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Ex-Con Wants to Go Back to Prison So He Can Watch Premium TV Channel for Free

We’re no strangers to weird stories here on OC, but this one’s a bit too weird even for us. A French burglar intentionally left traces of DNA all over the crime scene just so he would end up in prison and watch encrypted TV channel Canal+ for free.

A monthly subscription to French premium television channel Canal+ costs around 10 euros ($11), but inmates in French prisons can apparently watch it for free, which was apparently a good enough reason for an ex-con to commit a crime and get himself caught. Over the course of the summer, the unnamed 25-year-old man committed a series of burglaries in the Toulouse suburb of Colomiers, but there was something about his modus operandi that left investigators scratching their heads. He left traces of saliva over the crime scenes, as if he wanted his DNA to be identified.

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French Zoo Visitors Use Fingernails to Scratch Names into the Back of Live Rhino

A zoo in southeastern France recently condemned the “stupidity” of some of its visitors after shocking photos of a 35-year-old female rhino with the names “Camille” and “Julien” scratched on its back went viral on social media.

La Palmyre Zoo, in the French city of Royan, allows visitors to touch some of the animals in its care when they approach the fence of their enclosure. It is designed to be a “moving” experience that allows visitors to appreciate the “beauty and diversity of nature”, but for some it’s simply an opportunity to display their ignorance and cruelty. Case in point, the people who shockingly used their fingernails to scratch their names onto the back of a female rhino when it approached the fence of its pen. Photos of the “signed” animal went viral online last week, sparking outrage all over the world.

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Scammers Use Silicone Mask to Impersonate French Minister, Swindle $90 Million

In what has been described as one of the most daring rackets in history, one or more individuals used a silicone mask to impersonate France’s minister of defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and scam an estimated €80 million ($90 million) from wealthy victims.

Jean-Yves Le Drian served as France’s defense minister from 2012 to 2017, and is currently the country’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. He is an important political figure in his homeland, but also a relatively obscure one, which is why investigators believe he was chosen as the target of one of the boldest identity thefts in recorded history. One or more scammers used a custom silicone mask and a cleverly decorated office to fool various members of government and wealthy businessman into thinking that they were being contacted by Mr. Le Drian who requested financial help to pay the ransoms of journalists captured by Islamists in the Middle East. Some of the victims saw through the ruse, but many complied and donated millions.

The scam was simple yet pretty well thought out. Scammers would pose as a member of Le Drian’s inner circle and contact both french and foreign businessmen to arrange a conversation with the esteemed “minister”. In the beginning, the conversations were carried out over a phone, with the scammer impersonating the French minister reproducing Le Drian’s voice almost to perfection.  But, then, in order to make the  whole thing even more believable, they switched to video calls via Skype.

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Rooster’s Loud Crowing Triggers Legal Battle Between Neighbors

Maurice, a proud rooster from the French commune of Saint-Pierre d’Oléron, has become an overnight celebrity after triggering a controversial legal battle with his loud morning crowing.

The story of the rooster who sang to loudly has become the topic of a fired-up debate in France. A local family has been sued because Maurice, one of their roosters, crows too loudly in the morning and disturbs some of the neighbors. The bird’s owners claim that they live in a rural environment, where crowing is a part of daily life, but because of an influx of tourists and seasonal residents looking for peace and quiet, the animal’s natural instincts have become a nuisance. They’ve tried keeping Maurice in the chicken coop until 8:30 in the morning, but that’s the best they can do, they said, because Maurice is a rooster, he has to crow. Still, their neighbors didn’t find that solution satisfactory so they filed a complaint at a regional court.

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Tenants Stop Paying Rent to Protest Insanitary Conditions, Owner Removes Doors and Windows in Retaliation

It’s been over a month since Nicole and Pascal Vermeulen, a middle-aged couple from Lignières, France, have had to sleep in fear of someone simply walking into their home at night. That’s because they don’t have a front door anymore, or windows for that matter, after the house owner removed them as punishment for not receiving the rent.

Three years ago, when the Vermeulen family found a 110 square-meter house for rent in the village of Lignières, for €500 a month, they thought they were getting a good deal, but things started going south soon after they moved in. The building’s septic tank got clogged years ago, which rendered the toilet and shower virtually unusable. The tenants have had to deal with human waste coming up through the toilet and the shower drain on more than one occasion, and the bathroom walls are constantly covered with mold. Also their garage always smells like a sewer. Despite their repeated pleas to the owner of the apartment to get the septic tank fixed, and the home being declared insanitary by the CAF (Direction of Family Allocations), the owner simply disregarded the problems.

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French Village Is Offering $2,250 to Whoever Can Decipher Its Centuries-Old Stone Message

Plougastel, a small village in France’s Brittany region, is offering a prize of €2,000 ($2,250) to whoever can decipher a 230-year-old inscription carved into a nearby rock-slab.

Discovered just a few years ago, the mysterious rock is located in a cove accessible only at low tide. It features 20 lines of writing in a “language” that so far no one has been able to crack, two years  – 1786 and 1787 – as well as carved images of a ship with sails and rudder, and a sacred heart. Local academics have been struggling to decipher the centuries-old images for some time now, but so far all they’ve come up with is theories. Some believe that the writing may be in old Breton or Basque, while others think that whoever carved it into the rock slab may have been semi-illiterate.

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Online Service Allows You to Hire Someone to Attend a Protest in Your Place

Ever wish you could attend a protest, but couldn’t do so because of location, timing or other constraints? Well, thanks to Wistand, an online platform that allows people to hire proxies to protest on their behalf anytime, anywhere, you can get involved and support the causes you care about.

Before you get too excited about the idea of proxy protesters, you should know that Wistand is currently only available in France, a country that has seen weekly “yellow vests” protests for nearly six months now. But while the idea for this online service may have been inspired by the Yellow Vests anti-government protesters, it is not affiliated with the movement in any way, and can be used for any type of protests. All you have to do is go on the Wistand website, start a “cause” or find one that you care about, and then donate a set fee that will go toward funding a “messenger”, a person to attend that protest on your behalf.

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Wind Turbines and Solar Panels Suspected of Killing Hundreds of Cows in France

In recent years, cattle farmers in France’s Brittany region have lost hundreds of cows to deaths that veterinarians simply cannot explain. After running various tests on their land, some now claim that the solar panels and wind turbines in the area are releasing too much electricity into the ground, which is slowly killing their animals.

Although mysterious cattle deaths have been reported in various parts of Brittany, the situation is particularly dire in Cote-d’Amour, where several farmers have sustained hundreds of losses in mysterious conditions. According to local farmer Patrick Le Nechet, his cattle just started losing weight a few years back and many of them ultimately died. The strange thing was that the animals didn’t seem to be suffering from any diseases and the veterinarians couldn’t explain the cause of death. After conducting his own investigation, Le Nechet concluded that the mysterious deaths started occurring around the time that a photovoltaic installation appeared in the area.

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Star Wars-Inspired Lightsaber Dueling Recognized as Competitive Sport in France

In an effort to get the younger generation off the couch and exercising, the French fencing federation recently recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport.

Just like medieval tales like The Three Musketeers once inspired youths to take up classic fencing sports, so too can Star Wars save young people from the clutches of the evil currently plaguing public health – sedentary lifestyle. Or at least that’s how officials from the French fencing federation explain their decision to acknowledge lightsaber dueling as an official sport. They even included some specific rules designed to make battles between Jedi Knights and Sith Lords more visually appealing and get young people interested in taking up the sport.

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French Butchers Request Police Protection from Violent Vegan Activists

Butchers in France have recently asked police to better protect them and their shops against vegan activists who seek to impose their meat-free lifestyle on the entire nation,

In a letter to France’s Interior Minister, Jean-Francois Guihard, president of the French Confederation of Butchery, Butchers and Delicatessens (CFBCT), requested better police protection for the 18,000 professional butchers in the country, many of whom have become the targets of vegan activists. In April, seven butcher shops in Hauts-de-France were sprinkled with fake blood, and a butcher shop and a fish shop had their windows broken and their facades vandalized with the spray-painted inscription “stop to speciesism“.

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Real-Estate Agency Turns Apartment Viewing into Exciting ‘Escape Room’ Game

Evidence Immobilier, a real-estate agency in Montpelier, France, has become the first in the world to revolutionize the apartment viewing experience by turning it into an exciting “Escape Room” game where potential buyers have to look for clues and solve puzzles, while at the same time discovering the layout of the place.

Whether you’re looking to rent or buy a new apartment, the initial viewing is a very important part of the process. However, for most people – youths in particular – it’s just another chore that has to be completed, not something they are overly excited about.  One real-estate agency in France wants to change that, and their first attempt has been attracting a lot of attention from French media. They’ve teamed up with an Escape Room game designer in Montpelier to turn one of their available apartments into an interactive experience for potential buyers.

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Aging Wine on the Bottom of the Sea Could Become a Thing in France

Two years ago, a winemakers’ association in France dropped 120 bottles of red, white and rosé wine at an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea, as part of an experiment to see if sea bed aging yields better results than traditional cellar aging.

Members of “Les vins de Bandol” winemakers association said that they were inspired to stage this sea aging experiment by the discovery of amphorae that had sunk to the bottom of the sea hundreds, even thousands of years ago. But what really intrigued them was the discovery of intact decades-old wine bottles that had been lost at sea during World War 2, the contents of which had an exquisite taste, according to wine experts. In theory, the sea bed, 40 meters underwater, seemed like a great place to age wine, but they needed proof that this unique environment made the wine taste better, so in the summer of 2015, they dropped 120 bottles of their finest wines into the Mediterranean Sea with plans to retrieve them a year later for a taste test.

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French Florist Spends 15 Years Decorating His Shop with 800 Water Cans

Bruno Geyer, a passionate florist from the quaint village of Rougemont Le Chateau , in the Franche-Comté region of France, has been decorating his flower shop with water cans for the last 15 years. He currently has around 800 of them hanging from the walls and roof of his shop, and even covering a nearby hillside.

It’s hard to miss Bruno Geyer’s unique shop when passing through Rougemont Le Chateau. If the colorful flowers and climbing plants outside don’t give it away, the hundreds of hanging water cans definitely will. They are virtually everywhere and make the place look like it came out of an Alice in Wonderland illustrated book. And with new additions being installed every few days, you could say it’s a work in progress.

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French Man Sues Former Employer Because His Job Was So Boring It Made Him Depressed

While most employees complain of being overburdened at work, one Frenchman is suing his former employer for not giving him enough to do. According to Frederic Desnard, his job as a manager at perfume company ‘Interparfums’ had him suffer a “bore out” between the years of 2010 and 2014. He is now seeking €360,000 (approx. $400,000) in compensation and damages.

Desnard told Agence France-Presse that during his stint with the company he was given tasks that had nothing to do with his original responsibilities, leaving him “destroyed” with “serious depression.” He claimed that the lack of stimulation at work even triggered an epileptic fit one time, while he was driving. He was then signed off work for seven months, and the company later used his “prolonged absence” that “disturbed the smooth working” as an excuse to fire him in September 2014.

“I went into depression,” he said. “I was ashamed to be paid to do nothing. The worse part of it was denying this suffering.”

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French Engineer Converts Old Cars into DIY Poor Man’s Teslas

French engineer Marc Areny didn’t let his financial status get in the way of owning a Tesla – he simply built a DIY version for himself.

A resident of Romania since 2011, Marc was driven by the idea of making “an electric car that anyone could afford, not just elites.” So he started off with Romania’s national car, the low-cost 2005 Dacia Logan by Renault, and got rid of all the parts that worked on petrol. Instead, he replaced them with batteries and an electric motor. The result was a reliable and fast vehicle that does the job pretty well, albeit without all of Tesla’s bells and whistles – touchscreens and other gizmos.

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