Here are a few unusual international stories that caught our attention during the past year:
Leaps of faith
After a skydiving plane stalled and crashed into New Zealand’s Lake Taupo on the North Island in early January, police spokesperson Kim Perks announced that all six passengers, the pilot, and six crew members had survived—by parachuting out of the doomed plane. The six crew jumped in tandem with the passengers, who were already wearing parachutes. The well-prepared pilot had his own chute.
Promoted by Chef Boyardee
When Pope Francis spoke with a youth group in August, he told them about speaking to a joyful-looking 92-year-old woman in the audience at one of his St. Peter’s Square public addresses in the Vatican. He told the youths that when he asked her for her “recipe” for joy, she responded: “I eat ravioli.”
Another Middle East bombing
The government of Lebanon in January announced a formal investigation into a photo from the 2015 Miss Universe pageant that showed Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, smiling alongside Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, and two other contestants. Because Israel is considered an enemy state, there were calls back home for Greige to be stripped of her title. Greige claimed in a statement that Matalon photo-bombed her even though she took steps to avoid her during pageant events.
Kenyan police fired tear gas at six- to 14-year-old children in January because they were protesting the destruction of their school’s playground, which had supposedly been confiscated by a politician to build a parking lot for his nearby hotel. After children were carried away—screaming, choking, and writhing in pain, according to AP reports—police brought dogs to the playground.