Weird World: News In Brief

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BOOKIES HIT: Punters who gambled on EastEnders villain Derek Branning being murdered will be given a refund by bookmakers William Hill after it turned out he died from a heart attack.

The firm took bets on a long list of characters who had good reason to want to kill the baddie in the soap’s Christmas Day special. But in an unexpected twist, he died from natural causes – although family members did refuse to help him as he lay stricken on the pavement.

GAME CLAIMS: Genealogists hailed research that claims to trace the origins of Spanish football to Scotland.

Researchers at Scotland’s People, a genealogy project at National Records of Scotland, praised an article which suggests the seeds of Spanish football were sown by a Scottish mining community in Huelva, south-western Spain.

Many historians record this community as being English, but research into the birthplaces of its founders conducted by online Spanish football encyclopaedia La Futbolteca showed that they were predominantly Scottish.

LUCKY DOG: Blind and alone in Alaska winter temperatures that dipped to minus 40C, a lost eight-year-old dog was not given much of a chance to make it home.

But after walking 10 miles to the edge of a local dog yard, Abby the brown-and-white mongrel was found and returned to her owners, a family that includes two boys and one girl under the age of 10.

The dog that the family raised from an animal-shelter puppy went missing during a snowstorm on December 13, and the family never expected to see her again.

SANDY HINT: Actress Jessica Simpson’s daughter has the news all spelled out: “Big Sis.”

Pregnant Simpson tweeted a photo of her baby daughter Maxwell playing in the sand, with the words Big Sis spelled out.