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Greece's 'Blind Island' Full of Fraudsters

Re-tests on people receiving blindness benefits on the Ionian island of Zante have exposed a fraud rate of over 82 percent, Greece's largest social security agency said on Monday.

The Social Insurance Institute (IKA) said that it had re-tested 221 people after an inquiry ordered by the health ministry last year.

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German Thieves Make off With Pink Piggy Bank and Two Chocs

Two masked armed thieves who robbed a shop in Germany over the weekend got away with a disappointing booty: one pink piggy bank containing 20 euro cents ($0.26) and two bars of chocolate.

Police in the western German city of Duesseldorf said the two robbers fled in panic when the alarm was raised, managing only to grab what was to hand.

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Giant Panda in Washington Zoo Gives Birth

A giant panda lent to the United States by China and living at the National Zoo in the U.S. capital has given birth to a cub, zoo officials said Monday.

The birth occurred at about 10:46 pm local time Sunday (0246 GMT Monday), according to the zoo's chief veterinarian, Suzan Murray.

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Earthworms 'Marry' in Taiwan Ceremony

Seventy "lucky earthworms" have been married off in an elaborate wedding ritual in south Taiwan in a bid to raise awareness about the environment and the problem of soil erosion, organisers said Monday.

The worms arrived Sunday at Takang Park in Tainan city inside a traditional wedding sedan draped in red cloth to "tie the knot with the soil of the park", Takang Community Development Association said.

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Judge Weds Couple Then Sentences Groom to Prison

Talk about the old ball and chain.

A judge sentenced an Oklahoma man to four years in federal prison on a firearm charge — then minutes later performed a marriage ceremony to wed the new inmate and his longtime girlfriend.

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Smugglers Swallow $40,000 in Cash

Colombia police said Friday they have arrested two men who had each ingested about $40,000 before trying to enter the country, in what may be a novel form of money laundering.

The men were detained separately during the past week at the international airport in Colombia's second city of Medellin and were on flights arriving from Costa Rica, according to security officials here.

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Venetian Gondolier to Paddle 300km Down Danube

He won't carry passengers but he might serenade passing cargo ships, says a 71-year-old Venetian gondolier who set off from Vienna Friday for Budapest in a bid to link the two cities by gondola for the first time.

Vittorio Orio, who already crossed the English Channel in 2001 and also paddled down the Hudson River in his typical Venetian vessel, will cover about 60-70 kilometers (37-44 miles) per day, with a first stop planned in Slovakia's capital Bratislava later Friday.

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Doctors' Orders: Improve Your Handwriting

Doctors' handwriting has never been renowned for its elegance, but an Indian medical group is so concerned about sloppy scrawls that it has started an awareness drive to prevent fatal errors.

More than 100 doctors across Maharashtra state met last week and found handwriting legibility to be one of the most alarming issues they faced, according to the non-profit umbrella body Medscape India.

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New Zealand Man Throws Away $22.5 Million Lottery Ticket

A New Zealand man threw away a winning lottery ticket worth NZ$27 million ($22.5 million) after reading the wrong results and thinking it was useless.

It was not until the following day, when he heard the lucrative prize had not been claimed, that he searched for the ticket and found he had won.

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Prince William No Fan of 'King of Fruits'

Britain's Prince William declared Friday that he is no fan of durian, the spiky and notoriously pungent Southeast-Asian fruit, after sampling it on a visit to Malaysia.

The future king and his wife Catherine were served durian, revered in the region as the "king of fruits", during a welcome lunch with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak after their arrival Thursday for a three-day visit.

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