and daughter Nadine, 14, have both shortened their last name to Gentschenfelde.

“My father wanted to give me a second first name,” he said. “But my mother successfully stopped that!”

Judth Schwanke, a name expert from the University of Leipzig in Germany, confirmed he currently has the longest name on record, at 24 letters.

Robbery-hit city hides its statues (Reuters)

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The eastern Dutch city of Nijmegen is taking 10 statues off the streets after some of its bronzes were stolen and most likely melted down to take advantage of the high price of the metal alloy.

Among the statues to be removed for safe-keeping is “Mariken van Nieumeghen” — or Mariken from Nijmegen — which refers to a local character in one of the Netherlands’ earliest books, written around the year 1500.

The city plans to protect the statues by implanting a GPS chip or may replace them with copies made from cheaper materials.

(Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Sara Webb)

US woman solves Wheel of Fortune puzzle with just one letter revealed

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Armed with only an ‘I’ as a clue, Caitlin Burke, a 26-year-old fashion journalist, guessed that the phrase “I’ve got a good feeling about this” lay behind the 26 remaining spaces.

Her gamble won her a holiday in the Caribbean worth $6,500 (£4,029) and stunned Pat Sajak, the veteran host of the US version of the programme.

Asked how she had known the mystery phrase, Miss Burke said: ” I saw that it was a small word, so [thought] ‘I’ve’.

“And I thought maybe ‘got a feeling about’, so I’ve got a hunch and I said ‘I’ve got a feeling about this’,” she said.

Sajak said sarcastically: “Oh, in that case it was easy!”

Footage of Miss Burke’s feat spread across the web on Monday. It was pointed out she was also helped by the previous contestant wrongly guessing the puzzle contained an ‘R’.

Miss Burke won a total of more than $53,000 (£32,850) on the programme. She said she planned to pay off her student loan, buy a Chanel handbag and start a business.

New dad Cameron wants to catch up on sleep in Seoul (Reuters)

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SEOUL (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron joked on Thursday that getting away from home for the G20 summit would allow him to catch up on his sleep after the birth of his baby daughter.

“Everyone else has come to Korea for a summit or a business meeting. I’ve come just for a good night’s sleep,” Cameron told delegates at a business summit.

Cameron and his wife Samantha had a daughter, Florence, in August and also have two other young children.

Cameron is on a gruelling five-day trip which began with an overnight flight from London and a 36-hour visit to China.

The prime minister, who has a quick wit, earlier joked that he was spending more time at the summit promoting England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup than he was on core G20 issues.

Officials use Steeler-styled van to serve warrants (AP)

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CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. – Two constables in western Pennsylvania decided driving around in a car resembling a police cruiser was preventing them from serving warrants. So, they decided to go black and gold.

Constables Hubie Coleman and Albert Younkin used a van decorated in Steelers colors and the team logo.

Coleman says they drove up to houses and honked the horn. People came out to see them because they were curious about the van. That’s when they served the court papers.

They also play the team’s fight song when transporting people to a district judge.

The constables borrowed the van from a car dealership. They tell the Daily Courier of Connellsville that they won’t use it again since their cover is blown, but they are looking for other unique ways to get their job done.

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Information from: The Daily Courier, View the original article here

Cops: Woman harassed drivers by repeatedly braking (AP)

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ABERDEEN, N.J. – Authorities accused a New Jersey woman of repeatedly harassing drivers on the Garden State Parkway by braking repeatedly, causing other motorists to tailgate. Karen Born, 52, was free on $27,500 bail, charged with harassment, falsely incriminating others and filing false reports to law enforcement.

State Police Sgt. Brian Polite told the Asbury Park Press that state troopers issued a warrant for Born’s arrest after 22 incidents of alleged harassment over the summer.

Polite said Born would call police after the other driver pulled over and claim the other driver was harassing and stalking her.

It was not clear whether Born had retained an attorney.

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Information from: Asbury Park Press, View the original article here

Mom sold baby to buy car, police charge (Reuters)

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MIAMI (Reuters) – A Florida woman was charged with trying to sell her infant son in order to pay for a new car, police said Tuesday.

The baby’s grandmother brokered the deal and initially demanded $75,000 but agreed to cut the price to $30,000 when told the prospective buyer could not get a bank loan, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said.

The mother of the eight-week-old boy, Stephanie Bigbee Fleming, 22, of Bradenton, Florida, was to receive $9,000 of the proceeds, the FDLE said.

“Fleming planned to purchase a new vehicle from the money received,” an FDLE spokeswoman said.

Fleming also needed money to pay court costs for an unrelated probation violation, the arrest documents said.

Fleming was arrested Tuesday. The grandmother, Patty Bigbee, 45, was arrested last week with her boyfriend Lawrence Works, 42, both of Holly Hill, Florida. All three were charged with the illegal sale of a child, and Bigbee was also charged with communications fraud, the department said.

The arrest report said Bigbee offered to sell the baby to a female relative in October, explaining she had been caring for her grandchild but “was not mother material.”

The relative alerted police and worked with them during the negotiations. Bigbee and Works were arrested when they collected a $30,000 cashier’s check and handed over the baby to an undercover agent in a Daytona Beach parking lot, police said.

The baby remains in state custody.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Cynthia Otserman)

Pa. home with foot-deep piles of rats coming down (AP)

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NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. – A western Pennsylvania home will be demolished because it is so overrun with rats that they measure about a foot deep in spots.

Officials in Pulaski Township say the home has been a problem in the neighborhood for about a year. Neighbors called the township last week to complain when they saw rats coming out of the home.

Officials say the home’s owner used to breed dogs there. The woman, who is bankrupt, moved out in August and her husband is in a nursing home.

The Beaver County Times reports that an exterminator hopes to kill about 95 percent of the rats before the home is demolished Friday. Officials will erect a perimeter around the home to try and prevent any rats that survive from going into neighboring homes.

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Information from: Beaver County Times, View the original article here