Odd stories in the news

EXPLODING SHED SHOW

A 125-year-old art gallery is coming back with a bang - with an exhibition including an exploding garden shed.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, a part of the University of Manchester dating back to 1889, will reopen in October after a £15 million redevelopment.

It will open with a solo exhibition by Cornelia Parker including her work Cold Dark Matter; An Exploded View - fragments of a wooden shed blown up by the British Army and then hung from the ceiling. The redevelopment will double the amount of public space at the museum and includes a glass, stainless steel and brick extension to the building.

STRONGMAN SEARCH

Highland Games officials have issued a plea to help trace an elusive strongman who is one of the few people in the world to have completed a historic weightlifting feat.

The organisers of the Aboyne Highland Games in Aberdeenshire hope to invite Slovakian muscleman Peter Puszer to compete in this year's event on August 2, b ut all their efforts to contact the 5ft 7in, 300lb champion - last known to be working in an Aberdeen hotel kitchen - have failed.

Mr Puszer is a competitive weightlifter who has been named the Strongest Man in Slovakia.

BARCLAYS' TV COVER-UP

Barclays has spoken of its "regret" over a memo suggesting its branches switch their television channels to entertainment shows as news broke of the banking giant's pay and bonuses.

The bank reportedly recommended that staff turn on E4 or lifestyle channel Really, or switch off their televisions, ahead of "negative coverage" about Barclays' annual report which revealed nearly 500 staff were paid at least £1 million each last year.

According to the Sun, the memo read: "It's likely there will be some media interest. We'd like to give you the heads up so you can change the channel in your branch to support colleagues in the event there is negative coverage."

TASTY APP

Want to wake up to the sound of bacon sizzling on the stove with its aroma drawing you out of bed? There's an app for that.

US firm Oscar Mayer says it has created a bacon-scented app for the iPhone, developed by its Institute for the Advancement of Bacon.

The company says that to emit a small puff reminiscent of bacon, the user needs an external device that plugs into the headphone jack. The app itself produces the sound of bacon sizzling in a pan. The device won't be sold in stores and quantities are limited. The company is giving away 4,700 devices.

CHECKPOINT CHARLIES

Army checkpoints set up in Bangkok to keep security during the country's political unrest are getting a makeover in a bid to project a kinder, gentler image.

Major General Wara Boonyasi says soldiers have decorated some bunkers with colourful flowers and potted plants after prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra suggested that the 176 checkpoints might be unnerving residents and scaring foreign tourists.

Soldiers were deployed in force after a spate of armed attacks on anti-government demonstrators. In more than three months of protests in the Thai capital, 20 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. Maj Gen Wara says the checkpoints would also be moved to become less obtrusive.

GOOD FORTUNE

A 75-year-old New York woman found her fortune in a cookie. Emma Duvoll won two million dollars (£1.2 million) in a Powerball draw after playing the numbers found in a fortune cookie.

The retired Bronx resident bought the lottery ticket after dining at a Chinese restaurant in Greenwich Village. The Daily News reported that the owner of Sammy's Noodle Shop & Grill joked that maybe the waiters should get 20% of her winnings.

Ms Duvoll, a retired deli owner, plans to invest her winnings and may splurge on a trip to Switzerland to see relatives.