Chinese Woman Performs Operation On Herself

Wu Yuanbi, a 53-year-old woman, from Chongqing, China, has recently performed operation on herself, In what sounds like an online surgical technology class gone awry, is actually a despairing depiction of the state of medical provisions for those in rural China….

Wu, who works as a migrant worker, has been suffering from a persistent condition known as Budd-Chiari syndrome, for the last 13 years. This causes her stomach to slowly fill up with large quantities of fluid, rendering her unable to work and making it difficult to perform even the most simple tasks. Back in 2002, Wu and her family used all their life savings to pay for a medical procedure in which doctors removed 25 liters of fluid from her stomach. Unfortunately, a relapse of the condition followed, and the woman found herself in need of a second surgery. However, she and her family were too poor to pay the 50,000 yuan ($7,686) fee, so Wu Yuanbi was forced to do something really shocking.

One day, after her husband, Cao Yunhui, left for work, the woman slit her stomach open with a kitchen knife, frantic to relieve the pressure that had built up inside. She had to bear unbearable pain for several hours, until her husband came home and found her lying in a pool of yellow fluid and intestines. She was at once rushed to the hospital with a 10 cm-long cut across her stomach, and saved by the medical staff. Wu later said “If I had passed away, I would have at least spared my family the trouble of looking after me.”

After all the media coverage, Wu Yuanbi is at present being treated free of charge, at a hospital in Chongqing, but who knows what will happen the next time fluid builds up in her stomach. Chinese authorities say many rural families go penniless after this kind of expensive surgical procedures, simply because they don’t want to spend money on cheap insurance. But, according to Wu’s husband, this wasn’t an choice for them because government insurance simply didn’t cover the procedure his wife needed.

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Outbreak Of E-coli Bacteria Kills 14

Europeans traded blame over the source of a strange bacterial outbreak that has killed 14 people and sickened hundreds across the continent and forced Russia to ban imports of some fresh vegetables from Spain and Germany out of fear they could be infected.

Russia has barred the import of vegetables from Germany and Spain because of an outbreak of E-coli bacteria in parts of Europe. The move comes as scientists try to recognize the source of the outbreak in Germany, where 14 people have died.

Hundreds of people in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain are also thought to have been infected. Suspicion has fallen on organic cucumbers from Spain imported into Germany, and then re-exported.

Spain denies its cucumbers are infected.
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3-Foot Fossils Of Prehistoric Ocean Predator Discovered

Fossils of a meter-long (3.3-foot) prehistoric ocean predator have been found in southeastern Morocco.

The specimens comprise the largest yet of its kind and suggests the spiny, somewhat shrimplike beasts dominated pre-dinosaur seas for millions of years longer than thought.

Previous anomalocaridid fossils had shown the animals grew to perhaps 2 feet (0.6 meter) long, which previously would have made them the largest animals of the Cambrian period (542 to 501 million years ago)—an evolutionarily explosive time, when invertebrate life evolved into many new varieties, such as sea lilies and worms.

The new anomalocaridid fossils also gave scientists another surprise: They're surprisingly young. Dating back to "only" 488 to 472 million years ago, in the Ordovician period, the specimens hint that anomalocaridid species survived for 30 million years longer than earlier evidence had suggested.

Anomalocaridids are widespread in fossils from the Cambrian, "then they depart from the rock record at about 510 million years ago," said Briggs, who received funding from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

Eventually, though, anomalocaridids did go wiped out—leaving no modern descendants, Briggs said. "It most probably was ultimately replaced by fishes or other kinds of predators in later oceans," he said.
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Riza Santos Crowned Miss World Canada 2011

A former housemate of ABS-CBN's "Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2" was crowned as Miss World Canada 2011 in a pageant held in Richmond, British Columbia.

Filipino-Canadian Riza Santos, a 24-year-old engineering student, will represent Canada in this year's Miss World pageant to be held in London in November. Santos bested 22 others in the prestigious international beauty competition.

In 2006, Santos competed as Miss Canada in the Miss Earth pageant which was held here in the Philippines. She bagged the Miss Photogenic and Miss Fontana Awards.

A year later, she joined "Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2" and was proclaimed as the second placer of the show.

According to the Miss World Canada website, Santos wants to become a commissioned officer, having finished her Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) and Soldier Qualification (SQ) with the Canadian Forces Army Reserve.
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George Atkinson Becomes Youngest British To Scale Everest

A schoolboy has become the youngest British mountaineer to climb Mount Everest - at the age of just 16. George Atkinson, who turns 17 on Sunday, reached the 8,848m peak at 2am morning - making him the youngest ever Briton to stand on top of the world.

It comes less than a week after Irish man John Delaney buckled and died 50 meters before the top, not knowing his wife had just given birth to a baby girl back home. The earlier record was held by 17-year-old Johnny Collinson of the USA.

George’s mother Penny posted on his blog this morning: “George has done it. He reached the peak at about 8.15am Nepali time. He also became the youngest climber ever to have scaled the tallest peaks of each continent.

Everest has claimed the lives of more than 216 mountaineers, most lately that of John Delaney, 42, from Kilcock, Co Kildare. Rob Gauntlett, the 19-year-old climber who held the record for youngest Brit to scale Everest, reached the summit in 2006. But he disastrously died three years later in a climbing accident in Chamonix, France.

By climbing Everest, George also became the youngest climber to complete the Seven Summits - the highest mountain on each continent. He beat American Johnny Collinson who completed the challenge when he was 17 years and 296 days old.

The youngest person to climb Mount Everest is American Jordan Romero. He reached the top on May 22 last year aged 13 years and 10 months old. George completed his record-breaking climb to raise money for children's hospice charity Chase.

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Dell Officially Launches World's Thinnest Laptop

Dell has launched new XPS 15z, claimed to be the world's thinnest laptop. The 15-inch notebook comes with normal mobile Intel Sandy Bridge processors.

In terms of specs, XPS 15z uses Intel i5 2410M (2.3 GHz) or i7 2620M (2.7 GHz) dual core processors. Memory is 4GB to 8GB. The screen size is 15.6 inch with a 1080p resolution. Standard battery life is listed as up to 8:22 hours.

Dell XPS 15z has Intel's My Wi-Fi technology, which permits the notebook to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices.

Dell XPS 15z seems to be a direct response to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, with approximately similar thickness and weight. Both laptops also have aluminum finish with chiclet-style backlit keyboards and an optical drive.
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Kate And Queen Meets Obama For U.S.-U.K. Relationship

In lavish style, President Obama and Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday confirmed a bond between the United States and the United Kingdom that has strengthened through the forfeit of war and a history of common values. As the queen put it, the relationship is "tried, tested and, yes, special."

For his part, the president, dressed in white-tie tuxedo for a showy dinner at Buckingham Palace, said in a toast that the relationship "never rests."

"We can have confidence in the partnership that our two countries share, based on the rock-solid foundation built during Queen Elizabeth's lifetime of strange service to the nation and to the world," the president said at a dinner in which White House staffers mixed with U.S. movie stars and British royalty.

Obama engrossed himself in grandeur Tuesday as the queen welcomed him to Buckingham Palace for the first day of a state visit that kept the president mainly out of sight for most of the British public. The Obama’s will spend the night in Buckingham Palace, in the same suite where newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their wedding night just last month. The Obama’s missed the royal wedding, but met the young couple briefly Tuesday.

There was an intricate arrival ceremony on the steps of the palace's West Terrace, complete with a 41-gun salute; a tour of the Queen's private gallery, where the monarch highlighted objects she thought would hold personal significance to the president.

Obama lingered over a personal diary kept by King George III before and after the U.S. Revolution.

As the latest alluring addition to The Firm, Prince William’s new bride wowed President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle as she welcomed them to Buckingham Palace.

Wills and Kate were making their official debut after their wedding. And they were given centre stage for the arrival of the Obama’s. Keen to show Kate, 29, and William, 28, as the young future of the Royal Family, Palace aides made sure the meeting was one of the high points of the landmark state visit.

And even in the company of Obama, it was Kate who was the real star. The new Duchess of Cambridge looked astonishing in a flesh-colored bandeau dress and an unusual shell necklace, thought to be a memento of her 10-day honeymoon in the Seychelles.
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Iran Discovers World's Smallest Ring

Iran has unveiled world's smallest ring at a show held at the Historical and Natural History Treasure Museum of the country's Zanjan Province.

“The bronze ring is seven millimeters thick and dates back to about 2,200 years ago and the Parthian era,” Zanjan's Historical and Natural History Treasure Museum director Morteza Samimifard told ISNA.

“The ring was purchased from a collector a year ago and will be returned to the Zanjan Province funds after being displayed at the museum for a week,” he added.

Samimifard also said that there was an inscription on the ring that experts were trying to read. It seems, however, that the exclusive ring belonged to an aristocrat, he noted.

The artifact has not been priced yet and there is no information about the place it was found, Samimifard said.

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First Pillow Fight World Cup Hosted In New York

Most people think of pillow fighting as a fun childhood game or some scantly clad women putting on a show, but for the women participating in the Pillow Fight World Cup it’s an authentic sporting competition.

Eight women armed with feathery pillows and dressed like athletes could be seen stepping into the ring during this first edition of the Pillow Fight World Cup, which took place on May 17, at The Warsaw Polish National Home, in Brooklyn, NY. Competitors were all girls and came from countries like Austria, Japan, Sweden and of course, the USA. “It’s less atrocious than boxing, but you still need technique,” said Maylin Kretzschmar, 26, one of the three Austrians engaged in the tournament. “It’s a fun sport. I don’t want to hit someone in the face, but you can still get rid of your violence.” The Austrians were the most experienced competitors seeing they have a pillow fighting association back home, and train constantly.

The man behind the Pillow Fight World Cup is Andrew Thompson, creator of Punk Rock Pillow Fight, a sporadic event where pillow-fighting men and women wack each other pointless with pillows. He was approached by the Austrians about a serious all-girl World Cup tournament, and he was happy to arrange it. Everyone involved sees this event as an instance to raise the profile of a so-called sport most people almost certainly haven’t played since childhood.

The rules of pillow fighting are pretty easy: matches are fought in two rounds, each lasting two minutes. Judges award points for hits to the head and body, and penalize fighters for turning their backs on their opponent or dropping to a knee. The most serious injury suffered by these brave pillow-wielding warriors is the irregular cuts on the knuckles.

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Diamond Tiara With Emerald Fetches World Record $12.7M

The diamond and emerald tiara, which German prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck's specially made for his second wife Katharina around 1900, sold for $12.7 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels Sale.

It was top lot at a sale that netted 78.9 million Swiss francs, third highest for a jewelry sale, with 90 percent of 479 lots on offer finding new owners, the auction house said.

"It is needless to say a world record price at auction for a tiara," said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's Europe and Middle East jewelry department, as he brought down the hammer to applause.

The tiara also set a record at sale for a piece of emerald jewelry, the auction house said in a statement. The winning proposal was taken over the telephone by Lisa Hubbard, chairwoman of Sotheby's jewelry department in North America - a hint as to the location of the new owner.

The tiara was among jewels of royal attribution that accounted for 19.6 million Swiss francs of the sale's proceeds, far exceeding expectations, according to Bennett.

Another headline seller was a 10.99-ct. fancy strong pink diamond that hasn’t appeared on the market for more than 30 years. It sold for $10.8 million, the third highest price for a pink diamond at sale.

The diamond features a classic emerald cut, usually associated with white diamonds, Sotheby’s said. This gem, mounted as a ring, has natural color and VS1 clarity. It’s further assessed to be type IIa, meaning it is almost or completely devoid of impurities with extraordinary optical transparency. Fewer than 2 percent of all diamonds in the world are given this grade of clarity and most of those diamonds are white.

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Kate Middleton Engagement Ring Gains Buzz All Over

The world had a love affair with Princess Diana, as a woman who stepped into a royal role at a very youthful age, carrying herself with style and grace. Princess Diana fascinated all with her smile, compassion and endearing ways, and today, all eyes are on Kate to see if she will follow in her footsteps.

The ring exudes Kate's classic style, while honoring Princess Diana's timeless grace. Sapphires have long symbolized truth, sincerity and faithfulness, making it the ideal stone to represent the beautiful marriage to come."

The engagement of Kate Middleton to Prince William has of course created a buzz regarding Kate Middleton’s engagement ring. A new interest in the ring, which at first belonged to Prince William’s mother, Lady Diana, has brought about many ring replicas both in the costume jewelry market and also in the authentic diamond and sapphire engagement ring market.

The oval blue sapphire ring clustered with 14 brilliant diamonds that first caught the public’s eye in 1981 is still one of the most sought-after ring designs; respected by those inspired by the late princess’s exquisite taste in jewelry. With Prince William offering the ring to Kate, he said, “It was my way of making sure mother didn’t miss out on today and the enthusiasm and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together.”
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Guinness World Record Crowned Valentim As “World's Oldest Person”

A Brazilian great-great-grandmother who is set to turn 115 in July is the world's new oldest living person, Guinness World Records certified Wednesday.

Guinness World Records said in a declaration posted on its website that Maria Gomes Valentim is 114 years and 313 days, 48 days older than American Besse Cooper, who was previously considered the world's oldest living person.

She was born on July 9, 1896, in Carangola, a city about 380 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro. She married in 1913 and was widowed in 1946. She and her husband, Joao, had one son, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Valentim credits her long life to a healthy diet, Guinness says. Every morning, she eats a bread roll with coffee, fruit and "the occasional milk with linseed."

She is still able to eat completely on her own and indulges in the occasional glass of wine.

Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glendlay said Valentim is the first Brazilian to become the world's oldest person.

'To receive an assert from a woman born during the reign of Queen Victoria - before the Ford Motor Company was formed, or before even George and Ira Gershwin were born - is amazing in itself, but for that woman to be Brazilian makes it extra special,' he said.

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World's Oldest Panda Dies In Chinese Zoo At 34

The world’s oldest panda, Ming Ming, has passed away. Chinese state media broke the news to the rest of the world with a headline in the Global Times that read, “China’s Oldest Panda Kicks Bucket.” The panda died due to old age and kidney failure.

According to experts, wild pandas are expected to live until about 15 years of age. Those kept in captivity are only expected to live until 22; Ming Ming was 34.

The famous panda was rescued from the forest of Sichuan Province, China, and brought into custody in 1977 as an abandoned cub. She traveled between various zoos in China and Europe all over her life.

Ming Ming was the subject of much international debate in 1991 when she was sent to the London Zoo to mate with German panda Bao Bao. After fighting with Bao Bao and failing to generate any cubs, Ming Ming returned to China amid much diplomatic turmoil.

Forbes reports that giant pandas are one of the most endangered class in the world. Only an estimated 1,600 remain in the wild. China maintains over 300 in captivity, mostly in breeding programs that attempt to increase the population. As Ming Ming’s international match-making dissatisfaction shows, breeding giant pandas in custody is no easy task.

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Couple Say They Are Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene

An Australian couple who claim they are reincarnations of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene have newly set up camp in Queensland’s Bible Belt, joined by 30 – 40 followers.

Australian cult watchers are worried about a new organization known as Divine Truth, led by Alan John Miller and Mary Suzanne Luck, who claim they are Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. The two rely on donations made by their followers in order to maintain themselves, and authorities fear they could be taking advantage of the vulnerable.

Mr. Miller, 47, was born in Luxton, South Australia, and is the father of two children from a past marriage, which ended when he began remembering facts from his past life. He seems to believe this is his 22nd life and that he has the amount of divine love in his heart accumulated in 22 life cycles. Now he and his soul mate, 32-year-old Mary Magdalene, real name Mary Suzanne Luck, are reunited and have formed their very own little cult, in Wilkesdale. Miller first bought 16 hectares of land in the area, and his followers soon followed his example now to be close to their charismatic spiritual leader.

In 2009, Divine Truth members joined forces and bought a $400,000, 250 ha property where they could conduct meetings and build a center for international visitors. Concerned friends and families contacted the Cult Awareness and Information Center to advise followers are selling their houses to move to Wilkesdale. Land clearing has created a cross-like shape which locals say wasn’t done deliberately, and that’s bound to convince plenty of believers this is a divine sign. Meanwhile, police say they’ve been called to examine screams on the property, only to find Divine Truth members practicing an exercise that actually helps them deal with “past soul damage”

Alan John Miller admits”There’s almost certainly a million people who say they’re Jesus and most of them are in asylums. But one of us has to be. How do I know I am? Because I remember everything about my life.” He means all 2,000 years of it…

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Airbus A380 Struck By Lightning While Landing In London

The moment a lightning bolt struck a commercial passenger plane mid-flight has been caught on tape. None of the 500 passangers on board the Emirates Airlines Airbus A380 were injured as the plane flew through a storm as it approached London's Heathrow Airport.

Videographer Chris Dawson, 37, pointed his digital camera at the plane from his terrace in south-west London about 7.30pm local time. "I saw a storm coming and I thought there could be lightning," he told Abu Dhabi's English language newspaper The National.

"I wasn't expecting it to hit a plane but I just got fortunate." The plane landed without incident.

A United Emirates spokesperson told the newspaper lightning strikes are not rare and that every plane in its fleet is designed and certified to withstand a lightning strike.

Just yesterday a Qantas Boeing 737-800 en route from Auckland to Melbourne was forced back mid-flight after a suspected lightning strike — but it too landed without damage or injury to passengers.

The average lightning bolt produces a current of 20,000 amps and can attain temperatures of 30,000C

But an airplane's metal hull forms a Faraday confine that protects it from lightning, carrying the electric charge through the hull and expelling it at an output point without harming the aircraft or the passengers inside.

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Artist Marta Minujin Creates 25 Meter High Tower of Babel

Popular Argentine artist Marta Minujin has created a 25-meter-high spiraling Tower of Babel made from 30,000 books written in different languages.

This modern version of the Tower of Babel was designed in festivity of Buenos Aires’ designation as World Book Capital 2011, by UNESCO, and local authorities say it represents the thoughts of pluralism and diversity which also characterize the Argentine capital city. This isn’t Minujin’s first experience with book installations; in 1983, when democracy was restored in Argentina, she built a model of the Parthenon from books banned by the former military dictatorship.

The tower consists of a spiraling metal frame and around 30,000 books written in most of the world’s languages and dialects. You can find all kinds of books, from dictionaries and encyclopedias to software manuals and classic novels, arranged on six levels. The bottom level features a collection of books from around the world, the first and second levels are for American books, the third and fourth are reserved for Europe, the fifth for Africa and the sixth for Asia. 16,000 of the books were donated by 52 embassies in Buenos Aires, while the rest were given by Argentine readers.

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Chinese Two Headed Baby Born With One Body

A conjoined twins sharing one single body was born at Suining City Central Hospital in Sinchuan province, southwestern China, according to Ms Wang, a hospital staff

The babies were born by caesarean. The twins weighted 4 kilograms and measured 51 centimetres.

They have two spines, two esophaguses and share other crucial organs. Doctors said that it would be nearly not possible to separate them.

“It is hard to say how they will stay alive in the future but we will try the best to keep them alive at the moment,” said Pu Youhua, a doctor at Suining Hospital.

Ms. Wang said the parents, who are refugee farmers living outside of the southwestern city, did not know about the abnormality until two days before the mother was due to give birth.

Two ultra sound scans in September and February failed to disclose the two heads because the technicians were viewing the single embryo in profile.

The pair has now been moved to a hospital in nearby Chongqing for additional examination.
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Lu Zhi-hao From China Named As World's Fattest Boy

A four year old boy from China, weighing 62 kilograms, has been named the world's heaviest boy.

Lu Zhi-hao, who is 110cms tall from Shunde, Guangdong, is being taken by his worried parents to Hong Kong to try and undertake his obesity.

Dubbed by Chinese media as China's "no. 1 fat kid" Lu Zhi-hao, known as Xiao Hoa, has been taken to numerous hospitals in Guangdong to find out why he's so fat, but doctors can only say that it is down to awful eating habits.

If something is not done to decrease his weight, doctors predict Lu Zhi-hao's obesity will become life-threatening by the time he turns 20.

A Hong Kong weight-loss centre has offered to help Lu Zhi-hao lose weight for free. The centre, which has not given out its name, uses non-intrusive Japanese skill to help the body break down fat.

Xiao Hao's parents are now applying for a consent to travel to Hong Kong and hope to be here with their obese child in a couple of weeks.

"We hope there must be specialists in Hong Kong who can help us," says Lu Zhi-hao's father, Lu Ye-ming.

The mother and father of the child are both of normal weight, and obesity has not been a part of the family's health history. Lu Zhi-hao gradually ate his way to fatness.

He is now on a diet, which means reducing down from his regular three bowls of rice per meal to just one bowl.

The WHO says more than 20 percent of the populations in some Chinese cities are now obese.

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Princess Diana’s Dress Sold For $276,000 In Auction

A pair of dresses worn by Princess Diana sold at a pop culture sale in Beverly Hills for a total of US$276,000 (NZ$349,000), a spokesman for the auction house has said.

The two dresses, which have been held in climate-controlled storage since her death in August 1997, were auctioned to a famous museum for US$144,000 and US$132,000, respectively, said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's Auctions.

"We did have bidders from all over the world participating, and it's great to have them go to a museum where they are going to be on display and valued by the public," Julien said.

Julien said he could not name the museum without consent from officials there.

The dress that sold for US$144,000 was described by the public sale house as a black crepe evening gown that Diana wore during a state visit in 1992.

The princess wore the second dress, which is silk chiffon and strapless, to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 as well as in a portrait sitting that year and to a 1989 presentation of "Miss Saigon" at Theatre Royal in London.

The two dresses had been auctioned by Diana for contributions three months before her death, Julien said.

The owners, WeTV and Wedding Central, decided the time was right to auction them again to match with the April 29 wedding of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton.

He said a portion of the income would be donated to one of Diana's charities.

Diana, who married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, died after a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
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Last Veteran Of World War I, Claude Choules Dies At 110

Claude Choules, the only lasting male veteran of World War I and one of the last people to have served in both world wars, died May 5 at a nursing home near Perth in western Australia. He was 110, and no cause of death was reported.

Mr. Choules was the last known existing combatant of the war. Green, who turned 110 in February, served as a waitress in the Women’s Royal Air Force.

He was wedded to the former Ethel Wildgoose, whom he met on the way to Australia in 1926. She died many years ago at age 98. They had three children, according to the Australian Associated Press. He lied about his age so he could join the British Royal Navy in 1916, two years after the Great War began. Enlistees were hypothetical to be at least 18 years old.

In 1926, he transferred to the Royal Australian Navy after working as a coach at a naval depot, according to the Worcester News. “I was nobody,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio in 2009 of his years in England. “But I was somebody here.”

During World War II, he was a torpedo officer and was assigned to blow up the Australian navy’s ships in Fremantle Harbour, in western Australia, if Japanese forces invaded. Mr. Choules retired at age 55 after working with the Naval Dockyard Police.

He wrote a memoir, “The Last of the Last,” which was published two years ago.

He was married to the former Ethel Wildgoose, whom he met on the way to Australia in 1926. She died several years ago at age 98. They had three children, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Despite the fame his military service brought him, Mr. Choules later in life became a pacifist who was uncomfortable with anything that glorified war. He disagreed with the celebration of Anzac Day, Australia’s most important war memorial holiday, and refused to march in parades held each year to mark the holiday.

“I had a pretty poor start,” he told a reporter in 2009. “But I had a good finish.”
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World's Biggest Bird In Threat Of Extinction

The Saharan race ostrich, largest representative of its species, has been extirpated across 95 per cent of its range. Within Niger, the bird is wiped out in the wild.

There are still roughly 100 pure-bred Saharan race ostriches in small privately-held imprisoned flocks scattered across the country. A land-locked country in Western Africa, the Republic of Niger is remarkably poor, but with some modest support those caring for ostriches can considerably improve the chances of these birds breeding fruitfully and rearing young.

Given how productive ostrich can be, there is every reason to believe that with the right material and technical support, Niger can breed desert ostrich and return them to the wild in relatively short order.

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) is now focusing on improving the diet and promoting natural incubation until such time as Niger has the ability to manage artificial incubation and chick-rearing operations. SCF, in partnership with the AZA Ratite TAG, has developed its Adopt-an-Ostrich Programme to maintain the acquisition, care and feeding of pure-bred Saharan ostrich in Niger; to help maintain the ostrich facilities; and to improve capacity for ostrich management.

‘With your help, we can get Saharan ostrich back on the road to recovery in Niger,' said an SCF spokesman. ‘This is a great opportunity for all of us to make a connection between our interest in the Sahara and the conservation of the largest bird on the planet.'

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Cockpit Voice Recorder Found From Air France Mystery Crash

The cockpit voice recorder from an Air France plane that crashed inexplicably nearly two years ago, killing all 228 people on board, has been found, the head of the company announced.

The declaration came "only hours" after the recovery of the flight data recorder's memory unit, Air France chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said, citing the official French air accident investigation agency, the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA).

He called it "another important step forward in the inquiry" into the cause of the crash, which remains unidentified nearly two years after it happened.

Air France flight 447 crashed in violent weather en route to Paris from Brazil on June 1, 2009. It took nearly two years and a huge undersea search to locate the bulk of the wreckage deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

Only about 50 bodies were ever found, but investigators announced last month that the fuselage still contained human remnants.

The discovery of the two data recorders may lastly explain why the Airbus A330 dropped out of the sky and bellyflopped into the ocean, falling so rapidly that air masks did not have time to deploy.

The cockpit voice recorder was brought to the face by the Remora 6000, the same remote-controlled submarine that brought the flight data recorder memory unit up from the Atlantic on Sunday.
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Deadly Fungus Wiping Out Amphibians

A deadly and infectious fungal disease first struck Mexican salamanders in the 1970s, found a new study. From there, it spread through Guatemala and Costa Rica over the next two decades.

As the first study among salamanders to document the history of an epidemic of the sickness, the research helps verify the fungus (known as Bd, for Batrachyochytrium dendrobatidis) as a major cause of widespread amphibian collapse in current decades. Some 40 percent of frogs, toads and other amphibian species are presently in decline.

The findings could also lead to enhanced ways of slowing or preventing the spread of Bd and similar outbreaks in the years to come.

"This really shows how devastating this disease can be," said lead author Tina Cheng, a graduating master’s student in ecology at San Francisco State University. "Up until now, it was not known that this pathogen had any bang on salamanders, and many are highly threatened right now."

Animals that become tainted with the fungus develop chytridiomycosis. They shed their skin and become lethargic. Sickened salamanders lose their tails. Frogs lose weight and become so insensitive that they fail to turn themselves over when put on their backs. Death comes in a matter of weeks.

Since the discovery of Bd, researchers have associated the fungus to the collapse of frog and toad populations in California, Australia, Panama and Peru. Some species have already gone extinct because of it.

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Kate Middleton’s Wears Second McQueen Gown For Reception

Their wedding service was no doubt straight from a fairytale and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s reception brought out all the stops.

Following their historical wedding , the newlywed Royals enjoyed mingling with their guests at the Buckingham Palace while feasting away at menu items such as Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini, Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney and Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini, just to name a few of the swanky dishes.

Their towering cake was an astonishing sight as the official baker, Fiona Cairns, created an absolute masterpiece designed specifically for the Prince and his new Princess.

And as she did previously in the day, Kate stunned her guests in a jaw-dropping dress custom designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.

This beautiful strapless, white gown with diamante decoration at the waist and a cropped angora sweater was design by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, the same designer as her wedding dress.

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