Six clairvoyant creatures with a knack for scoring at the World Cup

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Nelly the elephant took part in a spectacular penalty shootout at the Serengeti Park zoo in Hodenhagen, northern Germany. (AFP)
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During this World Cup, Achilles correctly predicted that Russia would beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match. (Reuters)
Updated 20 June 2018

Six clairvoyant creatures with a knack for scoring at the World Cup

From fortune-telling felines to sea creatures with a knack for backing the winning side, these animals are scoring fans across the world.

Paul the octopus
The sea creature made headlines at the 2010 tournament in South Africa when he correctly predicted that Spain would win the final. His keepers at Germany’s Oberhausen Sea Life Center would offer him two boxes that contained food and had different countries’ flags on the outside — he correctly predicted all seven of Germany’s results. Paul sadly passed away in his tank in October of 2010 — gone, but not forgotten.

Shaheen the camel
A wise camel named Shaheen was discovered by a Dubai-based newspaper among the rolling dunes of the desert and made quite a name for himself during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by picking 19 out of 29 matches correctly. He has returned for the 2018 edition of the tournament and correctly predicted that Russia would win against Saudi Arabia in the much-awaited opening match.

Achilles the cat
The deaf, snow-white cat who hails from St. Petersburg lives at the Hermitage Museum in the city and chooses between bowls of cat food marked with countries’ flags. During this World Cup, the pet correctly predicted that Russia would beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match.

Nelly the elephant
The elephant took part in a spectacular penalty shootout at the Serengeti Park zoo in Hodenhagen, northern Germany. She made predictions about the 2006 Women’s World Cup and the 2010 World Cup and hit the mark 30 out of 33 times.

Zabiyaka the goat
The white goat, hailed as the “Oracle of Samara,” lives in the southwestern Russian city and predicts winners by eating a plate of food placed behind the flag of various competing teams. The goat this week predicted a draw for Group C match between Denmark and Australia.

Wolodja the tiger
We’re not too sure about this one as the Siberian tiger in the German town of Chemnitz seems to be lacking feline intuition. The beautiful creature was asked to choose the winner of the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia but remained staunchly diplomatic and refused to pick a side. Perhaps a posting in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is more in order?


New York outshines lead stars in festive season offering ‘Dash and Lily’

Updated 23 November 2020

New York outshines lead stars in festive season offering ‘Dash and Lily’

CHENNAI: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has proved to be a boon to streaming giants and the usual string of holiday movies and shows have captured a captive audience due to stay-at-home measures still in place in many countries. One of Netflix’s latest offerings in the festive feel-good category is “Dash and Lily,” a series comprising eight short episodes. It is based on Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s novel, “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” and was repurposed for TV by Joe Tracz. In true teenage style, it is a little sweet, a little sour, with laughs and tears along the way. Cynical Dash (Austin Abrams) and bubbling-with-optimism Lily (Midori Francis) find themselves all alone in their respective homes having been abandoned by their parents, who go off on holidays they have been dreaming of for years. The plot kicks off when Dash finds a notebook written by a mysterious girl at his favorite bookstore in New York. What follows is a mad dash across the city as the pair communicate via the little red notebook, leaving it at various spots throughout the city for each other to find. What is more, Dash and Lily find that the notebook helps them discover things about themselves — it becomes a voyage of self-discovery and both realize that had they met face-to-face, they would have never been able to reveal so much. Other characters, such as Lily’s stern grandfather and Dash’s friend who works at the bookstore, add variety to the narrative and they have also been smartly written. While the series offers a novel take on teenage romance, there is not very much that is new or unexpected about the storyline. The performances are nothing to write home about in this saccharine story, but New York, in all its festive season flair (the series was shot in December 2019), stands in as an appealing lead character and will, at the very least, offer travel-starved viewers the chance to enjoy winter in the Big Apple.