Weird news of the week: March 7, 2014

REUTERS/Mike Blake
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Doggie Gras

A 30,000-year-old virus 'wakes up,' a giant snowball fight breaks out in Washington D.C., and why Mrs. Potato Head is a new feminist icon. See gallery

Bianca, a chihuahua, is pictured after winning the second annual Doggie Gras Parade and Fat Cat Tuesday celebration at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., on Tuesday.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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Massive snowball fight

With icy weather closing schools and offices around the country, snow-lovers in Washington D.C. found some fun amongst the winter gloom. A huge snowball fight broke out on Monday, hosted by the Washington D.C. Snowball Fight Association. It's the third year the event has been held.
 

REUTERS/Patrick Lin
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'Pandas on Tour'

About 1,600 papier-mâché pandas landed outside Taipei City Hall in Taiwan last Friday, as part of an exhibition called "Pandas on Tour." The event was first launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Paris in 2008, to remind people of the numbers of giant pandas still living in the wild and raise awareness of endangered species. The sculptures were created by French artist Paulo Grangeon.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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Stumbling over their words

The biggest meme to emerge from this year's Oscars was Ellen DeGeneres' celeb-ridden "selfie" but respect is also due to John Travolta's impressive mangling of actor Idina Menzel's name, pronouncing it as "Adele Dazeem." The incident even spawned its own name generator. Also on Sunday, Pope Francis accidentally swore while addressing the crowds in St Peter's Square, mispronouncing the word "caso" so it sounded like, well, a very well-known Italian word with strong sexual meaning. The 77-year-old corrected himself quickly.

AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
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Cuba Cigar Festival

The annunal Cuba Cigar Festival in Havana wound up last Friday. Pictured above, this participant in a competiton for the longest ash is dizzied by the smoke of his own cigar.

AP Photo/IGS, CNRS-AMU, Julia Bartoli, Chantal Abergel
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Siberian virus revived

Meet pithovirus sibericum, a 30,000-year-old giant virus that was revived by researchers after being found in the permafrost of northeast Siberia. We're glad to report that it poses no threat to people, although its recovery does suggest that dangerous germs might emerge in the future as permafrost thaws because of global warming or mineral exploration.

REUTERS/Maurice McDonald/Pool
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Sandwich ban

British Major General James Cowan (pictured above in Iraq in 2004) issued a three-page letter to soldiers and officers at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, England, in which he demanded that "the practice of serving rolls and sandwiches must stop," due to the "frankly barbaric" practice of army staff eating them with their hands. He also railed against poor grammar, gave advice on marriage (never "sit next to your spouse at dinner, except when dining alone at home"), and instructions on the correct handling of knives and forks.

Janet Mayer/Splash News/Corbis
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Mrs. Potato Head is an icon

Barbie's new "I Can Be..." line may have the aim of encouraging young girls to pursue their career dreams, but it seems the message isn't getting through to their core users. A new study by Oregon State University involving 37 girls aged between 4 and 7 found that after just five minutes of play with a Barbie doll, girls felt that they were capable of less future career roles than boys, but after five minutes of play with the unlikely feminist icon of Mrs. Potato Head, girls were more likely to think they were just as capable as boys.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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Student sues parents

18-year-old New Jersey student Rachel Canning is suing her parents for school costs and living expenses, after she claims her parents kicked her out of the family home. Her parents say that their daughter left of her own free will, because she did not want to abide by their family rules, including chores and curfews. The case could set a precedent for a family's obligation to support a child who has left home. Canning lost the first round of her lawsuit on Tuesday, and the case will return to court on April 22.

Reuters/Vincent West
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Spain's 'Burial of the Sardine'

There was definitely something a bit fishy going on at the Entierro de la Sardina ('Burial of the Sardine') in the Basque port town of Portugalete on Wednesday. The ceremonial funeral and burning of a sardine figurine, representative of the excesses of the carnival season, coincides with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

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