World Stories You May Have Missed: December 2017


Welcome to the December edition of the World Stories You May Have Missed series, covering the lesser known or more unusual stories from around the world. 

The commissioner for happiness

A Nigerian governor has created a new role for his sister – a commissioner for happiness. The function of the role has been questioned, with his sister, Ogechi Ololo dismissing claims that she would be in charge of ‘couples’ fulfilment’, saying it was actually ‘purpose fulfilment’. The announcement was met with derision on social media.

She said that her role was to ‘create positive attitudes’ among the people.

Rampaging tractor driver

A tractor driver in Germany has gone on a rampage, knocking down six speed cameras in the small town of Gernsheim in the Hesse region. He has apparently caused hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage. A police spokesperson said he had no alcohol in his system, and the man’s motives are still unclear.

Saudi Arabia allowing cinemas from 2018

Saudi Arabia have said that public cinemas would be allowed in the conservative kingdom, and that the first ones were likely to open early next year.

This marks the latest in a series of reformist efforts spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (pictured below) to marginally liberalise Saudi Arabia and make it more appealing to Western governments. Other notable developments in the last year or so include finally allowing women to obtain drivers’ licenses of their own accord, allowing them to drive without the need to be accompanied by a ‘guardian’, 30 senior royals being arrested on corruption charges, and women also being granted entry into sports stadiums.

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Canadians spend the same on weed and wine

Canadians spent the equivalent of £3.5bn on cannabis in 2015, almost as much as they did on wine. The same report also found that the use of the drug has risen over the years as it became more popular with adults.

In 2015 only 6% of 15-17 year olds smoked cannabis recreationally, compared to two thirds of adults over the age of 25. The government plans to legalise the drug next summer.

North Korean defector soldier given free choco pies for life

As long as the North Korean defector soldier stays in the South, he will be given choco pies free for life. The popular South Korean snack consists of chocolate, a graham cracker crust and marshmallow filling. It was made public that after Oh Chung-sung woke up in hospital from being unconscious, he asked the medical team for some choco pies. Chung-sung’s original dramatic escape from North Korea was caught on camera and can be viewed below:

And finally…

Buying wheelie bins for Christmas

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Bromley council in South London has been criticised for suggesting that people buy their loved ones a £60 wheelie bin for a Christmas present. They suggested that a 240-litre wheelie bin for garden waste with fortnightly collection thrown in as well could be the perfect present for a family member or friends.

The newsletter, that contained the suggestion, says that you can either buy the bin or a gift voucher. With many calling it a ‘rubbish’ idea, it’s hard to imagine who would be pleased to receive a wheelie bin for Christmas!


English and History student.

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