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Friday, February 29, 2008

Things in February [Leap Day Extra]

Different from common years, 2008 is a leap year with 366 days counted to its tally. Here's an extra box of news nuggets from this month's news headlines on February's leap day:

FebruaryA digest of news headlines in February*
  1. Turkey is preparing for a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion, which some say is akin to the Christian Reformation.
  2. The biggest earthquake for nearly 25 years hit the UK recently, with insurance claims expected to run into tens of millions of pounds. There are 200-300 quakes in the UK every year.
  3. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France told a man who refused to shake his hand to "get lost, you idiot".
  4. Italians are among the most spied upon people in the world.
  5. The EU has a long track record exporting democracy. In the 1980s it helped guide Spain, Portugal and Greece out of dictatorship and did the same in the 1990s, for the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.
  6. Police in Romania are taking ballet lessons from professional dancers, so they can direct traffic more gracefully.
  7. Pakistan has rejected claims that it was responsible for blocking global access to the YouTube video clip site.
  8. The UK's first Energy Saving Day has ended with no noticeable reduction in the country's electricity usage.
  9. For the first time in US history, more than one in every 100 American adults is behind bars, and one in every 11 inmates in the US has been sentenced to life since 2003.
  10. 70% of mental health inpatients are smokers.
  11. It is possible to donate half a liver.
  12. Ugandan tribes recognise and deal with depression, while research suggests depression in its mild form is a healthy a defence mechanism and that anti-depressants have little clinical benefit.
  13. Drug dependence rather than a moral weakness may be a medical condition.
  14. US scientists say they have "cured" diabetic mice with a cocktail of drugs.
  15. Scientists say they are closer to producing crops that can survive in a drought.
  16. A vast encyclopaedia which aims to catalogue every one of our planet's 1.8 million species has been unveiled.
  17. An eight-year-old dog can keep a golf ball in a spoon held in her mouth while balancing objects on her head.
  18. In 1752, the day after 2 September was 14 September.
  19. 23% of plastic bags used in the UK are from Tesco.
  20. Web browser Netscape Navigator once commanded 90% of internet traffic. Now it is 0.6%.

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* (Pictures from left to right) 1. A Turkish commando patrols a road near the Turkey-Iraq border after a recent incursion; 2. Troubled singer Amy Winehouse won five Grammy Awards but couldn't attend the ceremony after being refused a visa to America; 3. Two monkeys are married in an elaborate Hindu wedding ceremony in eastern India; 4. With the top awards all won by European artists, this year's Oscars ceremony has had the ceremony's lowest TV ratings in the US; 5. A fossilised "sea monster" unearthed on an Arctic island is the largest marine reptile known to science; 6. Police dogs in the German city of Dusseldorf are being trained to wear shoes to protect them against injuries from broken glass.

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