Some Christians in Cyprus are in a lather over the country's offering this year to the annual Eurovision song contest, saying it has scandalised the faithful with its references to the devil. "El Diablo" (The Devil), a dance mix performed by Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou, was announced this week as Cyprus' entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled in May in Rotterdam. "This is scandalous to us Christians," petition starter Demetris P wrote on a popular petition site in Cyprus, whose Christian community are mostly Greek Orthodox.
A gorilla and two lions have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Prague Zoo, which is closed amid lockdown restrictions in the country. The lions have a cold and cough. Prague Zoo was in touch with other zoos that have seen COVID-19 cases.
The pandemic has battered the industry, with many cinemas forced to close, restrict screenings or ban sales of snacks, while major studios move releases straight to home streaming platforms, dealing another blow to the box office. As Hollywood waits for cinemas - a core part of the movie value chain - to reopen, many studios have delayed hotly-anticipated blockbusters, such as James Bond's "No Time to Die". For Kinepolis, which operates over 100 cinemas across Europe and North America, that brought its first annual loss in at least 13 years, with sales down 68%.
A wild and ailing sheep found in a forest in Australia, named Baarack by rescuers, has yielded a fleece weighing more than 35 kilogrammes - nearly half the weight of an adult kangaroo - after being shorn for the first time in many a year. The sheep was found by a member of the public who contacted the Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary near Lancefield, Victoria, about 60 kilometres north of Melbourne, according to the Mission's Kyle Behrend. "Sheep need to be shorn at least annually otherwise the fleece continues to grow and grow, as happened here," said Behrend.
Egyptian Mansour Tarek hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and become a professional rally driver when he's older. At an amateur rally in the desert on the outskirts of Cairo last weekend, Tarek clocked a time of just over four minutes as he navigated hollows and hillocks on a desert course on the outskirts of Cairo in a an open-sided buggy. Tarek's father and co-pilot, Tarek el-Erian, said his priority was taking care of his son's safety by ensuring he has the right equipment and a small car that is easily operated.
Police in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, are deploying an armed rollerblading unit to curb theft and harassment on its teeming streets. "We felt we needed to come up with an innovative approach to control street crime," said Farrukh Ali, chief of the unit, explaining that officers on rollerblades could more easily chase thieves on motorcycles through the city of 20 million. Ali conceded that rollerblading police could not be deployed across many parts of Karachi due to the poor road conditions and uneven footpaths, but said they would be sent to public places with a higher incidence of theft and harassment.
Wearing pink surgical gloves, animal carer Christie Jarrett gently wraps the foot of an orphaned seven-month-old kangaroo with surgical tape at a facility set up at her rural home near the Australian city of Bathurst in New South Wales (NSW). Attacked by crows after losing his mother, the joey, an eastern grey named Andy, now stays in a cloth pouch in Jarrett's home, where he will remain until he is strong enough to be released back into the plains. "He had a bit of surgery and he's doing really well now," said Jarrett, a long-term volunteer with the country's largest wildlife rescue organisation, NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service.
An Israeli bar doubled as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, with free drinks given to those who got the shots. More than 43% percent of Israel's 9 million population have received at least one dose of Pfizer Inc's vaccine, the Health Ministry says.
The latest in a series of mystery monoliths to capture the imagination of science-fiction fans around the world met a fiery end in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday when it was torched at a roundabout in the capital. The 12-foot metallic structure first appeared in Kinshasa's Bandal neighbourhood over the weekend on Sunday morning. Videos posted on social media later in the day showed residents destroying the structure with sticks and then setting it on fire.
A Spanish chess board maker discovered by chance that its products played a cameo role in hit Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit", and its sales have since soared. "One day I came into work and a colleague, Miguel, told me that Netflix had released a new series 'The Queen's Gambit' and some Rechapados Ferrer boards appeared in the trailer," said David Ferrer, 30, who runs Rechapados Ferrer. The series, based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, debuted in October 2020 and fast became a hit.
Staff at Hotel Sky in Johannesburg's wealthy Sandton district adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols, wearing masks and physically distancing from guests as much as possible; all, that is, except Lexi, Micah and Ariel. Several robot-staffed Tokyo hotels are now using them to serve guests with mild COVID-19 symptoms. But Hotel Sky, which launched this year, is the first in Africa to use automated attendants, a concept that could cause a stir in a country with one of the world's worst jobless rates.
The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, an annual race from the Canary Islands to Antigua, is not for the faint-hearted but Rothwell, an experienced sailor, took up the challenge to raise money for charity. After 56 days, two hours and 41 minutes, Rothwell arrived at Antigua's English Harbour to place fourth out of eight in his category and also become the oldest man to row solo across the Atlantic. "That would make a difference to people's lives," said Rothwell, a prostate cancer survivor who trained for months on the coast of Scotland.
All the COVID-causing virus circulating in the world right now could easily fit inside a single cola can, according to a calculation by a British mathematician whose sum exposes just how much devastation is caused by minuscule viral particles. Using global rates of new infections with the pandemic disease, coupled with estimations of viral load, Bath University maths expert Kit Yates worked out there are around two quintillion - or two billion billion - SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the world at any one time. Even accounting for the coronavirus' projecting spike proteins and the fact that the spherical particles will leave gaps when stacked together, the total is still less than in a single 330 millilitre (ml) cola can, he said.
Tired of COVID-19 confinement and seeking both communion and emotional release, some Israelis have taken to group screaming. A record vaccine rollout has done little to ease Israel's pandemic curbs. Next month's election - the fourth in two years, due to coalition infighting and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal woes - has many complaining of malaise.
Scientists say they discovered a sunflower seed-sized subspecies of chameleon that may well be the smallest reptile on Earth. Two of the miniature lizards, one male and one female, were discovered by a German-Madagascan expedition team in northern Madagascar. The male Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, has a body that is only 13.5 mm (0.53 inches) long, making it the smallest of all the roughly 11,500 known species of reptiles, the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich said.
A German veterinary clinic has trained sniffer dogs to detect the novel coronavirus in human saliva samples with 94% accuracy. The dogs are conditioned to scent out the "corona odour" that comes from cells in infected people, said Esther Schalke, a vet at Germany's armed forces school for service dogs. Filou, a 3-year-old Belgian Shepherd, and Joe Cocker, a 1-year-old Cocker Spaniel, are two of the dogs being trained at Hanover's University of Veterinary Medicine.
French President Emmanuel Macron was so determined to hold his own umbrella at a rain-dampened event outside the Elysee Palace on Wednesday that he shooed away aides three times when they tried to take it from him. As Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic spoke to reporters before a meeting with Macron, a female aide came out and handed the French leader a black umbrella. When the two men finished speaking to the media, and turned to walk back up the steps into the Elysee Palace, a military aide approached and offered to take Macron's umbrella.
An animal care specialist dressed as an NFL referee at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium presented Nicholas with two footballs - one with the logo of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 18-year-old, who got his name after he was found badly sunburned on Christmas Eve in 2002, selected the winning team by touching the ball featuring the Chief's logo with his nose.
Fur will fly ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday as 70 puppies compete in the 'Puppy Bowl' to encourage animal adoptions. Due to COVID-19, the National Football League's (NFL) championship game at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hold only 22,000 spectators, a third of its capacity, when they play the Kansas City Chiefs. Likewise, the Puppy Bowl has adapted.
Scandinavia's biggest film festival is going ahead this year despite the coronavirus pandemic, but will be hosted on an isolated island and admit only one attendee - a healthcare worker, selected from 12,000 applicants. Swedish nurse and film fan Lisa Enroth was chosen to be the 2021 Gothenburg Film Festival's castaway who will spend a week on the remote island of Pater Noster watching film after film. Pater Noster, on the boundary of a dense archipelago offSweden's west coat, is known for its lighthouse.
Inspired by the natural, twisting patterns of a lobster shell, Australian researchers say they have found a way, using 3D printing technology, to improve the strength of concrete for use in complex architecture. Reinforced with steel fibres, the concrete becomes more durable when set in a pattern that copies a lobster shell, according to a new study from Melbourne's RMIT University. Rather than use a mould, the process involves depositing layers of concrete one on top of the other, directed from a computer program using 3D printing technology.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the famed curmudgeon photographed at President Joe Biden's inauguration wearing mittens and a scowl behind his facemask in an image that instantly became a meme, said on Sunday he was happy it may help raise millions for charity. Lifting spirits around the world since it went viral, the meme depicts everything from Sanders' mittens touching Michelangelo's Hand of God in the Sistine Chapel, to the Vermont Democrat helping actor Demi Moore mold clay at the pottery wheel from the film "Ghost," to Sanders joining the World War Two Yalta Conference in 1945, seated next https://tinyurl.com/y5exklqe to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
PRACHIN BURI, Thailand (Reuters) - "Giggling bread" and "joyfully dancing salad" aren't the usual dishes on a menu in Thailand, but one eatery is hoping its cannabis-infused cuisine can lure foreign tourists and take the taboo out of the recently legalised leaf. The restaurant at the Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachin Buri started serving its own happy meals this month, after Thailand de-listed cannabis as a narcotic, allowing state-authorised firms to cultivate the plant. "Cannabis leaves, when put in the food or even a small amount ... it will help the patient to recover faster from the illness," said Pakakrong Kwankao, the project leader at the hospital.
One hundred years ago on Sunday, illusionist P.T. Selbit put a woman in a box on the stage of London's Finsbury Park Empire and sawed right through the wood, creating a magical classic. Now, 100 years on, magicians from around the world will be getting together online this weekend to celebrate the centenary of that landmark performance. "This took off and became the most influential and the most famous illusion, in my opinion, that there's ever been," said magician and historian Mike Caveney who is writing a book on the illusion.
Britons arriving in the Netherlands since the start of the year have found that leaving the European Union might have cost them more than they realised, including their lunch. Ferry passengers have had ham sandwiches and tinned sardines confiscated by customs officials at Dutch ports, due to strict rules on the import of meat, fruit, vegetables and fish from outside the EU. "Do you have meat on all the bread?", a Dutch customs officer asks a man who has just arrived in the port of Hook of Holland, as he holds up his foil-wrapped sandwich.
“Taking humans to Mars would require an investment astronomically out of kilter with the possible benefits.”
“Can a Mars settlement be a freer society than we enjoy on Earth? Maybe.”
“What we learn...may spark the next revolution that will make life in 2071 beyond anything we can imagine right now.”
“Our presence on Mars could jeopardize one of our main reasons for being there — the search for life.”
“The future of geologic investigation of other worlds lies with highly improved versions of our Mars rovers.”