South Africa | The world's offbeat news courtesy of Bernie Sanders' mittens, Elon Musk and, of course, Donald Trump

Here is a weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world:


Rural France's "sensory heritage" of crowing roosters, whiffy farmyards and noisy cow bells has been given legal protection, in news that will swell the chests of cocks on dung heaps everywhere.

No longer will lily-livered weekending urbanites be able to complain about the smell of pigs or slurry-spreading, or indeed the thrill being jolted awake by a cockerel's full-throated call.

All this came about because of a spate of court cases by neo-rurals outraged to discover the country could be noisy, smelly and full of stubborn hicks.

Quack, quack 

But it was another bad week for quacks, particularly the Sri Lankan holy man whose "miracle" Covid-19 cure did not stop his most high-profile customer, a government minister, being hospitalised with the virus.

Another politician who took it has since also been infected.

Chill kitty 

Much better to roll around in some catnip. Scientists have found that the cannabis of the cat world that leaves felines feeling groovy is also great at warding off mosquitoes.

Catnip and silver vine, which researchers told AFP can give even more potent highs, have suddenly made the world of insect repellents that much more fascinating.

Doggone made me cry 

Dog lovers have gone ga-ga at the story of a Turkish mongrel who chased the ambulance carrying her owner to hospital and then waited for days outside for him, returning every morning to her post at the front door.

Unlike Greyfriars Bobby - the pup who guarded his owner's grave in Edinburgh for 14 years - this one had a happy ending as Boncuk and her owner have been reunited.

Trump stiffed 

It's been a rough week for Florida's newest pensioner. No longer the world's most powerful man, Donald Trump was removed from a top wax museum before he even left the White House.

Like his political career, there doesn't appear to be a way back. "We will keep Trump in storage for a while. Maybe we could bring him out for Halloween," the Grevin museum in Paris told AFP.

But Britain is making sure the former president goes down in history. The Museum of London has acquired a huge orange inflatable "Baby Trump" balloon used to mock the president during protests when he visited.

There's always Elon 

Trump may be gone - for now - but we still have Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO's Boring Company wants to build tunnels to relieve traffic in Miami, the capital of swampy south Florida.

That rising sea levels could soon leave the city underwater doesn't worry him.

"Aquaman must be the project manager," one sceptic joked.

"It doesn't seem very smart," a structural engineering professor at the University of Florida cautioned, with other experts adding that there's a reason Floridians don't have basements to shelter from hurricanes in.

But with the state's Republican leaders jumping on board one despairing journalist warned, "Somebody ought to explain the geology of Florida to Elon...."

Go West old man 

The US is no country for young men. The stars of new president 78-year-old Joe Biden's first day in office were himself, virus expert Anthony Fauci, who is 80, and most of all young whipper snapper Bernie Sanders, 79.

The inauguration's biggest fashion moment was not the enormity of Lady Gaga's dress, Garth Brooks' cowboy hat nor the ruffles on Jennifer Lopez's blouse, but Sanders' folksy mittens.

Mitten mania 

"In Vermont... we know something about the cold," the senator said with typical understatement as his gloves trended on Twitter.

The teacher who crafted the mittens from recycled woolly jumpers got 6 000 requests after the ceremony from people begging her to make them a pair.

But Jen Ellis showed a laudable civic conscience by saying "I'm not going to quit my day job" and used the occasion to deliver some good teacherly advice to America.

"I hate to disappoint but you just can't get everything you want."

Do you hear that, Donald

Football news:

Cavani has returned to training and is likely to play against Crystal Palace
Fabio Capello, Juventus played Rugby against the Port. Only Ronaldo and Chiesa can make a difference in this squad
Neymar: I posted how I was recovering from my injury, and I didn't get any messages saying, Wow, what a professional. No
Ole Gunnar Solscher: The work of the judges is very difficult and without additional pressure. We have to make their decisions
Joan Laporta: I'm sure Messi won't stay at Barca if I don't win the election. He gives the club 30% of revenue
Trent had idolized Gerrard since he was a kid, and he was in a fairy tale: he got Steven's care and the captain's armband. The story of a great relationship
Hazard's recovery from the injury is delayed. He probably won't play against Atletico on March 7