A round-up of the week's odder stories

A six-year-old girl has been placed on the US government's "no fly" list designed to thwart possible terrorists. Alyssa Thomas was stopped at the ticket desk at Cleveland Airport, where her parents were told by officials that she would not be able to board a flight to Minneapolis for security reasons. Homeland Security first refused to say why she had been singled out because the department does not comment on its decisions to bar passengers. The officials later admitted a mistake had been made. Her father, Dr Santosh Thomas, said: "She may have threatened her sister, but I don't think that constitutes Homeland Security triggers."

Doctors have diagnosed a woman who has felt seasick for nine years as suffering from the rare Mal de Debarquement syndrome. Jane Houghton, 46, from Warrington, England, has failed to get her land legs back after taking a week's cruise in the Mediterranean in June 2001. She describes her symptoms as "a similar sensation to walking on a mattress or a trampoline. Everything around me is rocking and rolling. Objects sway about and I'm constantly unbalanced. On a good day, it's like being on a calm sea, but when I get a bad day, I can barely stand." The symptoms disappear when she travels by boat.

A woman claimed that she crashed her car after being surprised by a vampire. The accident happened in Colorado's Grand Valley, with the woman saying she was so startled by the appearance of a vampire at the side of the road that she put her 4x4 into reverse and drove it in to a canal. The creature, which was not seen by other motorists, then disappeared. Police said that they do not suspect the involvement of drink or drugs in the accident.

Royal swans in Canada will have to wait to move into a new Dh1.37 million winter home. The mute swans are descendants of several pairs presented by Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to Ottawa in 1967. Conditions in the swans' current ramshackle quarters, which shelter them from the harsh winter, are so bad that some critics have named them Swantanamo Bay. The city says it cannot currently afford the new home.

A set of chest X-rays taken of Marilyn Monroe have been sold for US$45,000 (Dh165,000). The X-rays were taken during a visit to Los Angeles hospital in 1954, when the actress was 28. Auctioneers at the sale in Las Vegas had given a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 (Dh11,019) for the X-rays. A chair from Monroe's last photo shoot fetched $35,000.

French bureaucrats spend as little as three hours a week working, whiling away the rest of their time on coffee breaks and falsifying sick notes, according to an insider. In her new book, Zoe Shepard, 32, a civil servant in Aquitaine, says that it took five hours a week to complete her work, for which she was paid an annual salary of ?36,000 (Dh164,000). In one case she was told to resubmit a report in a different font, a task that required two mouse clicks but for which she was given an extra week's money. She has been suspended after being identified as the author of Absolument Débordée (Absolutely Snowed Under). France has around five million government workers, who are paid an average of ?40,000 (Dh180,000) each.

The Lord Mayor of Leicester offered his "deepest apologies" when his trousers fell down in front of a group of schoolchildren. The councillor, Colin Hall, was giving a vote of thanks at the end of an event at a library when his trousers fell to his ankles. In a statement, Mr Hall, 46, said: "Unfortunately, I had chosen not to wear a belt and the trousers came loose and fell. I would like to offer my deepest apologies to anyone who was offended by the accident." * Compiled by James Langton

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 


Date started: January 2017
Founder: Khaled Zaatarah 
Based: Dubai and Los Angeles
Sector: Technology 
Size: 21 employees
Funding: $7 million 
Investors: Shorooq Partners, KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures, Hala Ventures, 500Startups, Plug and Play, Magnus Olsson, Samih Toukan, Jonathan Labin

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