THE news still comes at us like a dark blizzard. President Trump claims he ‘misspoke’ when he supported Putin over his own intelligence agencies; Theresa May survives the latest Brexit cliff-fall thanks in part to four Labour MPs voting her way (the silly toads).
Enough of all this, though. Here are two surprising foreign stories, one an uplifting tale – and the other tragically not. Brexit-weary, Trump-tired eyes will find the full versions on the BBC website.
Here’s the mood-enhancing story. In the US, a company owner gave an employee a new car after he walked all night to make his first day at work.
The day before Walter Carr was due to start his new job for a removal firm, his car broke down. Seeing no other option, he walked 20 miles through the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama and turned up on time.
A police officer – all too often the bad guys in this sort of story – was impressed by Mr Carr’s grit and treated him to breakfast.
The story emerged after Jenny Lamey, a customer of the removals firm, posted on Facebook. She explained how Mr Carr had turned up at 6.30am with the police officer who’d stood him breakfast.
Ms Lamey wrote: “He WALKED ALL NIGHT to get from Homewood to Pelham. Because he needed to get to work. For those reading this that are not local, that’s over 20 miles.
“The police officer said they picked him up earlier that morning, took him to get some breakfast and once they checked his story out, brought Walter to our house.”
She suggested that the young man might want to rest before the moving crew arrived, but he declined and set to work.
The story reports that Mr Carr told her of his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, and that his family had moved to Houston, Texas, after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey,” Ms Lamey wrote in her Facebook post.
“I can’t imagine how many times on that lonely walk… in the middle of the night did he want to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea.”
It is reported that Luke Marklin, the chief executive of the moving company, Bellhops, drove from Tennessee to meet his new employee.
After chatting over coffee, Mr Marklin handed Mr Carr the keys to his own 2014 Ford Escape.
This story made a nice sort of social media splash, going viral with a surge of pleasant energy – rather than the usual bile-flecked fury. A reminder that sometimes social media works in the social way that foolish optimists hoped it might. But the pessimists can take heart: someone would have been trolling or abusing someone else even as those hopeful words were being typed.
The story with the wrong sort of uplift is probably only included here thanks to the headline on the BBC website. Sometimes it seems that the art of the headline has been lost to technology, but this one draws you in… “Brazilian plastic surgeon ‘Dr Bumbum’ on run after patient dies.”
Dr Denis Furtado is a celebrity plastic surgeon, if you can believe such a thing, who is famous for enlarging women’s bottoms. He appears regularly on Brazilian TV and is reported to have 650,000 followers on Instagram.
Investigators report that Dr Furtado carried out the procedure on Lilian Calixto at his home in Rio de Janeiro. She fell ill and died hours later in hospital. Dr Bumbum then disappeared just as a warrant was issued for his arrest.
It is genuinely tragic that someone should die from being dissatisfied with the size of their bottom. My wife accuses me of having a skinny arse. And it’s staying that way.