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StrangeSights: Pardoned piglets; an unexpected presidential stop; and, Germany in ‘crisis mode’…

US - Florida - piglets

DAVID ADAMS provides a round-up of some stories on the odder side of life…

US - Florida - piglets

Three month old piglets, named Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, pardoned ahead of Christmas. PICTURE: Screenshot via Reuters

• Lechon, or better known to Americans as roasted pig, is a traditional dinner in many Latin American cultures. For the 6th year in a row, owners from Latin Cafe 2000 pardoned two pigs.  Eric and Katherine Castellanos founded this tradition due to Katherine watching the White House turkey. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava wanted to keep the tradition alive when she came into office.  “I was very happy to adopt it and carry it on and, of course, we have a beautiful partnership with this wonderful couple and the restaurant that they own, and they are serving pork and lechon all year round,” Cava said.  The pigs were named Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, names chosen by the daughter of the new owners of the two piglets. With a rich culture of Latin American traditions, Miami-Dade continues to honour and enjoy the annual pardon while being able to enjoy a roasted pig for the holidays. Reuters


FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Javier Milei addresses supporters from the Casa Rosada balcony, as his sister Karina Milei and his partner Fatima Florez look on, after his swearing-in ceremony, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 10th December, 2023

Argentina’s President Javier Milei addresses supporters from the Casa Rosada balcony, as his sister Karina Milei and his partner Fatima Florez look on, after his swearing-in ceremony, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 10th December, 2023. PICTURE: Reuters/Agustin Marcarian/File photo

• Argentina’s newly sworn in President Javier Milei, who famously has cloned dogs he calls his “kids with four paws”, ordered his motorcade to stop unexpectedly after taking office on Sunday to greet another canine fan: a lost golden retriever. The outsider libertarian, a wild-haired former TV pundit who has shaken up Argentine politics with radical economic ideas and theatrical rallies, got out of the car taking him to the Casa Rosada government palace from Congress and spent a minute petting the dog which appeared to have strayed from its owner.  Milei has at least four cloned mastiffs, whom he has mentioned repeatedly during the presidential campaign and to whom he dedicated his first place win in August primaries. The 53-year-old ultra-liberal economist paid $US50,000 to clone his original dog, Conan, whom he adopted in 2004 and who died in 2017. He once told local media that Conan was one of his closest confidants and has called his cloned dogs advisers. According to the company that cloned the dogs, the result was at least four “grandsons”: Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas, named after Milei’s economist idols, including Milton Friedman. The deviation from protocol to greet the golden retriever came after Milei swore in as president in Congress, warning the country about hard times ahead and painful shock therapy to fix the embattled economy and triple-digit inflation. – LUCILA SIGAL, Buenos Aires, Argentina/Reuters


A general view of the illuminated Brandenburg Gate is pictured during the night in Berlin, Germany, on 3rd August, 2022

A general view of the illuminated Brandenburg Gate is pictured during the night in Berlin, Germany, on 3rd August, 2022. PICTURE: Reuters/Annegret Hilse/File photo

• “Crisis mode” is Germany’s 2023 word of the year, a jury of linguists announced on Friday, capturing the mood of a public fretting over multiple crises from wars in Ukraine and Gaza, to climate change, inflation and a government with no budget plan. “There have always been crises,” the state-funded Society for the German Language (GfdS) said, explaining its choice of “Krisenmodus”. “But it feels like there is so much crisis that this is the new normal.” The society’s long list of issues rattling nerves included wars abroad, a property crash in Europe and worsening performance in the nation’s education system. The coalition government is also facing a crisis after its budget plans were torn up by a constitutional court ruling last month that banned the use of special funds to finance a raft of measures from industrial projects to welfare. Since then, the government has been in talks on whether to make billions in cuts or suspend the country’s “debt brake” in 2024 for the fifth year in a row – which under the constitution can only be done in emergency situations. “Feelings such as uncertainty, fear, anger, helplessness and powerlessness characterise the everyday lives of many people,” the language society said in a statement. “Between apathy and alarmism, it is difficult to find an appropriate way of dealing with the ongoing exceptional situations.” – RACHEL MOORE, Berlin, Germany/Reuters


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