World Stories You May Have Missed: Spring 2018


WSYMHM is back with a few more interesting, amusing, and downright bizarre stories from around the globe.

Stockholm triumphs at the European TramDriver Championships

That’s right, there is an official competition for the best tram drivers in Europe to show off their skills. This year it was held in Stuttgart, Germany, and competitors were judged on their spatial awareness, braking skills and ability to judge distances. Stockholm were crowned champions, with Frankfurt following them closely in second place. Unfortunately, Stuttgart’s own team came in at a slightly disappointing 21st place, but apparently took it well.

Liquid chocolate explosion on a Polish highway

A truck said to be carrying 12 tonnes of chocolate caused chaos when it overturned on the highway connecting the city of Poznań to Warsaw. All six lanes were covered and, by the time the chocolate had solidified, hefty queues of traffic had built up on either side of the spill. Fortunately, no one was badly injured, but the driver of the truck was taken to hospital with a broken arm. This section of road doesn’t normally see frequent accidents, so this was certainly a first!

The cleanup job was tricky, with Bogdan Kowalski of Slupca’s fire brigade saying:

The cooling chocolate is worse than snow.

To make matters worse, the chocolate was spread for several kilometres along the road as, in the initial moments after the accident, many continued to drive through the chocolate.


Sweden’s ‘If Crisis or War Comes’ brochure is sent to all Swedish households

The brochure aims to prepare the nation for potential crisis and emphasises the importance of being willing to help each other out. It promotes the idea of individuals taking responsibility in aid of a national collaborative approach to maintaining the country’s security and safety. It provides information about how to prepare at home for disaster, and what to do if one occurs, as well as information about Sweden’s defences and warning systems.

Embed from Getty Images

South Korean radioactive mattress disaster

More than 60,000 mattresses from Daijin beds had to be recalled when, according to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, they were found to be emitting radon – a radioactive gas – at a level nine times greater than the national safety standard.

Ironically, the radon was being emitted from the mineral-based negative ion powder the company added to the mattresses for supposed health benefits. Radon exposure can lead to lung diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia and even lung cancer. This doesn’t sound like the most convincing health fad of the year!

Credit: Pixabay (Public Domain)

Another setback for the toxic algae crisis on Chilean salmon farms

This natural phenomenon of toxic micro-algae occurs when temperatures and solar radiation levels are high. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either, with the most severe outbreak occurring in 2016 when 100,000 tonnes of salmon were lost. Although Chile had hoped to recover the loss by the end of 2018, this year’s algal bloom has led to the death of thousands of tonnes of salmon and is a cause of great concern for salmon farm companies.

Arturo Clement, President of SalmonChile, said:

To date, the mortality is of the order of 0.9% of the biomass in the water, which is substantially less than what was in 2016, when it was 14%.

A Japanese rail company apologises for leaving 25 seconds early

The operator described their apparent slipping standards as ‘…truly inexcusable’, especially considering that a similar issue occurred in November. This is despite the conductor’s efforts to see if he could spot any waiting passengers on the platform before deciding to push ahead 25 seconds ahead of schedule. However, this didn’t end up boding well for him considering Japan’s reputation for impeccable punctuality on trains, and it seems that there were indeed passengers still waiting to board. The official apology was issued shortly after complaints were received.

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Editor’s Note: To read our special Africa Month ‘African Stories You May Have Missed’ edition, please click here.


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