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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Twenty Things: Did You Know...?

World's oldest clove tree
The world's oldest clove tree/Peter van Eijk 2012

  1. Egypt's American-backed presidency declared a state of emergency after scores of people were killed when security forces stormed protest camps in Cairo, while a veteran Sky News cameraman has been shot and killed covering the violence. Egypt's interior ministry has now authorised police to use live ammunition in attacks against them.
  2. A Tennessee court has banned a couple from naming their son Messiah, saying that only Jesus Christ "earned" that name. (The ruling was overturned a month later.)
  3. A Missouri State Fair rodeo clown has been banned for life for wearing a mask in the likeness of President Barack Obama mask in a mocking comedy act. During the clown's act fans were asked whether they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull".
  4. The mother of the murdered London teenager Stephen Lawrence - who was killed in a racially aggravated attack in 1993 - is to be made a Labour peer.
  5. A two-year-old child has been verbally abused via baby cam.
  6. A US gun safety teacher has shot his own student.
  7. The Scottish police force has apologised for an abusive tweet sent from its account during a debate about abusive messages on Twitter.
  8. There has been a 50% rise in the use of drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in six years.
  9. A surge of electrical activity in the brain could be responsible for the vivid experiences described by near-death survivors, scientists report.
  10. A US-based entrepreneur has unveiled his proposed near-supersonic "Hyperloop" transport concept to link Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  11. There are plans to build a bridge across the Irish Sea.
  12. The world's oldest clove tree is called Afo.
  13. Eating at least one portion of oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel, a week can halve the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, experts believe.
  14. A test of famous faces may help to spot early dementia.
  15. The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet.
  16. Happy workers tend to be more productive.
  17. What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology.
  18. Bert and Ernie, the inseparable Muppet odd couple from Sesame Street, have been seen by many as gay icons for years.
  19. There is an old adage from the American gothic politics of Louisiana: it is possible to survive anything other than waking up with a dead woman or live boy.
  20. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said that he decided to step down and transfer power to his younger brother because he was diagnosed with a fatal illness in 2006.

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