Funny old world: The week's offbeat news

From Britons being urged to get back to their roots to a cocaine-crazed bear. Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

- Let them eat turnips -

With Britain hit by shortages of such exotic fruit and vegetables as tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower, Environment Minister Therese Coffey has urged Britons to "cherish" their native turnip.

Supermarkets have begun to ration salads and veg, blaming crop failures in Spain that strangely do not seem to be affecting the rest of Europe.

The government's insistence that this has nothing to do with Brexit had been widely mocked, with war correspondent Lindsey Hilsum even tweeting shelves groaning with tomatoes and peppers in the frontline Ukrainian city of Kherson.

Nevertheless, Coffey -- known for her love of cigars and champagne --  kept digging, declaring that in the past "a lot of people would be eating turnips right now rather than... lettuce and tomatoes."

- Angry bots 'just copying us' -

Artificial intelligence is coming for our jobs, they say, with ChatGPT being used to do everything from kids' homework to give legal judgements. But if Microsoft's nascent Bing AI is anything to go by, the bots may be even flakier than us.

"It's very life-like," analyst Yoram Wurmser told AFP, but the bot can also "really go off the rails" in some bizarre and threatening exchanges in which it has threatened to create a deadly virus and steal nuclear codes.

Graham Neubig, of Carnegie Mellon University's language technologies institute, said it was just copying us, "mimicking conversations that it's seen online".

- Nuts about Jimmy Carter -

It is hard not to smile at the Big Peanut in Jimmy Carter's hometown which has become an unlikely shrine to the humblest of former US presidents as he nears the end of his life.

Until he went into a hospice this week, the peanut farmer known for his toothy grin was still living frugally in the small home he built in Plains, Georgia, said to be worth less than one of the Secret Service vehicles protecting him.

However, some Americans question whether the Big Peanut statue was the quite the right place to be leaving floral tributes to the Nobel Peace Prize winner hailed as a selfless humanitarian.

"It's fun but he's an exemplary man and I don't think that that can be encapsulated in a peanut," motorist Elise Maxson told AFP.

- simply nuts -

From the people who brought us "The Lego Movie" comes Hollywood's latest blockbuster -- "Cocaine Bear".

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and it's certainly the case of this tale of a real-life black bear dubbed "Pablo Escobear" who gorged on cocaine he found in a forest in the American South in 1985.

The comedy horror takes some pretty big liberties with the story of an "apex predator out of its mind high on cocaine" who goes on a bloody rampage.

Elizabeth Banks, the "Hunger Games" actress who directed the movie, shrugged off criticism that the film trivialises the damage the drug does, saying, "There was no greater metaphor for the chaos that we were all feeling... than a bear high on cocaine."