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OFFBEAT

Pope falls victim to Catalan ‘shitter’ tradition

Pope Francis was caught with his chasuble rolled up at the waist in the latest batch of Spain's "caganers", holiday season figurines which depict bare-bottom celebrities defecating.

Pope falls victim to Catalan 'shitter' tradition
Pope Francis was also joined by his predecessor Benedict XVI, South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and reggae legend Bob Marley in this year's new releases. Photo: AFP

The ceramic statuettes have been sold in the northeastern Catalonia region since the 18th century.

Catalonians hide caganers ("shitters" in Catalan) in Christmas Nativity scenes and invite friends to find them. The figures symbolise fertilisation, hope and prosperity for the coming year.

Among the new caganers expected to fly off the shelves are La Liga's star rookies: Real Madrid's new Welsh winger Gareth Bale and Barcelona's Brazilian prodigy Neymar.

"There's more sport and less politics, which once in a while is not unpleasant," Marc Alos, whose family is the leading "shitter" producer, told AFP.

Pope Francis was also joined by his predecessor Benedict XVI, South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and reggae legend Bob Marley in this year's new releases.

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OFFBEAT

Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.

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