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World Funny old world: The week's offbeat news

16:42  29 july  2022
16:42  29 july  2022 Source:   afp.com

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From Kenyan politicians running out of money to bribe people, to an Italian priest getting a little over-relaxed on the beach. Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

Digging for dollars: People search for $100 bills in a dump in Las Parejas, Argentina © STR Digging for dollars: People search for $100 bills in a dump in Las Parejas, Argentina Dreaming of riches: People queue to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets in Chino Hills, California © RINGO CHIU Dreaming of riches: People queue to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets in Chino Hills, California

- Filthy lucre -

Dirty money is nothing new in the rough and tumble of Argentina. But locals in the central town of Las Parejas took it to a new level, descending on a dump to dig for dollars.

Some $75,000 in $100 bills was reportedly found among the garbage before authorities shut the tip.

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Federico Baez said he and his friends found $10,000.

"Then another kid came along and got $25,000," he told AFP. "I think there must be much more buried."

Locals believe the cash was thrown out by mistake, with high inflation and strict currency controls in Argentina making it common to keep dollars under the mattress.

The find sparked a string of memes skewering politicians for the country's economic woes, including one of President Alberto Fernandez and deputy Cristina Kirchner digging in the rubbish for cash.

- Breaking the bank -

Kenya has taken dirty money to another level with banks running out of small bills because politicians have taken them all to bribe people to vote for them in next month's election.

Interior minister Fred Matiang'i said the shortage was "because politicians are bribing villagers.

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"People are not working. They are standing on the roadside just to get 200 shillings" from party bagmen to get them to come to their rallies, he complained.

- Lottery lunacy -

Money madness is also gripping the US, where naturally it's on a much bigger scale.

With the jackpot in Friday's Mega Millions lottery ballooning to $1.02 billion, punters are queuing up to take their chance, with even the rich swept up by the frenzy.

Todd Graves, the founder of fast-food chicken chain Raising Cane's, said he bought 50,000 tickets for Tuesday's draw. But with no jackpot then, he is shelling out another $100,000 for Friday, promising to share his winnings with his workers.

The lucky winner will be paid the billion over 30 years, getting only $602.5 million if they decide to take the cash now, with about a third going in tax.

- Hot under the collar -

No better time, you would think, with the globe gripped by such avarice, for a bit of old-fashioned religion to stiffen the moral fibre.

Unfortunately the message didn't reach Father Mattia Bernasconi, who raised eyebrows and a few hackles by celebrating mass on an Italian beach in his swimming trunks with a floating pool mattress for an altar.

The priest had planned to hold his Sunday service for a youth camp under trees by the coast in Calabria, but another group nabbed the shady spot.

So he took to the water with his congregation to escape the searing heat.

While local hierarchy praised the piety of the faithful, they said it was "necessary to maintain that minimum of decorum", meaning wearing a little more than how God made them.

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