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  1. A Catholic school in Australia has covered up a statue of a saint giving a loaf of bread to a boy after complaints that it was too suggestive. The statue of St. Martin de Porres at Blackfriars Priory School in suburban Adelaide shows the bread being held at crotch level as the smiling boy gazes up with a hand reaching for the loaf. “The two-dimensional concept plans for the statue were viewed and approved by the Executive Team in May but upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the Executive to be potentially suggestive,” principal Simon Cobiac said in an apology posted on Facebook. The statue was made in Vietnam, but a local sculptor has been hired to redesign it. Photos posted online show the statue first covered in a dark shroud, then placed behind a black fence. Full article
  2. United Nations officials have released a video showing the moment a North Korean soldier dramatically defected to the South. The video, captured last week by the UN Command, shows the moment the soldier drives to the border and runs from his vehicle before North Korean men open fire. He then collapses on the ground south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two nations. It is the first time UN Command, led by the United States, has released video of a defection, Hochong Song, a public affairs officer for US Forces Korea, told CNN. A UN Command spokesperson, Col. Chad G. Carroll, said at a briefing that North Korea had violated the ceasefire, part of the armistice agreed after the 1950–53 war, because the nation's soldiers had fired across the DMZ. The 24-year-old man, whose surname is believed to be Oh, was rescued by three South Korean soldiers and is now recuperating in Ajou University Hospital, Suwon. "The patient is clearly conscious," Lee Cook-jong, the surgeon treating him, told Yonhap News in a press briefing. "The patient is suffering severe psychological stress and melancholy due to gunshot wounds and two major surgeries." Full article and video
  3. A mysterious cloud of radioactive material that hovered over Europe last month came from Russia, Russian weather monitoring data released today (Nov. 21) suggests. The spike in radioactivity was caused by a substance called ruthenium-106. But what, exactly, is ruthenium-106, does it pose risks to human health and how did it get into the air? History of radioactive cloud Member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an international organization that promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy, detected the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 hovering above 14 European countries in early October, according to a statement from France's Nuclear Safety Authority. Based on radioactivity levels across the continent, experts suspected the origin was somewhere in Russia. Russia denied a nuclear accident occurred. Today, however, the Russian Meteorological Service said it detected "extremely high contamination" with ruthenium-106 above the southern Ural Mountains in September. In Argayash, levels of ruthenium-106 were 986 times normal levels in late September, according to Rosgidromet, the weather monitoring service. Nuclear-fuel byproduct Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope of ruthenium, meaning it has a different number of neutrons than the naturally occurring form of the element. The hard, white metal is chemically similar to platinum, and can be produced by dissolving platinum in nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Ruthenium is incredibly rare and was discovered in 1844 in the Ural Mountains, Live Science previously reported. Ruthenium-106, however, is not found naturally, according to France's Nuclear Safety Authority. Instead, it is typically produced by the nuclear fission, or splitting, of uranium-235 atoms in nuclear reactors. Ruthenium-106 is also often produced during the reprocessing of nuclear fuel. Nuclear reprocessing involves separating the radioactive plutonium and uranium from spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power reactors, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Ruthenium-106 is also used in head and eye radiation cancer treatments, according to the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry. It is also found in trace levels in satellites, as part of their thermoelectric generators, according to the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), a French institute focusing on radiological and nuclear risks. High doses of ruthenium are toxic and carcinogenic when ingested. The material is strongly retained in the bones. However, the levels detected over the past two months seem to be safe, according to the IRSN. "The concentration levels of ruthenium-106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no consequence for human health and for the environment," the IRSN said in a statement. While food might be contaminated with ruthenium for several miles around the epicenter of the nuclear release, the chance that contaminated food will be exported is also low, the IRSN said. Likely source The radioactive cloud didn't contain any other nuclear waste products, ruling out the possibility that the spike came directly from a nuclear reactor, according to the French Nuclear Safety Authority. Given that ruthenium-106 has no natural source and no one reported fallen satellites in the region, the likeliest source for the toxic cloud is an uncontrolled release of nuclear material, the Nuclear Safety Authority said. Full article
  4. Twenty Georgia shelter dogs don’t have permanent homes yet, but that won’t stop them from celebrating Thanksgiving in style. Lifeline Animal Project, a nonprofit that runs multiple shelters in the Atlanta area, launched its first annual “Home for the Pawlidays” program this year. For the week surrounding Thanksgiving, the 20 dogs are staying “as special guests in people’s homes,” spokeswoman Karen Hirsch told “Today.” Lifeline provides food and supplies for the short-term foster homes during the week. “We chose the dogs who had either been at the shelter the longest or who needed a break from the stress of the shelter the most,” Hirsch told HuffPost in an email. “All the dogs we chose are good candidates, because they adore people.” As of Wednesday, the program was already a smashing success. “[The dogs] are going on walks in parks, visiting dog-friendly patios, and cuddling up with their foster parents,” Hirsch said. At least one woman told the shelter she had “fallen in love” with her canine guest, and Hirsch suspected some of the families might end up adopting the dogs for good, or at least agreeing to foster them longer-term. The program is part of a growing trend of short-term foster opportunities for shelter pets, which some animal welfare experts believe help de-stress shelter pets and improve their quality of life. Virginia’s Richmond Animal Care and Control, for instance, has run a similar Thanksgiving program for the past three years. And in 2015, the placement coordinator for Virginia’s Fairfax County Animal Shelter told HuffPost that she’d personally seen how weekend fostering ― the practice of an animal going to a home over a weekend ― transformed one of the shelter’s dogs from a nervous wreck to a relaxed, happy animal. Full article
  5. A bemused Amazon customer has been left scratching his head after ordering a roll of bubblewrap - only for it to arrive boxed and packaged in 100FT of brown paper. Paul Jacobs, 42, bought the protective wrap to cover a plant during the winter and couldn’t believe his eyes when it turned up on his doorstep. Not only had the 100ft squashy roll been placed in a large cardboard box, it was encased in enough brown paper to cover the dad-of-two’s back garden. Paul, from Gosport in Hants, said: “At first I thought they’d sent me the wrong order because the box was so heavy. “Given that bubblewrap’s main purpose is packaging, it would usually be delivered in a bag with a label stuck on. “But when I opened it, I realised why it weighed so much - my roll was wrapped in sheet upon sheet of brown paper. “I laid it all out and it measured 100ft, which was the same length as my bubblewrap. It almost covered my entire lawn.” Paul logged onto Amazon and bought his bubblewrap after seeing that a frost had been forecast. Paul added: “Obviously Amazon is known for going a bit overboard when it comes to packaging, but this was just ridiculous given what the item was - I almost wonder if someone was having a bit of fun. Full article
  6. If Eve Paterson ever wants to use this driving licence as ID, she might have some explaining to do. It isn’t fake – but something definitely isn’t quite right about it. Her address is given as ‘My dad’s house’ – as whoever typed in the data obviously didn’t realise the problem. That’s not an official address… Eve, 18, was amazed when she got the card back from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and posted a photo of it online. ‘I’ve had to update my licence and accidently wrote ‘My dad’s house’ on it,’ she said. ‘Why? So stupid!’ With most of the image blurred out, the teenager’s address, seen on the eighth line of the licence, reads ‘MY DADS HOUSE’ followed by the rest of her address printed normally. The tweet has gone viral, with over 1,100 retweets and nearly 7,500 likes, with many social media users commenting. ‘Hahaha easy mistake to make,’ Jack Stevenson wrote. ‘Am pi****g myself – you’re no right,’ Rachy Crossan said. @gfulton72 commented: ‘Aye and the DVLA were just sound with it and thought that was your actual address.’ Earlier this year, research from comparethemarket.com that 1.5 million drivers in the UK have incorrect address information on their licence, meaning they could face a penalty of £1,000. Full article
  7. How nurses in a neo-natal unit reacted to an earthquake

    An incredible video shows how nurses rushed to protect the babies on their neonatal ward during an earthquake. When the hospital started to shake, their first instinct might have been to run away to get outside. But CCTV shows how they rushed to secure the cots, holding them together to try and protect them. They then pick up the babies and put them in a special harness, to take them outside safely. ‘I love how they don’t waste time protecting those children. Nurses are real life superheroes,’ one user commented on Reddit. Another added: ‘Exactly. i Don’t care if it’s part of their job. No hesitation whatsoever to protect the babies. ‘I mean, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living – self-preservation will still kick in. Full article and video
  8. A driver who blocked in a business with their "thoughtless" parking was given a harsh lesson when a forklift trucker picked up his hatchback and moved it across the street. Mechanic Raja Rahim who works nearby spotted the dilemma and decided to film as two men got to work. Rather than waiting for the owner, the 40-year-old was stunned when the duo 'solved' the problem and proceeded to pick up the Toyota Yaris and neatly positioning it into a space on the opposite side of the road. Dad-of-five Raja admits it was probably for the best that he didn't stay long enough to see the reaction of the commuter who returned to find their car mysteriously moved. Raja said: "I think it's hilarious. It's just so funny. The guy asked me if it was my car and if I could get it moved but I told him it wasn't. "Half an hour passed then somebody just came with a forklift from the other entrance. Then they just picked it up and placed it over on the other side." Raja thinks that the commuter may have been attempting to dodge parking fares in Birmingham city centre. Raja said: "We're really close to the city centre and people don't like paying for parking. "I just thought it was quite funny to be honest. We have customers who park next to next door's shutters. We tell them not to but they do it every day. Full article and video
  9. Blue eyes have historically been a significant measure of attractiveness, and although they’re commonly found among actors and models, only 17% of the global population has them. For the majority of people, approximately 80% of the population, blue eyes have been attainable only with the aid of colored contact lenses or artificial iris implants. But that will soon change with the introduction of a new medical procedure, pioneered by California company Stroma Medical, that can turn brown eyes blue. The laser procedure works by eliminating the melanin -, the pigment that also colors hair and skin – from the surface of the iris, which then allows light to enter and scatter in the stroma, the fibers seen in light-colored eyes. The effect is similar to Rayleigh scattering, in which wavelengths of sunlight hit much smaller molecules in the air and then scatter, which makes the atmosphere appear blue. “The fundamental principle is that under every brown eye is a blue eye,” Dr. Gregg Homer told CNN, adding that there is no actual blue pigmentation in the eye. “The only difference between a brown eye and a blue eye is this very thin layer of pigment on the surface. If you take that pigment away, then the light can enter the stroma — the little fibers that look like bicycle spokes in a light eye – and when the light scatters it only reflects back the shortest wavelengths, and that’s the blue end of the spectrum.” The laser treatment disrupts the fragile layer of pigment on the iris, which causes the body to start removing the tissue naturally. While the procedure itself only takes around 20 seconds, the blue eyes do not emerge for several weeks, as the body can only gradually release the pigment. “It’s difficult to work out a way to injure someone with this laser because the energy is so low,” Homer said. The laser only treats the iris and does not enter any part of the eye where the nerves affecting the vision are located. Stroma Medical aspires to develop the safest, cheapest, and most convenient procedure available on the market, but it has yet to gain approval from the regulatory bodies in the United States. The company’s medical board has stated that preliminary studies show that the surgery is safe, but so far only 37 patients altogether have undergone the treatment. 17 patients were in Mexico and the remaining 20 in Costa Rica. The company is currently in the fundraising stage as it searches for investors, but hopes to have completed clinical trials within a few years. Currently, the price to change brown eyes blue stands at a relatively high amount of $5,000 (USD). The medical industry, ophthalmologists in particular, has not been particularly receptive to the procedure, . The skepticism is based on the fact that eyes are one of the most sensitive organs in the human body, and that the procedure is irreversible. Full article
  10. Google admits Android phones have been sending it location data for the past year—but Android users shouldn’t go out and buy a new iPhone just yet. According to Google, the data wasn’t stored and was deleted as soon as it was received, but the admission still raises questions of privacy and security. Quartz first discovered in January that Android phones were sending Google the rough location information of nearby cell towers. Most concerning is that the info was sent from smartphones that have location services turned off. When confronted by Quartz, Google admitted the alarming practice. It claimed to have started tracking cell towers for a now-abandoned feature that was designed to enhance data speeds. All models of Android phones and tablets sent the data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. Even if they didn’t have a SIM card and weren’t connected, these devices would transmit the data the next time they were in the range of Wi-Fi. A factory reset would reportedly not prevent the location tracking. “In January of this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery,” a Google spokesperson told Quartz. “However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID.” If Google had collected the data, it could have used the location of multiple cell towers to track a phone’s location to within a quarter mile radius. Regardless, the sketchy behavior raises serious security concerns for people who don’t want their location to be tracked. An update to remove the location-tracking feature will be released by the end of this month. Google didn’t say whether it planned to stop receiving the data before its behavior was made public. Full article
  11. Elon Musk teases rocket-powered flying roadster

    Elon Musk surprised us on Thursday, unveiling a second-generation Roadster at Tesla’s electric semi-truck event. The sports car has already generated a lot of buzz in the auto industry for its record-breaking performance specs. Its max speed of over 250mph and 0-to-60 time of 1.9 seconds make it the fastest production vehicle ever. If that wasn’t surprising enough, those numbers apply to the base model Roadster. Now we have a better idea of what Musk has planned for future high-performance models. The eccentric CEO teased an upgraded Roadster with a limited ability to fly using “rocket tech.” Yes, we’re still talking about a street legal car here, not a project from Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX. The business magnate says a Roadster capable of flying “short hops” is “certainly possible” but stresses its viability comes down to safety. The tweet lies in contrast to Musk’s previous statements about flying cars. In April, he took a swipe at Uber’s flying car project. “Obviously, I like flying things. But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution,” he said. Musk has a mixed record of staying true to his word. Full article
  12. Ja Du, a transgender white person from New Orleans, also claims to be transracial and identifies as Filipino. Du was born Adam Wheeler and grew up loving Filipino food and culture -- so much so Du now identifies as Filipino, even driving a purple motorized rickshaw Du called a Tuk Tuk, an Asian-derived vehicle used for public transit in the Philippines. “Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” Du told WTSP. “I’d watch the history channel sometimes for hours, you know, whenever it came to that and, you know, nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture.” The comments make Du a member of a small, but growing, community of people who consider themselves transracial -- meaning to be born one race but identify with another. Perhaps the most famous person to identify as transracial is Rachael Dolezal, the former president of the Spokane, Wash. chapter of the NAACP. Dolezal made headlines in 2015 when it was revealed she was born white, but identified as black and portrayed herself as such. “I think things that made no sense to most people make sense to us on an individual level in almost every person, like a swelling feeling you feel when you listen to dramatic music,” Du told the Huffington Post. “It’s all sound and vibration but something in it relates to your soul on such a subconscious level that you connect with it, and [that’s] how I feel about the Filipino culture.” Many members of the Filipino-American community, however, are not pleased, with some even expressing outrage at Du’s assertion, saying Du is overlooking the hundreds of years of struggle Filipinos have endured. “For Filipinos, who don’t have the luxury of making the decision to identify as another race in a society where whiteness as a default places real constraints about how people of color can decide to move in the world, this smacks of white privilege in the worst way,” Ben de Guzman, an executive committee member of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, told Huffington Post, adding some of Du’s references are not authentic. He said Filipinos more commonly refer to motorized rickshaws as “trisikels” not “Tuk Tuks,” a description used more commonly by the Taiwanese community. In a video commentary, Filipino-American journalist Jackie Fernandez said Du’s comments highlight the “thin line between cultural appreciation and appropriation being crossed.” Full article
  13. Britain’s National Trust has told Santa Claus to get back on his sleigh and get out of town, or at least out of the organization’s famous estates and homes. He’s too American. But the agency, which runs more than 300 historic buildings including homes, castles and forts, is keeping the jolly elf. They just want its events to use the proper British name of Father Christmas instead. The Evening Standard said someone at the Trust accidentally emailed internal guidance on the matter to several members of the press. “Can you change ‘Santa’ to ’Father Christmas?‘” the email said. “I know you’ve used ‘FC’ later on, but National Trust guidance is never to use Santa.” Some U.K. media outlets called it a “Santa ban,” but the organization said that’s not the case at all. “Contrary to any speculation, the National Trust is not looking to ban Santa, Saint Nick or Santa Claus,” The Telegraph quoted a spokesperson as saying. “We recognize the gift-giving, jolly man with the beard goes by many names all over the world, but we try to stick to one, and for many years that has been Father Christmas.” Along with being more British, Father Christmas is also more in tune with the upper-class nature of the Trust’s properties. Full article
  14. The untimely death of a 20-year-old video game streamer from China who used to play an insanely popular online game for 9 hours straight every night recently brought the addictive nature of video games into debate. “Lonely King” was one of the most successful streamers of “King of Glory”, an incredibly successful mobile game with 200 million monthly active players. The 20-year-old reportedly had over 170,000 fans on his streaming platform, and used to showcase his gaming sessions for many hours on end, every single day. Lonely King’s last live playing session occurred on November 2nd, after which he simply disappeared. Used to watching his live streams at least once every 24 hours, Lonely King’s fans started speculating about his well-being several days after noticing his continued absence. Many of them anticipated that he might have succumbed to exhaustion, seeing as he had drastically altered his video game playing schedule – streaming from midnight to 9 in the morning, every night – since July. According to CNR (Chinese), on November 11th, Lonely King’s family posted a message on his social media pages, confirming that the 20-year-old had passed away after his last streaming session. Although the official cause of death has not yet been made public, both the media and Lonely King’s fans speculated that the popular gamer died as a result of his exhausting streaming schedule. The young man’s death made news headlines in China, even prompting an official statement from a popular streaming platform urging users to put their health first. Interestingly, this is not the first time that King of Glory, a MOBA-style games similar to League of Legends or DOTA, has been accused of posing serious health risks to its users. Back in August, Chinese state media reported that a 17-year-old gamer from Guangdong had suffered a type for stroke after playing the game for 40 hours straight. Last month, we also wrote about a young woman who had suffered retinal artery obstruction in her right eye, after playing the game on her smartphone almost non-stop during China’s Golden Week holiday. Even the Chinese government expressed concern about the impact that King of Glory may have on youth, especially young soldiers. Full article
  15. An off-duty police officer shot dead two robbery suspects while holding his own baby in his arms. Sergeant Rafael Souza was in a Brazillian pharmacy buying medicines on Saturday with his wife and child when armed robbers burst in. Jefferson Alves, 24, is thought to have then pointed his gun at the sergeant, who identified himself as policeman. Dramatic CCTV footage shows Sergeant Souza shoot one hooded man at close range as his young child clings to his waist in Bifarma, São Paulo state. He hands over the baby to his partner, who is covering her ears with her hands and screaming, before racing out in hot pursuit of the other raider. The video shortly cuts out but it is believed he shot the other gunman. Local media named him as Italo Creato, 22. Sergeant Souza, of the 49th Metropolitan Battalion, said he shot at the men because he thought they would have opened fire first. Full article and video