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The Most Unusual Stories From Around the World You Might Have Missed

From new discoveries to newly discovered frauds

India might be changing its name to Bharat

The country home to over 1.4 billion people is said to be changing its name to Bharat. The alleged rebranding was brought to light in a G20 dinner, as the invites referred to Indian President, Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “President of Bharat” and “Prime Minister of Bharat” instead of their usual titles that included India. Although India is the most commonly used name for the Southeast Asian country, it is said that some refer to it as Bharat or even Hindustan by Indian officials and the public, according to Euronews. The name Bharat is considered to be one of the country’s two official names as Article 1 of their Constitution uses the two names interchangeably. The name “Bharat,” “Bharata,” or “Bharatvarsha” originated from Puranic literature which dates back to almost 20,000 years ago. The Puranas described Bharata as “the land between the sea in the south and the abode of snow in the north,” according to Indian Express. Additionally, the name also comes from the Mahabharata, a time when India was ruled by a monarch who went by the name of King Bharat, who was said to have been the forbearer of all Indians.  “Bharata is also the name of the ancient king of legend who was the ancestor of the Rig Vedic tribe of the Bharatas, and by extension, the progenitor of all peoples of the subcontinent,” as stated on the Indian Express

There is a newly discovered continent 

It is said that scientists have discovered a lost continent that goes by the name of Zealandia. The long lost continent was submerged beneath the ocean’s surface for a total of 375 years. Zealandia was once part of an ancient supercontinent called Gondwana which included Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia. According to the Economic Times, the supercontinent dates all the way back to 1 billion to 542 million years ago, it was just hiding in plain sight, lost at sea. How was it discovered? As stated in the Economic Times, researchers were studying rock and sediment samples from the ocean floor which eventually led to the surprising discovery. It is also considered to be the smallest, thinnest, and youngest continent.  

A Nigerian man sold a fake airport for $42 million to Japan 

There has been an astounding amount of frauds documented throughout history, but selling an airport to an international client without a physical site seeing could potentially be at the top of the list. An elaborate scam and an astonishing feat of deception led by Emmanuel Nwude Odinigwe, better known as the “Owelle of Abagana,” marked his scheme as the third-largest fraud in banking history ever recorded, as reported by News Wire Nigeria— there is no doubt this man is a genius, fraudster or no, or maybe the victim was just too naive? Nelson Sakaguchi, the director of Brazil’s Banco Noroeste based in São Paulo, was the victim of Nwude’s elaborate fraud. To go through with the plan properly Nwude had to appear as an influential Nigerian man. As a result, he took the role of Paul Ogwuma, then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As the director of the Union Bank of Nigeria then, mirroring the personality of a banker was an easy task for the fraudster. 

Nwude needed other accomplices to facilitate the fraud so he went on to employ the expertise of Emmanuel Ofolue, Nzeribe Okoli, and Obum Osakwe, along with the husband and wife duo, Christian Ikechukwu Anajemba and Amaka Anajemba to go through with the plan. Now, as stated on News Wire Nigeria, Nwude convinced Sakaguchi to “invest” in a new airport in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in exchange for a $10 million commission. The total deal was a $242 million deal with $191 million in cash and the remainder in the form of outstanding interest between 1995 and 1998. 

Sakaguchi fell for it, costing Banco Noroeste a tremendous loss. Essentially, Nwude was simply asking Sakaguchi for a huge sum of money to build the airport, and he fell for it, putting his full faith in him. Sakahuchi fell through with the deal without completing any background checks, approving his demand, and awaiting his commission for an airport that was never going to be built. 

However, in 1997 the Brazilian bank decided to examine its expenses and was quick to notice that a large portion of their money was marinating in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. Suspicion arose, and legal proceedings were underway which eventually led to the discovery that Nwude had in fact defrauded the Brazilian bank of the generous $191 million, over the three-year period. 

What’s shocking is Banco Noroeste’s bank owners went on to pay the costs out of their own pocket just so Nwude’s sale would be successful–  before its 2001 collapse.

Fast Forward to 2004, and Nwude and his associates were taken to court and decided to plead not guilty despite the hundreds counts of fraud. He even tried to bribe his way out, but was refused. After Sakaguchi made a court appearance as a witness, he eventually scared the fraudster into confessing his crimes, in which he pleaded guilty. 

Emmanuel Nwude was sentenced to 25 years for fraud but was released from prison in 2006. 

The last Godfather of the Sicilian mafia has died

The Italian mafia boss AKA “the last Godfather” has died. Matteo Messina Denaro was his name and was one of Italy’s most wanted men. He spent more than 30 years on the run until he was eventually captured in January. Denaro died due to cancer at the age of 61 on Sep. 24. According to Vice, during his time as a mafia head, he is said to have carried out more than 50 slayings. Denaro himself was claimed to say: “I filled a cemetery, all by myself.” Exactly what you’d imagine him to be, Denaro whilst still a fugitive continued to mend his duties within his mafia business in the Sicilian city of Trapani. He was also known for dressing himself in expensive suits, and a variety of Rolex watches. He was officially arrested while  undergoing treatment for a tumor in a private clinic in Palermo under the name Andrea Bonafede. Ironically, he had been hiding out in a bunker in a small town a few miles away from the clinic where police found a film poster of The Godfather up on his wall. 

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