Happy Hump Day News: Wine Windows and Boar Necessities

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In what can only be described as a tumultuous week on our planet, during which we witnessed disaster in Beirut, we’ve sought out some examples of compassion and kindness that remind us of the good still left in the world.

For example, in the wake of the explosion in the Lebanese capital, volunteers have opened their homes to people who have lost theirs, helped the elderly and vulnerable move out of dangerous buildings, and rescued people trapped beneath rubble. A nurse managed to carry three premature babies for an hour until she got to safety and a plastic surgeon is offering free treatment to those disfigured by the blast.

Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs


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In the UK, one in six people over the age of eighty have dementia, however there is still no cure, and it is one of the most underfunded areas of research. Recently however, there have been two promising developments regarding Alzheimer’s disease. Firstly, it’s thought that an asthma drug may prevent the formation of the specific protein that can cause Alzheimer’s, and secondly, a blood test could detect the disease up to twenty years before the first signs start to show. While the research is still in its early stages, these revelations offer some welcome hope for those affected by the devastating disease. 

Cast Aways


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It might sound like a story from a novel or a film, but three sailors were successfully rescued from a small Micronesian island after they wrote a giant SOS in the sand. A helicopter flying from Canberra in Australia stopped on the island to give the men food and water, before a Micronesian rescue ship was dispatched to pick up the trio. The uninhabited Pikelot Island is less than 500 metres long and is home to seabirds and turtles. 

Happy Feet


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Satellite images have revealed that there are 11 previously unknown colonies of emperor penguins living Antarctica, bringing the total number of known colonies up to 61. While this is fantastic news for animal lovers, the emperor penguin is the only species that breeds on sea ice rather than land, which puts them in particular danger with regards to global warming. Save the planet, save the pinguinos! 

Sunflower Power


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A boy in Hertfordshire challenged his Dad to grow a sunflower taller than their house, and it’s safe to say that he certainly rose to the challenge! Douglas Smith from Stanstead Abbotts bought the seed from a man in North America who grew a sunflower to a whopping height of 26 feet and 8 inches. Smith has spent four months lovingly nurturing his own sunflower, which now stands at a height of around 21 feet, and is undoubtedly taller than the family’s home. The sunflower is thought to be the tallest in the country at the moment, but it hasn’t yet broken the record for the UK’s tallest ever – this was grown by Richard Hope in 2012 and was 26 feet. 

Whale Hello Again


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Two 12-year-old beluga whales have been successfully transported from Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai to a sanctuary in Iceland, where they can live the rest of their lives freely. Little Grey and Little White made the 30-hour voyage across the world to Heimaey island aided by Britain’s Sea Life Trust, and it is now possible to take boat trips into the bay to admire the new residents from a respectable distance. 


A budding 10-year-old treasure hunter in Northern Ireland struck, well, metal, while using a brand new detector that he got for his birthday. Fionntan Hughes uncovered a rusted sword with an ornate basket hilt that is believed to date from the 17th century and most likely belonged to an English officer because of its rather fancy design. Meanwhile, in the Scottish borders, another amateur treasure hunter unearthed Bronze Age artefacts including horse harnesses and a sword dating from 1000 to 900 BC!

Three Times Lucky

Lightening rarely strikes in the same place twice, and people hardly ever win the lottery a second time. But what about hitting the jackpot three times? A miner in Tanzania who found two huge pieces of rough Tanzanite and sold them for over £2.4m earlier this year has happened across another incredible haul of one of the world’s rarest gemstones. He sold his latest discovery for £1.5m, and he plans to build a school and a health facility for his community – what a gem!



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It takes a lot to stop an Italian from enjoying fine wine – more than a pandemic, it seems. Wine windows were invented in the 17th century during the bubonic plague to allow drinks to be served from a safe distance. They are now being used once again to sell everything from coffee and ice cream to Aperol cocktails. The Italians do it better, after all – especially when it comes to drinking and dining. 

And finally…

There were more animal antics in Berlin this week, when a bold boar ran off with a nudist’s bag, which contained his laptop – thus prompting a comedic chase to ensue! The bare bather took it all in good humour (once he’d retrieved his belongings), and allowed the images of him tearing after the boar to be made public – what a hero!


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