Monthly Archives: December 2014

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It’s cold and it’s raining and people are dressed up as reindeer, which means it’s time for a heartwarming seasonal story. This year it comes in the form of a police chief-Santa, and Sadie Adam, a hearing impaired six year old girl from Westminster, Massachusetts.

The young girl, who communicates via sign language, was astonished to find Father Christmas signing right back at her when she went to visit him this week in Massachusetts. The surprise was set up by Sadie’s mum, Ronelle Adams, when she approached police chief Salvatore Albert with her idea. Chief Albert, who has been dressing as Santa for 15 years in the town of Westminster, was ‘very happy’ to go along with the plan and sat with Sadie’s mum for an hour, learning all of the necessary sign language to surprise the little girl.

When Sadie first saw Santa signing ‘’She literally stopped dead in her tracks, and she just stared at him,’ her mother Ronelle Adam told WCVB news. After communicating for a while, and establishing that Sadie wanted a baby and a kitchen for Christmas, Chief Albert commented that ‘It was amazing to see the smile on her face and her eyes wide open with joy that Santa knew sign language. I am going to try to learn more for next year.’

 

Will Coleman

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When selling your vehicle, one usually presumes that it will end up going to a good home. Imagine the shock, then, of one Texas man who discovered, via Twitter, that his old pickup truck has ended up in the hands of Islamic extremists in Syria.

But how is this possible?

This remains the question of the day. In any case, the Texan plumber, Jeff Oberholtzer, certainly didn’t expect to find his former Ford F-250 truck in the hands of the Islamic State after selling it to a dealership in Houston, Texas. Yet if we are to believe the recent tweet from extremist group Ansar al-Deen, it does indeed appear that his erstwhile pickup has now been appropriated as an instrument of war. Oberholtzer recognised his truck due to the logo and contact details of his plumbing company emblazoned on the door of the vehicle. An unfortunate consequence of his company’s telephone number being on full display is that the plumber is now being flooded by calls from angry Americans accusing him of supporting Jihadists in Syria.


Completely refuting this claim, Oberholtzer stated: ‘We thought we were selling this vehicle to tow trailers, but now it is being used to sow terror’. The plumber went on to lament that ‘We have a company secretary who is presently dying of fear. We all have families. We don’t want any problems.’

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On Sunday evening, a young mother of 21 threw herself under an RER train travelling at full speed, taking her two children, aged 2 and 4, with her. The scene took place in full view of several stunned witnesses in L’Isle-d’Abeau, Isère, France.

Suicide

Evidence suggests that the woman advanced towards the track in a deliberate move, taking her two children with her, at the L’Isle- d’Abeau station. They were subsequently mowed down by an RER train travelling at full speed towards them. Matthew Bourrette, the public prosecutor for Vienne reported suicide under the circumstances.

A regular with social services

After an investigation was opened by the magistrate regarding this sad affair, it was discovered that the young woman was a regular with social services. It was also reported that she was abandoned by her husband, the father of the two children, which is a leading factor pointing towards the hypothesis of suicide.

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On an official tour of the United States with her husband, Prince William, Kate Middleton visited the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem where she was invited to speak with the children and help wrap gifts for them.

Kate, who has quickly adapted to a life of official tours and media events, dropped her guard and let slip a momentary expression of frustration, albeit a subtle one. The Duchess of Cambridge was in conversation when one of the women working with her observed that she possibly wasn’t working fast enough and said ‘keep wrapping’. Perhaps a little unused to such demands, Kate rolled her eyes and grimaced a little before resuming her task. The moment of annoyance was caught on camera and hasn’t escaped the attention of internet users, with the video quickly going viral.

During their stay in the U.S., the couple have already met with the American President, Barack Obama, and the singer Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z.

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Rumours regarding the separation of actress Kate Hudson, and the frontman of Muse, Matthew Bellamy, have recently been confirmed. Speculations about an affair between Hudson and Derek Hough have gained momentum ever since their meeting at the Love In For Kids charity evening.

Four years living as a couple

Hudson and Bellamy lived as a couple for four years and had one child together, Bingham Hawn Bellamy, a three year old boy. Engaged, but never married, the couple could have become official had Hudson said ‘yes’ when asked by Bellamy in April 2011. At the time, the actress stated that she didn’t see a ‘whole’ in marriage, and wished to emulate her parents.

‘My parents [Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell] aren’t married. One of the main reasons is that they’ve both been married before and they like how things are going for them now. They feel they don’t need a piece of paper to be committed. For me, marriage is not the key to everything.’

Kate Hudson and Derek Hough?

While rumours of their separation began making a buzz on the web in February, a source close to the couple has finally confirmed to the New York Daily News that it’s really over between the celebrity pair.

‘Matt is happy in England, while Kate is really focussed in Los Angeles. They have separate lives. It didn’t really work the way they wanted it to, although they really tried for the sake of their son.’

Whilst the couple haven’t formalised their separation, rumours that the actress has already set her sights on another man abound on the internet. The man in question? Derek Hough, the Dancing with the Stars sensation who Hudson reportedly finds ‘exceptional’.

‘My heart is really taken when ballroom dancing with Derek, it’s exceptional’

It appears the two met at the charity event Love In For Kids, which Hudson recently attended with her former partner, Bellamy.

 

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On Thursday night, Joao Contreras was declared dead on Twitter by a non-official website, Sport Aguila, after being struck by lightning during a game. However, it later transpired that the 21 year-old football player actually only suffered third-degree burns, and is now out of danger.

Two other victims

On Wednesday, during the match between Sport Aguila and Fuerza Minera in the Copa Peru semi-final, three people were struck by lightning. The incident occurred just before kick-off at the second half of the match. Two of the three victims, Joao Contreras and linesman Abraham Loayza, were taken to hospital. Contreras is the most seriously injured, with third-degree burns to both legs. The outlook for the player’s recovery is, however, positive.

Images

In the video above, a thunderclap is audible in the far distance whilst the team changes players. On another part of the pitch, a man falls to the ground and there is smoke visible. All the players and staff members run to see the lightening damage. Joao Contreras is quickly evacuated by the medical team and taken to hospital.

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The record holding cat has died of cancer at the age of 15, a remarkable age considering the high mortality rates among the few other cats with this rare condition.

The cat, named Frank and Louie, was born with two faces – two noses, two mouths, three eyes, but a single brain. The exceptional animal is often referred to as a ‘Janus Cat’, in reference to the two-faced Roman God. Frank and Louie became famous in 2011 when he entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest two-headed cat in the world. In attaining this age, Frank and Louie has had to cheat death on several occasions.The cat’s first owner decided to have the animal euthanised upon discovering the condition, believing it was the kinder option, but Frank and Louie’s most recent owner, Martha Stevens, had other ideas and saved the rare animal by adopting. According to Martha, Frank and Louie was an affectionate, playful cat who loved to cuddle.

Martha said that the cat became ill around Thanksgiving and was euthanised on the 4th of December, after its arrival at the veterinary school at Grafton, Massachusetts. Vets believe that he had succumbed to cancer.

R.Ravo

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The South Korean government has given the go-ahead to a Christian group, allowing them to erect a 20 metre tall Christmas tree-like structure close to the border with the notoriously tempestuous North Korea.

North Korea, a country which has supplanted mainstream religion with its own unique brand of quasi-religious dictatorship, views the building of the Christian ‘tree’ as a ‘provocative display of psychological warfare’ and has threatened to take military action if necessary.

Pyongyang issued warnings that it would dissemble the structure themselves, with the aid of shelling and heavy artillery, should the South ignore their demands to remove the festive tower.

Unfazed, the South Korean Christian group hopes to decorate the tree with sparkly lights and top it with a cross, as per tradition.

 

 

Will Coleman

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The Lowline project is an initiative based in New York which hopes to convert an old streetcar terminal into the world’s first underground park.

The proposed site, a former trolley terminal, has been out of use since 1948. The infrastructure, however, has weathered the ages well, and there remains one acre of usable space. In converting the old terminal into a park, the project hopes to use a variety of modern technology to achieve their aims. The notable challenge of getting sunlight to the trees and plans belowground has been solved in some very inventive ways.

Using ‘Remote Skylights’ the project hopes to harness the power of the sun and transmit the light necessary for the growth of plants through a series of collection dishes and fibre optic cables.

The Lowline project hopes to have the park open and ready for visitors by 2018. Should the initiative succeed, it could mark the beginning of several similar projects striving to find new and inventive ways of solving space issues in modern cities.

 

Will Coleman

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In Finland, just like in numerous American States, teachers have decided to ditch the ink in favour of keyboards, which are considered to be more useful in today’s rapidly advancing technological world.

A first for Europe

This current generation could be the last to be taught handwriting in school. In Finland, primary school teachers decided to stop teaching handwriting, and beginning 2016, typing will take over.

More relevant to everyday life

In the U.S., this phenomenon is already on trial in many schools, an example which is being followed closely by Finnish educators who also believe typing to be a more pertinent skill in today’s society. Earlier this week, Minna Harmanen, from the National Finnish Board of Education declared ‘Fluent typing skills are important for national competence, the switch will be a major cultural change. Typing is more relevant to everyday life.’

American students have been without pens since 2014

Numerous American States have already adopted this new reform in schools, as of September 2014. Around 40 States chose to teach typing from primary school onwards, but they will still teach handwriting as well.