Readers of Radio France Internationale’s website were alarmed to learn on Nov. 16 of the passing of dozens of world leaders and celebrities, the New York Times reported. Obituaries for Queen Elizabeth II, Clint Eastwood, soccer legend Pele and about 100 others were posted on the broadcaster’s website for several hours before being removed. The station issued a statement apologizing to “those concerned” and noting that the prewritten obituaries were accidentally posted as the website moved to a new content management system.

Holiday line crossed

Typo, a gift and stationery retailer in Australia known for its tongue-in-cheek merchandise, is drawing fire from parents after marketing a Christmas ornament featuring a small elf holding a sign that says, “Santa isn’t real,” 7News reported. One dad posted that the item led to an awkward discussion with his son and encouraged other parents to “complain and get these things taken off the shelves.” The store said the ornament, which is part of its “naughty” line, has been removed from its in-person and online stores. “Sometimes we do make mistakes,” a spokesperson admitted. “We certainly don’t want to take the fun out of Christmas for anyone, especially after the year we’ve all had.”

Community unites

Twenty concerned citizens in Norman, Okla., turned out on Nov. 17 to help George Simmons, an arborist from Idaho, continue the search for his missing pet raccoon, an effort that had stretched into its second week and included support from the Norman Fire Department, which deployed its thermal imaging technology. Coonsie had accompanied Simmons when he traveled to Oklahoma to help cut trees around power lines after a freak October ice storm, KFOR reported, but Coonsie got loose Nov. 6, and Simmons says he won’t return to Idaho until he locates her. He has been overwhelmed with gratitude: “I’ve been all over the United States and never seen the hospitality like I have here,” Simmons said. At press time, Coonsie was still missing.

Finders keepers

Douglas Allen Hatley, 71, of Lakeland, Fla., was arrested on Nov. 16 after the Florida Highway Patrol said he found a metal light pole by the side of the road in Tampa and tried to sell it. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Eagle Metals Recycling turned him away because he didn’t have documentation for the pole, and officers responding to reports of a 1997 Camry with a pole twice its length strapped to the top pulled him over soon afterward. He was charged with third-degree grand theft.

A not-so-bright idea

Two recent graduates of the Sydney Grammar School in Australia hatched a plan to skirt COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings to host a graduation party while their parents were out of town. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people, and indoor events are capped at 10, the Daily Mail reported, but up to 150 guests can attend weddings if they follow social distancing protocols. On Nov. 12, the unnamed best friends “married” in a backyard ceremony and planned a 150-person party to follow, until their parents caught wind of the event online and returned to put an end to it. “We shut down the planned private celebratory event as soon as we found out about it, and thankfully, nobody was put at risk,” said one of the dads.


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