Odd News Roundup: Bali beach releases endangered Indonesian turtles back to ocean; Italy's sewers will give early alert for future COVID spikes and more
Authorities ordered on Tuesday 2,000 hamsters from dozens of pet shops and storage facilities to be culled after tracing a coronavirus outbreak to a worker in the Little Boss petshop, where 11 hamsters subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. British-Belgian teen becomes youngest woman to fly solo round the world A British-Belgian teenager became the youngest woman to fly solo around the globe on Thursday and the first person to do it in a microlight plane after a five-month, five-continent odyssey in her Shark ultralight.
Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
Thousands in Hong Kong volunteer to adopt hamsters amid COVID-19 fears
Thousands of people in Hong Kong volunteered on Wednesday to adopt unwanted hamsters after a mass cull order from the government over COVID-19 fears raised alarm that panicky owners would abandon their pets. Authorities ordered on Tuesday 2,000 hamsters from dozens of pet shops and storage facilities to be culled after tracing a coronavirus outbreak to a worker in the Little Boss petshop, where 11 hamsters subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
British-Belgian teen becomes youngest woman to fly solo round the world
A British-Belgian teenager became the youngest woman to fly solo around the globe on Thursday and the first person to do it in a microlight plane after a five-month, five-continent odyssey in her Shark ultralight. Nineteen-year-old Zara Rutherford landed back at Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport in Belgium after flying 51,000 km (32,000 miles) over 52 nations https://flyzolo.com/route since her Aug. 18 departure in the world's fastest microlight aircraft.
Horses jump bonfires as Spain's purification ceremony returns after pandemic break
About a hundred horses jumped through bonfires in a purification ceremony on Sunday during the Spanish festival of "Las Luminarias", which was held for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional nighttime celebration takes place in San Bartolome de Pinares every Jan. 16, the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, Spain's patron saint of animals.
Bali beach releases endangered Indonesian turtles back to ocean
A batch of 40 turtle hatchlings waddled towards the sea in Indonesia on Thursday as part of a release on a beach on the country's most popular resort island of Bali. The turtles, of the olive ridley and hawksbill species, were rescued from Bali beaches and a local conservation group has been urging volunteers to take part in their release, hoping to boost awareness of the need to protect endangered species.
'Touch and go' for rare twin baby elephants born in Kenya
Suckled by their mother Bora and guarded by a watchful male, rare new-born twin baby elephants ingested nourishment that conservationists hope will enable them to survive a perilous start to life in a Kenyan safari park. As yet unnamed, the pair were born this week in the Samburu National Reserve, becoming only the second set of twin calves ever encountered by local charity Save the Elephants.
You caught me: Pope congratulates reporter who saw him at record shop
Pope Francis has congratulated the reporter who caught him visiting old friends who run a Rome record shop this week, joking that it was his "bad luck" that the news got out. The visit on Tuesday night was to have remained secret but Javier Martinez-Brocal of the Rome Reports television news agency was in the area in central Rome by chance. He filmed it with his smart phone, posted it on Twitter, and it went viral.
Avatar robot goes to school for ill German boy
Joshua Martinangeli, 7, is too ill to go to school. But the German student can still interact with his teacher and classmates through an avatar robot that sits in class in his place and sends a blinking signal when he has something to say. "The children talk to him, laugh with him and sometimes even chitchat with him during the lesson. Joshi can do that quite well, too," Ute Winterberg, headmistress at the Pusteblume-Grundschule in Berlin, told Reuters in an interview.
Italy's sewers will give early alert for future COVID spikes
Italy will use the nation's sewage to predict future coronavirus spreads and to alert authorities to rising cases and new variants before they appear in testing and hospitals, a senior official said, announcing a project to be launched in coming months. The new tool will be rolled out as governments look for new ways to track the virus to inform public health policy and to decide whether they have to take unpopular measures like restrictions that disrupt people's lives and economies.
(With inputs from agencies.)