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Heroes and villains

Hungry elephants | brown lawns | Microsoft

Hu Chao/Xinhua/AP


A herd of hungry elephants, which have wreaked havoc in Yunnan province, southwest China, after escaping from a nature reserve last year. They have made the 311-mile journey from Xishuangbanna to Yuxi, a city of 2.6 million people, destroying farmland and causing $1.1m worth of damage along the way.


People with brown lawns. An hour of watering requires as much water as the average person uses in a week, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. “Let your lawn grow out a little,” says The Guardian. “Even slightly longer grass is terrific for pollinators, plant diversity and absorbing greenhouse gas emissions.”


Microsoft, which has used an Irish subsidiary to avoid paying a penny in tax on profits of £222bn, equivalent to three-quarters of Ireland’s GDP. Microsoft Round Island One collects licence fees from users of Microsoft software around the world. It has zero employees and is “resident” in Bermuda for tax purposes.

Hero (eventually)

Howard Simon, a San Francisco retiree who returned a Bob Dylan album he’d borrowed from a library 48 years ago. After discovering it in his 3,000-album collection, he mailed the record, Self Portrait, to the University Heights Library in Ohio with a letter of apology and a $175 cheque – “a tithe, if you will”, he wrote. “It was not a very good album, so I didn’t play it a lot,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thierry Monasse/Getty Images


Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, who is spending too much on breakfast, with an average of €845 a month charged to the taxpayer on “breakfast items and cold-served meals” for her household. Critics say the 35-year-old PM should behave like the country’s president, who pays for his own breakfast.


General Dynamics, manufacturer of the army’s new Ajax tanks, which have been plagued by delays and design flaws. So far the armoured vehicles have cost £3.2bn, but only 14 of the 589 on order have been delivered – and these can only be safely driven at 20mph. Their cannons can’t be fired while they are moving and they vibrate so much, and are so noisy, that they make crew members ill.