Funny old world: The week's offbeat news

From some flighty pigeon paranoia to the fugitive who cheated justice to the end... your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

- Off their perch -

A "spy pigeon" held by Indian police for eight months has finally been cleared of being a Chinese spy.

The bird sparked suspicion when it turned up in Mumbai with "messages written in a Chinese-like script" on its wings. Officials suspected espionage and put it in solitary confinement.

After protests from animal rights groups, the jailbird -- who appears to have been an entirely innocent racing pigeon from Taiwan -- has finally been released.

It is far from the first time that pigeons have had Indian spy chiefs in a flap. One was intercepted close to the border with Pakistan in 2016 carrying a threatening message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi years after another turned up in the same area with a Pakistani phone number stamped on its body.

- Amelia's big mistake: trusting a man -

Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly the Atlantic, mysteriously disappeared as she tried to become the first to fly around the world.

And it was all a man's fault -- if divers who claim to have finally found her plane are right.

Earhart's big mistake it appears was to trust a man with the map.

The aviator vanished on one of the last legs of her epic journey in 1937 after taking off from Papua New Guinea for Howland Island, a tiny speck of a US territory between Australia and Hawaii.

Now deep sea divers claim to have found the wreck in the Pacific at a spot which appears to confirm a theory that navigator Fred Noonan miscalculated their route. Former NASA scientist Liz Smith reckons Noonan fatally forgot to turn back the calendar a day when they flew over the International Date Line.

- The ultimate escape -

One of Japan's most wanted men, who had spent a half century on the run, finally gave himself up... then promptly died.

Leftist guerilla Satoshi Kirishima was such a fixture of modern Japanese mythology, with his photo displayed outside police stations for decades, that he inspired a Halloween costume. But the 70-year-old managed to hide in plain sight as a building worker until he turned up at a hospital last week with cancer to admit who he was.

"I want to meet my death with my real name," he told staff.

- Really getting into a game -

A toddler who climbed into a "Hello Kitty" arcade machine "was in no hurry to get out" when Australian police turned up to rescue him.

Three-year-old Ethan squeezed into the claw machine -- which was filled with cuddly toys -- through the prize dispenser chute during a trip to a Queensland shopping center.

And he was having so much fun inside he was reluctant to leave before police broke the glass.

"You won a prize, which one do you want?" an officer asked him after lifting him out.

- Don't sweat it -

In the most Scandinavian of rescues, two people were pulled from the freezing waters of the Oslo fjord when people in a floating sauna rushed to their aid after their Tesla car drove into the drink.

"They saved our lives," said the owner of the car, who was able to warm up straight away in the sauna.

Source: Agence France Presse

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