Drunk tourist pulls toy gun
A Frenchman visiting Berlin probably could not have picked a more dangerous spot to pull a pretend pistol. Police say the heavily drunk tourist kneeled down in front of Germany’s biggest synagogue on Thursday and pointed what appeared to be a gun at officers guarding the building. Luckily for him, a quick-witted policewoman noticed that the weapon was a toy before her colleagues opened fire on the Frenchman. Berlin police spokesman Dirk Stoewhase said the unnamed 25-year-old man could have ended the day in the morgue instead of a jail cell. Stoewhase said the gun might easily have been mistaken for a real weapon because “it certainly didn’t just look like a water pistol.” Jewish buildings in Germany are routinely guarded by armed police to prevent anti-Semitic attacks.
Emperor’s hair stuns auction
A lock of hair from a former Austrian emperor has fetched a price of 13,720 euros (US$17,853) at an auction in Vienna of imperial memorabilia — more than 20 times its listed worth. Hushed murmurs rippled through the room as the winning bid was announced for the silvery strands of hair from Franz Josef I, who ruled Austria from 1848 until his death in 1916. A picture of Empress Elisabeth by Franx Xaver Winterhalter was the most pricey item, changing owners for 70,000 euros on Thursday. At more than three times its estimated value, that price reflected the growing scarcity of Austrian imperial memorabilia nearly a century after the country’s last emperor abdicated at the end of World War I.
Stowaway’s death accidental
A British coroner on Thursday delivered a verdict of accidental death in the case of a stowaway who fell from a plane’s undercarriage. The man’s body landed in a street in southwest London in September. Months later he was identified as Jose Matada, 26, of Mozambique. At an inquest, police Detective Sergeant Jeremy Allsup said Matada was identified through a SIM card in his pocket. One number was traced to a woman whose family had employed him in South Africa. She told police that Matada had expressed an interest in moving to Europe for a better life, Allsup said. Pathologist Robert Chapman said Matada survived most of the flight from Angola, but might have been killed by hypothermia, lack of oxygen or the plane’s landing gear before his body hit the ground. Coroner Sean Cummings ruled Matada’s death an accident.