It's a funny old world

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 12:00am

1 The Leaning Tower of Pisa, which had been sinking by one millimetre a year, is reopened after an 11-year operation to straighten the historic structure by 50 centimetres. It now has the same tilt it had 300 years ago.

2 A 5.135-kilometre string of 7,400 knotted bras, put together as part of a standard-setting Guinness Book Of Records attempt, decorates Tongerlo in Belgium.

3 A #5,000 (HK$56,600) artwork called Painting By Numbers by Damien Hirst is thrown away by a cleaner who thought it was rubbish. It comprised empty beer bottles, full ashtrays and paint-splattered newspapers. Hirst is said to have been amused.

4 The naked and the devout gather for the Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival held every 12 years at the Ganges in Allahabad, India. Up to 70 million people attend.

5 The arrival of the Year of the Snake boosts demand for snake meat in China - Shenzhen alone consumes 10 tonnes a day - with a knock-on effect for the country's farmers: a mouse plague. Another plague, this time of locusts, sweeps through Xinjiang Province in June, with up to 10,000 insects a square metre.

6 Swiss horse trainer Bruno Isliker clears a hurdle on his new mount - a cow called Sybille. She went on to enter a showjumping event in Zurich.

7 Japanese farmers develop a space-saving square watermelon. Price: $647.

8 Imelda Marcos opens a museum in Manila dedicated to the 1,220 pairs of shoes left in her wardrobe when she fled the capital in 1986. Things turn sour for the former Philippines first lady when she is arrested in October on charges of laundering HK$1.76 billion of stolen state funds through Swiss bank accounts.

9 The print of a large, hairy backside is found in Washington State by researchers from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation. They claim it is the strongest hint yet the sas-quatch is alive and well in North America. And in Australia, the footprint of a bigfoot-like 'yowie' is found in New South Wales.