Chuck Shepherd

Russian producers are planning the so-far-ultimate survivors' show — in the Siberian wilderness for nine months where temperatures can be as low as minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit — with 30 contestants selected after signing liability waivers that protect the show even if someone is raped or murdered. (Police may come arrest the perpetrators, but the producers are not responsible for intervening.) The show, "Game2: Winter," will be telecast live around the clock beginning in July via 2,000 cameras placed in a large area full of bears and treacherous forest. Producers told the Siberian Times in December that 60 prospects had already signed up for the last-person-standing prize: the equivalent of $1.6 million. The only requirements: Be at least 18 and "sane." The production company's advertising lists the "dangerous" behaviors they allow, including "fighting," "murder," "rape," "smoking."

Camel plates

With car-camel collisions increasing in Iran's two southern provinces, an Iranian government ministry is in the process of issuing identification cards to each camel, supposedly leading to outerwear license "plates" on each of the animals. Authorities told the Islamic Republic News Agency the registration numbers are needed if an accident victim needs to report the camel or to help trace smugglers.

Students make knockoff pill

Martin Shkreli became the Wall Street bad boy in 2015 when his company Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the right to market the lifesaving drug Daraprim and promptly raised its typical price of $18 a pill to $750, but in November, high schoolers in the chemistry lab at Sydney Grammar in Australia created a molecular knockoff of Daraprim for about $2 a tablet. Their sample of "pyrimethamine" — Daraprim's chemical name — was judged authentic by a University of Sydney chemistry professor. Daraprim, among other uses, fights deadly attacks on immune systems, such as for HIV patients.


Organizers of the Christmas Day caroling program at a theater in Colombo, Sri Lanka, drawing thousands of devout celebrants, were apparently confused by one song title and innocently included it in the book for the carolers. It was "Hail Mary" by the late rapper Tupac Shakur — likely resulting in the very first appearance of certain words in any Christmas service publication anywhere.

Nice perks

The Dubai-based Gulf News reported in November that 900 Kuwaiti government workers had their pay frozen during the current investigation into no-shows, including one unidentified man on the payroll who reportedly had not worked in 10 years. Another, who had been living abroad for 18 months while drawing his Kuwaiti pay, was reduced to half-pay, but insisted he had asked several times for assignments but was told nothing was available. Gulf News reported that the 10-year man is appealing the freeze.

Undignified death

A 24-year-old man was decapitated in London in August when he leaned too far out the window of one train and struck an extension on a passing train. Next to the window he leaned from was a sign warning people not to stick their heads out.

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