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Inmates in a Swedish jail hold guards ransom for pizza

The guards emerged from their ordeal without being hurt while the two inmates were taken to the police station for questioning.

Anti-sex beds in the Olympic Village, prison guards held ransom for pizza in a Swedish jail, and Tilda Swinton’s dogs take the limelight at Cannes… Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

– Snuggling up –

When all the chasing medals are over for the day, the Olympic Village is notorious for its hook-ups, but will the pandemic Games be different? 

The answer may be in the beds. Made out of cardboard, not everyone is convinced they will stand the test of steamy Tokyo nights.

Sparking the debate this week was a report in the New York Post, based on a tweet that was apparently tongue-in-cheek, by a US distance runner who said the beds were “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes”.

Stepping in to reassure athletes, the organisers said this was not the case, and had help from one Irish gymnast who set out to prove the point, filming himself jumping repeatedly on one of the beds.

“The beds are meant to be anti-sex. They’re made out of cardboard, yes, but apparently they’re meant to break with sudden movements. It’s fake — fake news!” Rhys McClenaghan said in the video on Twitter.

The official Olympics Twitter account thanked McClenaghan for “debunking the myth”, adding “the sustainable beds are sturdy!”

Just how sturdy, time will tell.

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– Go home –

Six Polish swimmers will not get the chance to test those beds, or anything else in Tokyo, as on arrival this week in the Japanese capital they were promptly told they were surplus and had to go back home — administrative error!

The swimmers are now threatening legal action against the Polish Swimming Federation (PZP) for sending too many athletes to the Games and calling for the PZP head to resign.

PZP director Pawel Slominski admitted the mistake but said it had been motivated by a desire to “allow as many athletes and coaches as possible to take part”.

Nice idea, but it won’t get the swimmers back to Japan, and one of the six, Alicja Tchorz, took to Twitter to slam the PZP’s “incompetence”.

“Imagine that you sacrifice five years of your life and… your sacrifice results in a total flop,” said Tchorz, who took part in the 2012 and 2016 Games.

– A slice of freedom –

A Margherita drama this week at a Swedish prison when inmates took guards hostage in a nine-hour saga and demanded a helicopter to escape and 20 orders of pizza for the other inmates.

“Yes, the pizzas were delivered,” a jail spokeswoman confirmed. 

But not the chopper.

The two inmates, both doing time for murder at the Hallby high security prison near the town of Eskilstuna, had managed to force themselves into an area reserved only for guards where they took two hostage.

The guards emerged from their ordeal without being hurt while the two inmates were taken to the police station for questioning.

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– Fur-most prize –

A moment to remember for Tilda Swinton when her three spaniels Rosie, Dora and Snowbear scooped the fur-most prize at Cannes, the Palm Dog award, for their role in “The Souvenir Part 2”.

The canine stars were not able to make the ceremony, alas, but their owner was delighted to step in on their behalf.

“I tried to get the dogs here, but they’re busy,” Swinton said. “I hear they’re on the beach in the Highlands in Scotland.”

“I have to tell you honestly, this is the prize to get,” added the Oscar-winning star. “We’re so stoked to get this prize. We’ve been eyeing this award for many years.”

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