Panda cub falls from stage as 23 baby bears make their debut in China
A giant-panda breeding program has seen 23 cubs born in 2016, giving hope to the survival of the vulnerable species.
The bears made their public debut at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.
However, it appeared one curious cub was not content with being on display and attempted to make a run for it.
The photo opportunity has attracted global attention and is highlighting the conservation efforts of the research base.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the species from endangered to vulnerable in September this year.
"The improved status confirms that the Chinese Government's efforts to conserve this species are effective," the IUCN said.
The Chengdu Research Base has developed the world's largest artificial breeding population of captive giant pandas, recording 113 in existence, as a result of 20 years of conversation.
However, habitat loss remains the major threat faced by the giant panda.
Temperatures in the single digits did not stop New Yorkers from joining the No Pants Subway Ride, an annual prank that saw plenty of straphangers shedding bottom layers.
Participants — more than 1,000 locals were expected, organizers said — met up at seven locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, then rode together, sans pants. The global event, which originated in NYC in 2001, hit 32 cities this year.
A massive Australian fur seal that turned up on a suburban street in Tasmania, 50 kilometres from the ocean, and sat on a parked car is on its way back to the wild.
Dubbed "Lou-seal" by police, the wayward animal wandered into Penquite Road in the Launceston suburb of Newstead in the early hours of Boxing Day.
The adult male, estimated to weigh 200 kilograms, was first spotted about 5:45am in the middle of a road.
It scrambled onto a car parked in a driveway and then jumped on to another car parked behind it.
The seal was cordoned off by police while waiting for Parks and Wildlife officers to arrive, with people inside the house unable to leave for several hours.
William Gregory was staying at the Newstead home.
"We got up and there was this great big seal on the roof of the car which is definitely not what you'd expect on Boxing Day," he said.
"You kind of wake up and you wonder, is this really happening, am I really seeing this or am I still dreaming?
"It did this spectacular manoeuvre where it slid down the back of the first car and jumped onto bonnet of the second car and scrambled over the top of that."
Mr Gregory said Lou-seal caused only minor damage to both cars.
"We'll replace the windscreen and pop a few dents out, they're just old cars so it doesn't really matter. It's worth it," he said.
It was not the first time seals had been spotted in the area.
"A couple of long-term locals told me that it's happened a couple of times over the years," Mr Gregory said.
"There is a little estuary right behind our house so I imagine he's just swam out there ... and found himself out on the street."
Food, curiosity, hormones all prompt seals to roam
Parks and Wildlife staff tranquilised the hefty creature before moving it onto a trailer.
Wildlife biologist Rachel Alderman was not surprised Lou-Seal was out and about, given the large population of Australian fur seals in Tasmania.
"At this time of year, it's not unusual for us to locate fur seals in rather strange locations," she said.
"Most of the breeding colonies are up in Bass Strait ... so at this time of the year, all the seals are sort of congregating up in that neck of the woods.
Ms Alderman said it was unclear what the mammal was looking for.
"Seals are inquisitive and could have been following food," she said.
"In the past we've found seals in a range of unusual locations from paddocks to car parks to even last year we had to retrieve one from a toilet block in a cemetery."
Lou-Seal is sleeping off the sedative and will be released later at a beach in Tasmania's north-west.
Hopes insurer will give claim 'seal of approval'
Social media was quick to embrace Lou-seal, declared by one person on ABC 936's Facebook page to be an interesting hood ornament.
Others were contemplating the insurance claim.
"Hope the insurance gives their seal of approval for the claim," said Rachel Zavier d'Leon.
"Your bonnet got dents how?" said Kris Carr.
"I've seen some unusual bonnet ornaments but that one's ridiculous," Matt Lello posted.
MADRID, Dec 17 - More than 20,000 people dressed as Santa Claus raced through the center of Madrid on Saturday morning to raise money for sufferers of the disease multiple sclerosis.
Each person paid 15 euros ($15.67) to join the race along the Spanish capital's main Paseo de la Castellana avenue, running either 6 or 10 kilometers wearing the unusual running gear of a white billowy beard, Santa hat and red robe.
Children dressed as green elves joined parents in the race and some people even brought along their dogs, dressed in their own Santa garb.
A pub's Christmas display has proved a hit on social media with some dubbing it "Britain's most festive pub".
The Churchill Arms in Notting Hill, London, has been decorated with more than 20,000 lights and 90 trees inside and out.
The decorating took a dedicated team about a week and a half to complete and is still yet to be finished.
Landlord Gerry O'Brien has made lavish festive displays a tradition at the pub for more than 30 years.
Twitter users have been expressing their opinions of the pub.
One called @PaulBaldovin tweeted: "The Churchill Arms: Britain's most festive pub."
Another, @RichardABLS, tweeted he'd "found the most festive pub in London UK".
Mr O'Brien said: "We want to make the lights look better every year and it really does make a striking impression."
The decorations will be left up until mid-January when the baskets of flowers that usually cover its exterior will be returned.
( England)A PUB has branched out in a different direction after erecting a huge Christmas tree made entirely – from empties
It took a week to create and more than 1,000 bottles and the 16 feet high, shimmering glass tree at the Queen Victoria in Priddy, Somerset, looks smashing.
It was the brainchild of landlord Mark Walton who based it on wine tree he'd seen at a hotel he once stayed at.
And it was built by pub regular and local Bel Selway who used a metal frame as a base for the bottles.
Mr Walton was delighted with the result.
“We've had quite a reaction,” he said. “It's very unusual.
“Thanks to all those that helped in any way shape or form.
“Standing 16 feet high and built up of around 1000 bottles it's quite the spectacle.”
He added the bottles will be recycled when the tree is taken down and the frame will be used to grow vegetables.
“It's a green scheme,” he added.
Guinness World Records’ most prolific record breaker Ashrita Furman and members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre celebrated what would have been meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy’s 85th birthday by attempting to break the record for Most candles on a birthday cake.
A staggering 72,585 candles were lit and remained burning for about 40 seconds, ensuring that the previous record went up in flames.
Taking place at the Sri Chinmoy Centre in New York, a team of 100 people worked together to make the cake, individually place each candle and then light them with 60 blowtorches.
The sponge cake was filled with vanilla mousse and created in the shape of a huge rectangle measuring 80.5 ft long and 2 ft wide.There were far too many candles for anyone to blow out in the traditional manner, so the candles were put out with CO2 fire extinguishers (to ensure that the dessert was still edible afterwards).The wax was then scraped off and the party tucked into the enormous cake.
London's Tate Britain has celebrated the start of the festive season by hanging a Christmas tree upside down from its ceiling.
Created by artist Shirazeh Houshiary, the Christmas tree was unveiled today inside the gallery's Millbank building. It reimagines a similar piece she created for Tate over 20 yristmasears ago.
The work focuses on the pine tree's natural qualities – such as its texture, colour, smell and shape – while also highlighting its roots in gold leaf.
"I would like us to contemplate that the pine tree is one of the oldest species and recognise the roots are the source of its continued stability, nourishment and longevity," said the Iranian artist.
"As the roots remain hidden, it is best to seek what is hidden rather than what is apparent."
Tate formerly commissioned a contemporary artist to design its Christmas Tree every year since 1988 but paused the tradition when it commenced curuso 45 million renovation. Houshiary's tree is the first commission since.
It is suspended down the centre of the spiral staircase added by the Sterling Prize winning firm and reaches down towards the underground public spaces.
This placement allows viewers different views from each of the three gallery levels – the tip of the tree from the lower floor, the main body from the ground, and the golden roots from the upper floor.
Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said the unveiling marked a "pivotal moment" for the gallery.
"This tree fits the new space perfectly, allowing a different generation to experience the majesty of Houshiary's work in the striking setting of the new entrance and staircase," said Farquharson.
Elsewhere in London, Apple's Jonathan Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson have installed their own Christmas tree – an immersive "experience" in the lobby of Claridge's hotel.
A cat was found with his paws frozen in ice unable to move during harsh weather. A man and his wife went on a mission to save him.
The winter in the town of Zlatoust, Russia has been relentless. A man named Sergey Baranov discovered a cat whose paws were stuck in the ice.
He said the cat was trying to hide underneath his car to seek warmth, but the icy cold weather eventually froze his paws and wedged him in the snow. Baranov moved his car and got his wife, Yelena, to help him rescue the cat.
The fluffy feline was stuck in cold temperatures that were as low as -35C. A blanket of ice encased his fur coat and his whiskers were caked in frost.
Yelena immediately went to get a bucket of warm water to help defrost the ice while her husband stayed put to watch over the cat.
After several buckets of warm water, they were able to safely free his paws from the ice and quickly wrapped him up with a large blanket and brought him inside their house.
During the entire 10-minute rescue operation, the cat didn't make a sound as if he knew that they were trying to help.
"Always check what's under your cars before you start the engine!" Baranov said in the video.
"We called a vet who came right away and he did an anti-inflammatory shot. By the end of the day, the cat had started to walk," the couple told The Siberian Times. The vet determined the kitty to be seven to nine months old.
Three days after the rescue, the couple found a lady from their city who was happy to give their rescue cat a loving home. "The cat has now lived at her house for a week and she says he seems to be fine. He runs and jumps around."
The kitty's new human mom gave an update on her cat in a video.
His paws are fine, and they are keeping him indoors. The kitty seems to love his new home and likes to be held and cuddle with his mom.
Dubais crowning attraction is visible frommiles away: Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building, stands 160 stories above the ground, 950 feet higher than the World Trade Center in Manhattan. No matter where you are in Dubai, its hard to escape the gleaming, triple-sided steel-and-glass silhouette, looming over the city at night like a huge twinkling syringe.
The History of the Burj Khalifa
The needle-topped skyscraper first opened in 2010, though work on the project began much earlier, in 2004. A total of $1.5 billion was spent on construction, which might explain the rather lavish opening ceremony that first introduced Burj Khalifa to the world. On January 4, 2010, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoumpresented the tower in all its glory, underscoring the important role it would play in developing the destination as a high-traffic tourist destination. To mark the occasion, there was a 10-minute fireworks display, launched off the building itself.
Burj Khalifa Facts
Unlike any skyscraper the world had seen before, Burj Khalifa was a truly collaborative undertaking, requiring some 12,000 construction workers per day, who logged a collective 22 million man hours. Its foundations plummet 141 feet below ground. To keep the glass looking spic and span, a total of 18 automated units are installed on tracks on the side of the building; it takes up to four months to clean all 24,000 windows.
But its not just window cleaners who perform daring feats on the planets tallest building. In 2010, during filming of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise and the entire crew flew to Dubai to create memorable scenes of Cruise hanging, Tarzan-style, from the top of the Burj Khalifa. Cruise famously films all his own stunts, and for this particular sequence, the actor was required to leap out of a windowa mile and a half above Dubaiand then scramble vertically up the side of the glass tower, all while strapped in to various ropes and harnesses.
Due to the height and material makeup (aluminum and stainless steel) of Burj Khalifa, its often susceptible to powerful jolts from lightning. Over the years, countless photographers and videographers have captured dramatic images of the tower in mid-strikea spectacle more dazzling than any water fountain show or flashing billboard.
Though the skyscrapers exotic location is a considerable hike for US travelers, its inspiration can be found much closer to home. The design is actually based on a flower called the Spider Lily (Hymenocallis), which is native to southern states like Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas, as well as parts of the Mexico and South America. The delicate, star-shaped blossom thrives in humid, swampy climates, and can even be found sprouting up in the river valleys of southern Missouri and Indianaworlds away from the twinkling high rises of Dubai.
Originally posted by Alexiestls:
I think how negative or positive we feel can be controlled by our process of thoughts and actions we take, it's all about the mindset or the time needed to heal. Sometimes we just fall and can't stand up right away, and that's okay...I feel that quotes have the ability to enlighten a person and make them feel better. Thank you for sharing! Here's one I like:
"Honestly, I think we all have something we are working through. Something that has the potential to make us stronger. Being positive doesn't mean life is perfect, it's making a conscious choice to focus more on the good that exist." -- Kristen Butler
KANDHAMAL, India — Sampati Kahanra, a woman from the Kandha tribal people of eastern India, has a deep connection with the forest. From as long as she can remember, she has been walking in the dense greenery to find food, firewood and leaves. It started when she was a child going out with her mother, and now continues for her own home and three children. Up at dawn, Kahanra, 48, quickly finishes her chores and then with a few others, heads to the jungle. Together, the women forage for bhalia seeds (an indigenous wheat), tamarind, nutritive mahua flowers and, most important, huge siali leaves.
Back by noon with her collection, Kahanra sits down to stitch together homemade plates from the leaves. It is time-consuming work, and she gets tired sitting for long hours on the floor of her thatch-roof hut, binding the leaves together. But Kahanra knows that this work brings in much-needed money for her family.
Making plates from siali leaves is a tradition in India. Until last year, Kahanra made a pittance from the sale of plates to local traders, but today, thanks to an Indian-German venture that exports the biodegradable leaf plates internationally, Kahanra’s monthly income has grown 10 times, to the rupee equivalent of almost $45. As export of the plates has grown in recent years, three federations of self-help groups in the area are benefiting from this project, which has given a whole new meaning to this home-based work by tribal women.
“There was a time when we used to get 10 or 12 rupees [about 15 or 16 cents] for a bundle of 80 plates,” Kahanra said. “The money was not commensurate with the effort involved. But ever since I joined a self-help group, I have been able to secure a better price from the traders in the large market around five kilometers from here.”
A neighbor and fellow group member, Ashumati Kahanra, agreed, saying: “Fact is, that before we formed the self-help group we had no bargaining powers. Most of us were forced to accept the poor rates that the traders would offer us. Those days are well behind us.”
What changed the rules of engagement with traders was an intervention initiated by Vasundhara, a nonprofit research and policy advocacy group in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, where the women live. The group works on issues of environmental conservation and livelihood creation for the rural poor.
“We have been working to create awareness around the Forest Rights Act [of] 2006, among communities that depend on the forest for their sustenance,” said Manmohan Barik, the Vasundhara program officer in Kandhamal.
“[The forest act] enables them to set up and run enterprises using forest produce,” he said. “Tribal women like Sampati, Ashumati and many others have benefited immensely. Being part of a group has not only improved their income but has also enabled them to collect forest produce responsibly. They understand that if the forests survive, then so do they.”
The forest act puts the ownership rights of small-scale forest produce in the hands of the village and gives it the authority to issue permits that enable the transit and sale of products by local people. This has opened up possibilities for the tribal people to reach buyers directly. As a result, with the assistance of Vasundhara, 33 women from eight villages joined to set up a self-help group in 2015. “The forest is ours, and our livelihood is directly linked to the resources we can gather from it,” the women say.
“Siali is a vine that grows in abundance in a forest of sal trees,” said Rashmita Bindhani, 22, secretary of the local group and one of the few tribal women in the area who is educated. She handles the group’s accounts and negotiates with the traders.
“Its lush leaves are large and durable, and for generations we have used them to make plates and bowls for household use as well as to sell,” she said. “Earlier, we used go individually to the market to sell our wares, but nowadays the traders have started coming to us. Through our association with Vasundhara, we have learned a better technique of stitching the leaf plates.”
The partnership with the German company, Leaf Republic, which retails biodegradable tableware across the world, appealing to environmentally conscious buyers, has been the big game changer, said Chittaranjan Pani, the Vasundhara forest researcher and program coordinator.
“Leaf Republic’s India division, Bilotech Plant Materials Pvt. Ltd., was scouting for leaf-based biodegradable products when they got in touch with us,” Pani continued. “After several rounds of discussions, an agreement was signed last September between the women from the self-help groups in three districts and the Germans. Thereafter, we organized training programs to teach them an improved technique of stitching the plates so that they could deliver a quality product. So far, collectively, the women have supplied nearly one lakh [100,000] Siali leaf plates.”
Collecting and processing the leaves remains the same. After leaves are gathered, they are left to dry in the sun for around three days before the women sit down to sew. The one big difference is the stitch they use. “The training has definitely helped us,” Sampati Kahanra said. “We collect the better quality leaves and then make sturdier stitches so that the end product is up to standards.”
For these industrious tribal women, however, their relationship with the forest is not one-sided. They also believe in giving back. Putting things in perspective, Rambhabati Kanhara, another woman in the group, talks about the challenges they face.
“Bad weather conditions are playing havoc with our forest,” she said. “A few months ago, during the summer season, a fire broke out in the siali forests nearby, and we all suffered huge losses. The erratic rains, too, bring their own set of problems. For instance, the humidity is perfect for caterpillars and other insects to thrive. They spoil the leaves. If we have to continue to derive our livelihood from the trees, then we have to find a way to protect them.”
To save their forest, the women’s group in the Kandhamal district, where Sampati Kahanra lives and works, has decided to take some important steps. “We are going to start planting more saplings in the forest and also keep an eye on who all are accessing the forest produce, so that there is no indiscriminate exploitation,” she said. The group plans to set up a warehouse where the women can come to make the products and store them safely.
“In this way,” she added, “we will ensure that there is minimal wastage, which will positively impact the forest as we will not unnecessarily keep going back for more leaves.”
Pani of Vasundhara noted: “As eco-friendly products gain ground nationally and internationally, it creates a win-win situation for all. That’s because while this gives forest dwellers a fighting chance at building a better life for themselves, instinctively these communities are bound to defend their habitat.”
(Thailand) Leonardo the African spurred turtle was rescued from a Bangkok zoo in 2013, while Simon came in January after getting his leg seriously injured. The poor cow was with his mom when he got caught in the vines. Part of one of his hind legs had fallen off due to the accident, and the rescue center got him a prosthetic to help him walk. “We decided to house him temporarily in a large open field enclosure within the WFFT Rescue Center where he could recover from his ordeal,” WFFT wrote. “We had then planned to move him into a field where we house two other rescued cows.”
But then the unlikely thing happened – baby cow met the giant tortoise and they became best friends. “To the surprise of us all Simon the cow has formed a strong bond with the large tortoise Leonardo,” WFFT writes.
Staff says that the two are inseparable: “They are often seen following each other around, sharing meals and resting together. We hope this unusual friendship continues to flourish.”
Simon the cow came into the sanctuary after getting his leg seriously injured when it got caught in the vines
Leonardo, the African spurred turtle, was rescued from a Bangkok zoo
In the sanctuary, the unlikely thing happened – baby cow met the giant tortoise…
…and they became best friends!
“To the surprise of us all, Simon the cow has formed a strong bond with the large tortoise Leonardo”
Staff says that the two are inseparable
Scorpions - We bulit this house
Bon Jovi - House not for sale
Steven Tyler - Red wine and you
Myrath - Believers
Ghost - Square hammer
Megadeth - Conquer or die
Amon Amarth - Raise your horns
Pain - A Wannabe
Metallica - Moth into flame
Sonata Arctica - We are what we are
DNCE - Toothbrush
Pussycatdolls - Buttons
New Empire - A little braver
The Venonicas - Untouched
Hailee Seinfeld - Starving
Hey dude, what song are you listening to now??