25 weirdest government stories of 2020

By Apolitical

December 16, 2020


It’s been a challenging year for us all, and most of us are glad that 2020 is nearing its end. Take a break and dive into the weirdest government stories of 2020, complied by Apolitical’s Amelia Axelsen and Anna Goulden.

  1. The EU has given Mauritania 250 camels to boost border security. Intended to help the military cavalry ward off terrorist threats, the gift has become a joke among citizens. BBC
  2.  “Meth. We’re on it.” – South Dakota’s new ad slogan is getting attention, but not in the way it was intended. The ads were designed to draw attention to methamphetamine addiction ravaging the state, but are now being mocked on social media. The department of social services spent $449,000 on marketing including an informational website aptly named OnMeth.com. THE GUARDIAN
  3. This US town has just elected a dog as honorary mayor. And he’s not the first — “Parker the Snow Dog” of Georgetown, Colorado has just joined a group of nine dogs to have been appointed. So, what’s next for Parker — the presidency? INSIDER
  4. New Zealand’s Prime Minister declares the Easter Bunny an “essential worker” during lockdownBut, due to restrictions, she warns that he might not be able to get to everyone this year. THE WASHINGTON POST
  5. Three men have been banned from Yellowstone National Park after a park ranger found them cooking brined chicken in a hot springThey got a hefty fine for violating national park rules, but the men said the chicken was “fantastic”. NEW YORK TIMES
  6. Missing physical touch in isolation? Hug a tree instead, says Iceland’s forestry service. The team have even uploaded photos of example hugging techniques — and carved paths in the snow for better access. BBC
  7. Japan’s local government mascots are competing to be crowned the nation’s cutest. Characters range from a chubby black bear to a dog with a ramen bowl on its head. THE NEW YORK TIMES
  8. A mayor in Peru allegedly pretended to be dead to avoid being caught breaking lockdown rulesPolice say the mayor of Tantará was found hiding in a coffin after a night drinking with friends. INSIDER
  9. “Make it a little kinky” — the New York City Health Department issued guidelines on sex during the pandemicAdvice ranges from wearing masks to using props and avoiding kissing. THE NEW YORK TIMES
  10. The Austrian police have fined a man €500 for a ‘provocative’ fartDefending their decision on Twitter, the Vienna force said that — while “of course no one is reported for accidentally letting one go” — he acted “with full intent”. THE GUARDIAN
  11. The UK’s top diplomatic cat retires after 4 years of service at the Foreign Office. In an official letter signed with two paw prints, the “chief mouser” Palmerston explained that he wanted more time “away from the limelight”. AP NEWS
  12. France has renamed its “minister of attractiveness” after the new cabinet title was mocked online for its poor translation. The country will now have a more accurately named “minister of economic attractiveness”. POLITICO
  13. Thanks to a new law, Germans are now legally obliged to walk their dogs twice a day. “Dogs are not cuddly toys,” said the Minister of Agriculture who introduced the law after research found that the nation’s dogs are not getting enough exercise. THE GUARDIAN
  14. This Finnish town is offering residents cake in return for reducing their CO2 emissions. The new app rewards locals who use sustainable transport with redeemable treats such as swimming pool tickets, bus passes and sweets. EURONEWS
  15. These cities are using human poop to detect Covid-19 outbreaksSince human faeces have been shown to indicate the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community, scientists are taking to the sewers. QUARTZ
  16. The US military is deploying ‘robot dogs’ to defend its air force base. The giant, four-legged canines are specifically designed for remote inspection, surveillance and mapping. FUTURISM
  17. In a bid to discourage littering, officials in Thailand mailed discarded rubbish to culprits’ homes. A group of messy campers received a package along with a note reading “you have forgotten some of your belongings at the Khao Yai National Park.” NEW YORK TIMES
  18. The Katmai National Park has just held its annual Fat Bear Week contest. Each year, 40 of the Alaskan nature reserve’s chunkiest bears compete to be crowned the fattest by public vote. NEW YORK TIMES
  19. This city in Florida is hosting a “swan lottery” to offload birds to paying citizens. With around 86 swans up for grabs, the auction is intended to reduce crowding in the waters of Lakeland. THE NEW YORK TIMES
  20. Asbestos, Quebec has voted to change its name to something a little less toxic. Citizens have chosen the benign Val-des-Sources – “Valley of the Springs” – as their replacement. CBC NEWS
  21. Meet the 17-year-old government intern who discovered a planet. Wolf Cukier was on a placement at the US space agency NASA when a routine assignment led to the shock finding. CNBC
  22. This Costa Rica suburb has granted citizenship to bees, plants and trees. The decision was core to the government’s effort to redesign Curridabat for both human and non-human inhabitants. THE GUARDIAN
  23. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand is employing an official wizard. Paid $16,000 New Zealand dollars per year by the city council, the 87-year-old’s popularity has earned him a 4-star rating on Tripadvisor. CNN
  24. Florida’s Department of Citrus is offering visitors to the state free orange juiceDesigned to boost awareness of the Florida citrus industry, a $250,000 contract will fund the provision of refreshments at state welcome centres. CREATIVE LOAFING: TAMPA BAY
  25. A small town in Belgium has been in the news this week for what appears to be an X-rated Christmas lights displayAfter a series of jokes and reactions from locals online, the Mayor has apologised and blamed cost-cutting for the mishap. THE EVENING STANDARD

This article is curated from Apolitical.

About the author
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Mandarin Premium

Insights & analysis that matter to you

Subscribe for only $5 a week


Get Premium Today