Funny old world: The week's offbeat news 

Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO / AFP

What you need to know:

  • Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, the latest billionaire to go into orbit, made a scientific breakthrough during his 12 days on the International Space Station.

From Vladimir Putin's secret deal with Santa to Spain's ham and hash hampers... Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.
 
 Wee step for mankind 
Who says space tourism is just another way for the super rich to look down on us?
Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, the latest billionaire to go into orbit, made a scientific breakthrough during his 12 days on the International Space Station.
"Peeing (in space) is very easy," he discovered, demonstrating a handheld funnel astronauts use to suck their widdle away.
We don't know how much this major advance cost, but it was worth every penny spent. 

 Santa the KGB man 
Russian leader Vladimir Putin revealed that it not the KGB but Father Frost -- the Soviet Santa -- that was the real force behind his rapid rise.
Putin came to power on New Year's Eve -- the day Father Frost brings presents and rights the world -- in 1999 when Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly quit.
"My relationship with Father Frost has always developed in a good way," said the Russian leader during his annual press conference.

"I am grateful to him that I can meet with you in my capacity."
Asked by a reporter from Veliky Ustyug -- a snowy Russian town said to be Father Frost's home -- about a man suing him for not delivering on his wishes for 23 years, Putin came to Santa's defence.
"Can I remind the plaintiff that Father Frost only fulfils the wishes of boys and girls who have been good," Putin said, adding that the man should "analyse his behaviour".

 Christmas high 
Christmas will not be quite so merry in Spain where police arrested two suspected drug dealers who were raffling off festive gift baskets containing cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and a leg of cured ham.
Detectives chanced on the unusual lottery when they raided a drug den in the eastern city of Murcia and found a list of clients on the wall taking part in two raffles to win "narco-baskets", one on Christmas Day and the other on the Epiphany on January 6, a major holiday in Spain.

 The bock stops here 
And finally, Sweden's favourite "Julbock" or Christmas goat has gone up in flames for the tenth time in two decades.
The giant straw Gavlebocken in the central town of Gavle claims to be the "world's most famous Christmas goat", but for years now pyromaniacs have competed with each other to singe its beard.

This year a man got through the tight security around it for the first time in five years and the whole thing went up in a matter of minutes.
As condolences poured in from around the world, the julbock  -- which is a social media-savvy goat -- tweeted, "It's literally the worst feeling to go down in flames... I'll be bock!"
 

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