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New World Order 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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New World Order
"Father Justin," an AI priest created by Catholic Answers, a Christian group in San Diego, was defrocked on April 24 after claiming to users that he was a real member of the clergy and performing sacraments, the New York Post reported. Holy Justin told users he was a priest in Assisi, Italy. He shared his views on sexual issues and took confession, concluding with, "Go in peace, my child, and sin no more." He also advised one user that they could use Gatorade to baptize their child. Christopher Check, president of Catholic Answers, explained: "We chose the character to convey a quality of knowledge and authority ... Many people, however, have voiced concerns about this choice." The avatar was rebranded as Virtual Apologist Justin, minus the cassock and collar, after an uproar about his behavior. "We won't say he's been laicized," Check said, "because he was never a real priest!"

Internationals Behaving Badly
Artist Benediktas Gylys went live with his installation "Portal" on May 14, United Press International reported. "Portal" is a live video stream connecting New York City with Dublin, Ireland. But it was switched off the same day because of "instances of inappropriate behavior" that have been "amplified on social media." The naughty actions included swearing, nudity and displays of images from the 9/11 terror attacks in New York. "I thought the people of Dublin deserved to see my two New York homegrown potatoes," said Ava Louise, who bared her breasts to "Portal." Governments on both sides of the pond are considering actions to take to curb the bad behavior.

It's a Mystery
On April 25, an employee at the Avalon Theater in Marysville, Ohio, who had noticed a person acting suspiciously the night before, discovered a treasure in the restroom: $25,000 in cash, WBNS-TV reported. Two days later, $12,000 turned up in a KFC restroom. "I would absolutely say they are connected in some way," said police Capt. Nate Sachs. Authorities determined that the money is legitimate. "One is just weird in and of itself," Sachs said, "but two times in one week is definitely another level." He encouraged citizens to call police if they find any more cash to "help us with our investigation."

Questionable Judgment
• On May 2 in Johnson County, Kansas, the district attorney charged 21-year-old Jace Christian Hanson, of Kansas City, Missouri, with unlawfully adulterating or contaminating food, a felony, at the Hereford House restaurant in Leawood, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reported that Hanson was connected with videos posted online showing him urinating into restaurant-style food containers and rubbing food on his body parts, including his feet. The FBI, which received a tip, contacted the restaurant after pinging Hanson's phone and finding his car in the parking lot; the head chef confirmed that the au jus container shown in one video belonged to the Hereford House. When asked about it, Hanson said, "I'll just be straight up, yeah." He said men online, whom he had met through dating apps, had asked him to make the videos and revealed that he had committed more than 20 incidents of contaminating food. The restaurant destroyed all its food and sanitized the kitchen and adjacent areas. Gives a whole new meaning to "au jus."

• Firelands Elementary School in Henrietta Township, Ohio, was locked down on May 1 after a sasquatch was spotted running past classroom windows, WKYC-TV reported. Superintendent Michael Von Gunten said a person in a Bigfoot costume parked in one of the district's lots, "crossed our campus and caused the district to enter into a lockdown." Kids outside on recess were quickly moved indoors. Bigfoot never made it inside any of the buildings; the Lorain County sheriff's office revealed the person in the costume was a parent pulling a prank. The parent was pulled over in a traffic stop, but no charges have been filed yet.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Middleburg Heights, Ohio, residents who were hoping to do business at the Social Security office there were turned away in early May, News 5 reported on May 2. It wasn't computer issues or flooding that shut the office down, though. Michael Murphy, president of the Local 3448 of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the problem was raccoons. "There's urine stains on the tiles. The smoke detectors came falling down. ... (A)pparently the animals may be eating through the wiring." When 25% of the lighting went out, employees got in touch with Murphy. "These employees were reporting concerns of noises above the ceiling as early as January," he said. The SSA released a statement saying the office would reopen "as soon as possible."

No Longer Weird
The last four years have brought about 700 reports of orcas attacking boats. On May 12, in the Strait of Gibraltar, a 49-foot-long vessel called Alboran Cognac sank after repeated blows from a group of orcas, Reuters reported. The yacht carried two people, who felt the shocks before water started seeping in. They alerted rescue services, and a nearby oil tanker took them in. Researchers don't know why the animals attack ships.

Awesome!
World War II veteran Roger Wonson of Beverly, Massachusetts, turned 100 years old on April 20, CBS News reported. Wonson celebrated with his family and friends and a custom cake—and by playing drums with his band, The Current Voltage, at his senior living facility on April 24. Wonson also played saxophone during the performance. He said his brother got him into drumming: "When he was 18 and I was 12 ... I said, 'Gee, can I practice on the drums?' and he said, 'Sure.' So that's the way it started." The Current Voltage includes some of his fellow residents and staffers from the facility.

Least Competent Criminal
An unnamed woman who had been accused of stealing a car was released from jail on May 3 in Boulder, Colorado. Upon her release, she walked down the road until she found a truck with the keys inside, the Associated Press reported. She got as far as starting the truck, but when she was confronted with the truck's manual transmission, she got out and walked off, leaving the truck to roll forward and hit a fire hydrant. She was arrested again and has a May 30 court date for multiple offenses.

Stickin' It to the Man
Etienne Constable received a letter in July 2023 from Seaside, California, asking him to conceal the boat he'd had parked in his driveway for about four years, The Washington Post reported. The city said boats and trailers must be "screened on the side and front by a 6-foot fence." Constable installed a fence—and hired his neighbor, mural artist Hanif Panni, to paint a photorealistic image of the boat and the rest of the driveway on the side of the fence that faces the road. The mural was completed in early May. "We kind of hit the sweet spot between following the rules and making an elegant statement to the contrary," Constable said. Nick Borges, Seaside's city manager, admired the work and said, "The only action I'm going to take is a high five, and that's it."

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