World Briefs

Spain goes lottery crazy

Spain’s Christmas lottery spread €2.3 billion in across the country yesterday, money eagerly welcomed by a nation facing 20 per cent unemployment.

The lottery billed as the world’s richest has no single jackpot but operates a complex share-the-wealth system in which thousands of five-digit numbers running from 00000 to 84999 win at least something. It is known as El Gordo (The Fat One) and dates back to 1812.

Tax-free winnings range from the face value of a €20 ticket – in other words, you get your money back – to a top prize of €300,000. (AFP)

Wins payout over ‘lost’ elephant

A New Zealand elephant handler won a wrongful dismissal claim yesterday against a circus that falsely told him it had lost his beloved animal and his services were no longer required. The circus was also ordered to pay $26,000 compensation for lost wages, humiliation and distress.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) found that Tony Ratcliffe, who had looked after Jumbo the elephant for 30 years, agreed to sell the animal to the Australian-based Loritz Bros Circus in 2008 and act as its carer.

It said Mr Ratcliffe, who once ran his own circus, disagreed with Loritz Bros about the way the female elephant was being displayed to be fed by members of the public. He went to the circus’s scheduled camp at Tauranga, on the North Island, only to be told by a staff member that Jumbo was lost and circus workers were looking for her. (AFP)

Ground Zero tree replanted

A badly damaged pear tree that was nursed back to health after the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 was replanted yesterday at a memorial being built at Ground Zero.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg planted the Callery Pear, popularly known as the “Survivor Tree,” at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza honouring the nearly 3,000 people killed on September 11, 2001. Mr Bloomberg said the tree symbolised “this nation’s resilience after the attacks”.

The tree was found burned and snapped off in places in the rubble of the Twin Towers in October of 2001. Experts at a New York nursery pruned the tree and coaxed the few surviving roots into growth. (AFP)

Mind your language

Staff at Goldman Sachs have been told to refrain from salty language, after embarrassing e-mails that revealed the bankers’ liberal use of profanity to describe their own products.

Staff at the venerable Wall Street firm will face tighter curbs on swearing in e-mails, texts and instant messages, as filters are toughened, the firm said.

In April, Goldman’s chief executive officer was hauled before a congressional committee and dressed down by lawmakers wielding expletive-laden e-mails from his staff. (AFP)

Truffle hunter shot by mistake

A French farmer has been accused of shooting dead a man he thought was trying to steal valuable truffles on his land.

The 32-year-old told police he was guarding his truffle patch in the town of Grignan when he took fright after seeing the intruder, and shot him in the legs and head with a hunting rifle.

Police said the farmer believed the man was armed. The 43-year-old victim died shortly after the shooting on Monday on the edge of France’s Provence region. (AP)

Sexy spy for top youth group role

A pro-Kremlin youth group yesterday elected seductive Russian spy Anna Chapman to a top role in the organisation, reports said.

Ms Chapman, booted out of the United States along with nine other Russian spies in July, will likely become head of the social council of the Molodaya Gvardiya (Young Guard) youth group, a source in the group told RIA Novosti. (AFP)


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