Weird World News: Porky police told to slim down; inmates creatively shave off jail time

PHUKET: This week’s Weird World News roundup is about porky Pakistani police getting slim-down threat letters, and Brazilian inmates trying to shave off a little time with books, while others in the UK take to the walls with plastic forks.

Crackdown on portly police
Pakistan has put fat field officers on the chopping block after only a quarter of the 19,000 officers in Punjab province passed a fitness test, reported Reuters.

The jelly-belly cops, responsible for the safekeeping of most of the province, received warning letters making it clear that they had until the end of the month to trim off the fat and meet the waistline regulation of 38 inches – or be removed from field duties.

Local television channels last week repeatedly aired footage of pudgy policemen snoozing in their chairs, talking on the phone and standing belly to belly.

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The coverage made Punjab’s Inspector General of Police Habib ur-Rehman “even more determined” to get his officers fit to fight crime, Reuters reported a policeman from headquarters in Lahore as saying.

However, several policemen objected to the rotund testing, pointing out that senior officers were exempt and that the men conducting the tests were a bit soft around the waist themselves.

Official police spokesmen were not available for comment, and it was unclear whether the problem affected other Pakistani provinces to the same extent, reported Reuters.

Brazilian book worms squirm toward freedom
Literature is often thought to be a path to freedom. The idea, however, has been taken literally by the Brazilian government with their novel idea of shortening prisoners’ sentences by four days for every book they read, reported The Telegraph.

The prisoners, selected by a special panel to be eligible for participation in the program, will be able to read up to 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics to trim a maximum 48 days off their sentence each year, the government announced.

Selected inmates at four federal prisons, home to some of Brazil’s most notorious criminals, will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay that must “make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing,” reported The Telegraph.

“A person can leave prison more enlightened and with an enlarged vision of the world,” explained Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi, who heads a book-donation project for prisons.

“Without doubt they will leave a better person,” he added.

Using a spoon, Shawshank Redemption style
A pair of criminals in the UK attempted a jailbreak “Shawshank Redemption style”, reported The Mirror.

The two men reportedly used a pair of plastic knives and forks and a chair leg to carve out a hole in their prison cell wall measuring about three meters by 1.5 meters, and then hid the massive hole behind furniture and posters – sound familiar?

But reality had a different plot twist than the movie, and prison officers discovered the hole, which linked up with an old chimney shaft in the Preston Prison.

“Staff were alerted to damage to a cell. Following a police investigation, two men have been charged with attempting to escape from a prison,” said a prison service spokesman.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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