This is the Latitude News Mishmash: our collection of the weirdest stories the global press had to offer over the past seven days. This week: “portly” British Batman takes justice into his own reluctant hands; Jihad declares: “I am a bomb”; and a Zimbabwean teacher turns two students into baboons, reportedly.
“Portly” British Batman takes justice into his own reluctant hands
In a scenario that had police in Bradford, northern England, scratching their heads, a man wearing a snugly fitting Batman costume—resembling over-sized children’s pajamas—walked into a police station with a wanted man. “Batman” then disappeared into the night.
It turns out the masked avenger, whom the Australian Broadcasting Corporation described as “a portly figure,” maintains a day job delivering Chinese takeout. His name is Stan Worby.
Worby was not making an amateurish attempt at crime fighting. Instead his friend Danny Frayne, wanted by police for fraud and handling stolen goods, called him asking for moral support when he turned himself in at the police station. On a whim, Worby wore the Batman costume for kicks:
He also insisted the pictures which showed he perhaps lacked the body of a superhero were unfair.
“I’ve got my full tracksuit underneath,” he explained.
Take a look for yourself:
Jihad declares: “I am a bomb”
A French woman pleaded not guilty in court this week, saying she was merely “tactless” when she sent her three-year-old son named Jihad to school wearing a T-shirt with the words “I am a bomb” and “Born on September 11.”
I’ll give you a moment to reread that sentence.
Bouchra Bagour’s little boy was indeed born on September 11, and, indeed, she named him Jihad. Now she and her brother, Zeyad Bagour, face up to five years in jail and fines reaching almost $60,000 (U.S.) each for “glorifying crime” and “defending terrorism,” as France 24 reports.
Zeyad Bagour told the court he and his sister never intended to “defend a cause.”
Prosecutor Olivier Couvignon retorted: “Who can claim that this is not a direct and scandalous reference to terrorism?”
Another “Satanism scare” in Zimbabwe
In a Zimbabwean paper called The Herald, we found this insane story purporting as fact. To be fair, we weren’t on the ground at the Hatcliffe Number 1 Primary School, so we can’t confirm it. But we seriously doubt that a teacher transformed two fifth-grade students into baboons.
Reportedly, the teacher gave the students rings and bracelets, which transformed them into baboons. Police struggled to control the crowd that formed outside of the school “baying for the teacher’s blood.”
Here is an excerpt of first-hand account, attributed only to “sources”:
“They were locked in the class’ storeroom by Mr Bhuru who went to his house during the break. He forced them to wear the rings and bracelets saying it would make them brilliant in school,” the sources said.
“He stopped them from going for break and said he would open the door for them afterwards. While inside, we peeped through the window and were surprised to see the other child had bitten off his nails and fingertips.
“He started writing on the window of the storeroom with the blood oozing from his fingers before he started sucking it off his hands. At the same time, they developed hairs on their hands and had long canine teeth.“The teacher returned and we saw he had developed scales like those of a fish.”
Thumbing through a few other reports from The Herald reveals that this is not an isolated “Satanism scare” in a Zimbabwean school. To get a view into how Zimbabweans view the report, look no further than the 345 (and counting) comments below the article. Here are two ambassadors from the opposing sides of the debate.
“Salvation” says stories like this spread “because we listen to unschooled, uneducated, uncivilised pastors who take us for granted.” Meanwhile, an anonymous writer is willing to believe the tale: “God is at work doing miracles and the devil is also at work confusing people and doing his own kind of miracles like these. Unless we turn to God who answereth by fire, the devil will cause confusion….Lord have mercy on us.”
Good luck sorting this one out, Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, the story doesn’t share what happened to the baboons…uh, children.