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Preordained 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Preordained
Justin Couch, 25, of Spring Hill, Florida, who sports a tattoo of a machete under his left eye, was arrested June 13, according to the Hernando (Florida) County Sheriff's Office, for allegedly attacking a man with a machete. The unnamed adult male victim told officers Crouch forced him out of the home where he'd been living and began arguing with him "for no reason," reported Fox13 News. As the man attempted to gather his belongings from the home, deputies said, Couch allegedly hit the victim with the flat side of the machete's blade, "then swung the machete at the victim's face," striking his arm with the blade as the man tried to ward off the blow. "The victim is currently unable to use or move his left hand due to the severity of the injury he sustained," investigators said. Couch was arrested for aggravated battery.

Sign of the Times
A perfect storm may be brewing to strike down the long-maligned one-cent coin, the penny. Earlier this year, the U.S. Mint cut back on coin production to keep its workers safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reported NPR's Planet Money. At the same time, people stopped spending, especially with cash, and word of a coin shortage spread, prompting some stores, such as Kroger, to start rounding their prices to avoid making coin change. Last year, the mint made more than 7 billion pennies, almost 60% of its total coin production, and each one-cent coin cost two cents to produce, putting the loss at more than $72 million. Still, the mint has no plans to eliminate the coin. It's been up and running at full capacity since mid-June, and according to spokesman Michael White, about 40% of the coins it has produced since then have been pennies.

Angry Animals
• At Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California, five acres around Manzanita Lake were shut down after a man was attacked by an otter on June 25. Park Superintendent Jim Richardson told the Redding Record Searchlight the unnamed man was swimming in the river and came too close to the otter's offspring, known as kittens. "It is significant anytime an animal attacks a human," Richardson said. He did not believe the man was seriously injured, and he said the otter would not be relocated. "It's the protective momma (doing her job), and the attack came as a surprise," he said.

• Neighbors on Occidental Street in north Oakland, California, are at odds over the presence of Bruce, aka Paco, aka Peter, aka Pierre, aka Abraham ... a peacock. While some residents are happy to welcome him, SFGate.com reported on July 15, others want him to move on and have lodged a complaint with the city. "For the past 15 weeks or so, he has screamed relentlessly, every day," Jesse T. wrote on the Nextdoor app. "It literally feels like he is inside my house." The peacock is believed by Animal Control to be feral. But Dennis Fett of the Peacock Information Center in Minden, Iowa, thinks Bruce/Paco/Peter is providing a service. "They're like a watchdog," Fett said. "They have keen hearing. (The neighbors) should count their blessings."

Chutzpah!
Amber Gilles made news in San Diego, California, in June when she posted a photo of Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez complaining that he "refused to serve me cause I'm not wearing a mask. Next time, I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption." In response, KGTV reported, Matt Cowan of Irvine started a GoFundMe page to collect tips for the barista who "faced ... a Karen in the wild," and soon raised more than $100,000, which Gilles now claims she should get half of. "I've been discriminated against," Gilles said, noting that hiring a lawyer to help her get her half was too expensive, so she has started her own GoFundMe page to raise money. Gutierrez said he plans to use the money to further his education and follow his dream of being a dancer.

Latest Religious Message
Maintenance workers pruning trees in Itaquirai, Brazil, on July 9 discovered a compelling image in a fresh cut from a willow tree. Some of them were convinced that Jesus Christ was depicted in the wood grain of the branch. Oddity Central reports Odimar Souza, who was overseeing the work, posted the image online and explained that just before the image was discovered, the chain on the worker's chainsaw broke and had to be replaced. Back at work, "we cut this same trunk in two pieces and that was when this perfection appeared," Souza wrote.

Inexplicable
An unnamed 37-year-old man driving along a Lincoln, Nebraska, street on July 14 came upon Dominic Kinser, 20, beating a car with a shovel, KOLN reported. After the man pulled over and got out of his car, Kinser turned his anger on him, according to police, yelling at the man and then going into his garage, where he grabbed a rifle, which he pointed at the passerby. Kinser, who police determined owned the car, was charged with making terroristic threats and possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.

Animal Lovers in Maine
• At the Inn Town Motel in Norway, Maine, manager Andrew Coombs was not happy when he entered the room rented by Sean Schoomaker and his girlfriend July 11, hoping to collect payment, and discovered more than 50 large spiders, most of them tarantulas, in plastic boxes. "I booted him," Coombs told the Sun Journal. "He must have snuck them all in at night. We never would have allowed that in our motel." Animal Control officer Robert Larrabee responded to the motel, and the Maine Warden Service confiscated the arachnids, taking them to a facility for exotic animals in Lewiston. Schoomaker was cited for possession of three tarantulas that are illegal in the state.

• Officers from the Somerset County (Maine) Sheriff's Department and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency searched the apartment of Jessica Hutchins, 36, looking for drugs on July 13, which they found, according to Sheriff Dale Lancaster. "We also got an alligator out of her home," he told the Morning Sentinel. The 2-foot-long gator was being kept in Rubbermaid tubs, but, Lancaster said, having an alligator in Maine is illegal without proper permits. Officers seized a total of $12,000 worth of drugs along with the alligator, and Hutchins and several accomplices were charged with a number of drug-related crimes. The gator was removed by the Maine Warden Service.

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com

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