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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Twenty Things: Did You Know...?

Summer solstice celebrations
Stonehenge crowds for summer solstice as hot weather rises/PA.

News nuggets picked from the press.

  1. A white extremist drove a van into worshippers close to Muslim Welfare House in London's Finsbury Park as they were gathered to help an elderly man who had collapsed. An imam stopped some of the crowd from attacking the suspect.
  2. A car deliberately hit a police van before bursting into flames in the Champs Élysé area of central Paris, while Belgian soldiers have shot a man suspected of being a would-be suicide bomber at Brussels Central Station, officials say.
  3. Russia has warned the US-led coalition fighting in Syria that it will view its aircraft as targets, after a Syrian military plane was shot down - believed to be the first air-to-air kill by a manned US aircraft since 1999.
  4. Police in the US state of Virginia have found the remains believed to be of a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was assaulted near a mosque before disappearing.
  5. Russia's "gay propaganda" law is discriminatory and encourages homophobia, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.
  6. Two people have been found guilty of murdering a vulnerable man who was tortured for months and forced to eat his own testicle.
  7. There has been two fatal maulings by a black bear in only two days in Alaska. Fatal black bear attacks against humans are quite rare, however, as around 90% of deaths by bears in Alaska are caused by brown bears or grizzlies.
  8. A court in Algeria has sentenced a man to two years in prison for dangling a baby out of a window in order to attract "likes" on Facebook.
  9. Twelve people survived one of Portugal's deadliest fires by seeking refuge in a water tank after access to their village was cut off by the blaze.
  10. For only the second time in 24 years, the US has been edged out of the world's top most powerful supercomputers.
  11. The body of a man in search of treasure hidden by a millionaire antiques dealer and worth $2m (1.5m) has been found in New Mexico's Rio Grande River. Forrest Fenn hid the chest in 2010 and wrote a poem he claimed led to the treasure.
  12. A 19th Century violin has been taken out of a collection of historic instruments held by Oxford University and sent to a young Christian Syrian musician living as a refugee.
  13. Coffee drinkers could face poorer-tasting, higher-priced brews, as a warming climate causes the amount of land suitable for coffee production to shrink, say scientists.
  14. The UK is close to matching a sizzling June run not seen in two decades, while Royal Ascot has relaxed its dress code, where women are not allowed to expose their shoulders, by letting racegoers remove jackets for the first time in the event's history due to very hot conditions. Elsewhere as temperatures climb in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights have been cancelled - because it is too hot for the planes to fly.
  15. UK retailer Marks and Spencer is paring back its fruit and veg labelling to be more environmentally friendly, replacing stickers with laser-markings.
  16. Eating dog is an old tradition in Chinese culture, where dog meat is said to be beneficial during the hot summer months.
  17. The domestic cat is descended from wild cats that were tamed twice - in the Near East and then Egypt, according to the largest study of its kind. Today, cats live on all continents except Antarctica.
  18. Toymaker Mattel has launched new versions of Barbie's "boyfriend" Ken in three body sizes: "slim, broad and original".
  19. Men who delay starting a family are more likely to have "geekier" sons, a study suggests.
  20. Oscar-winning actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, who starred in There Will Be Blood and Lincoln, has retired.

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