Elmo, Putin, and pigeons: A weird combo highlights a weird week

Billionaire world leaders (who else?) headline our roundup of stories worth talking about this weekend.

  • Elmo checks in with the internet to find it is full of sad people. The internet responded to the little red monster’s X post, which has amassed 198m+ views, with a unanimous “not great.” Responses got so heavy — e.g., “Elmo I’m depressed and broke” — that the official Sesame Street account followed up by sharing mental health resources. Hopefully Elmo has good health insurance, because we clearly don’t.  
  • Malaysia’s new king is an “outspoken motorcycle-riding” billionaire with ties to Hitler. Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar began his five-year reign this week as the 17th king of Malaysia, the only country with a rotating monarchy. Among other luxuries, the 65-year-old investor-turned-monarch owns a private army, several international properties, and a collection of 300+ vintage cars — one of which previously belonged to Adolf Hitler, a purported friend of Iskandar’s great grandfather.    
  • Speaking of billionaire world leaders, Putin claims he isn’t one. Vladimir Putin’s net worth is widely cited to hover around $200B, which, if true, would make him the world’s second-richest person. But according to the Russian president’s official financial disclosure — released on Tuesday and ahead of Russia’s presidential elections in March — he earns a relatively modest salary of $175k and his assets are limited to a few properties, a couple of old cars, and a parking space. (Sure.)
  • A pigeon that was detained for eight months on suspicion of espionage has finally been released. Turns out the avian was just an open-water racing bird from Taiwan that had flown the coop to Mumbai — not a Chinese spy bird, as Indian authorities had suspected. Unfortunately, no details on their methods of interrogation, but the pigeon has been set free.
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Topics: Sound Smart

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