Prince Harry in snap encounter with Australian crocodile


 

Britain's Prince Harry had a close encounter with a ferocious crocodile during his recent trip in Australia, with officials revealing Saturday he helped capture a 3.1 metre predator.

Harry spent a month Down Under with the Australian Army, an experience which involved learning bush survival skills, flying helicopters and working with elite SAS commandos.

The 30-year-old British prince also helped to snare a crocodile from a trap, pulling in the animal from Darwin Harbour and straddling it after its jaws had been taped closed.

"Prince Harry went out on the croc boat and helped our rangers remove a 3.1 metre (10 feet) saltwater crocodile from a trap in Darwin Harbour," Northern Territory Minister for Parks and Wildlife Bess Price said.

"This top secret mission is sure to leave a unique, lasting impression of the Territory with Prince Harry," she added in a statement.

Prince Harry was welcomed to Australia by hundreds of well-wishers in Canberra on April 6 -- including one who asked to marry him -- but his day-to-day activities with the Army were kept under wraps.

Ranger Erin Britton said Harry, who toured Afghanistan twice during a decade in the British Army, was not scared to get close to the crocodile, which was later taken to a local farm.

"He'd make a great croc catcher," she said. "He responded to directions when catching the croc, helped pull it into the boat and did a great job."

Britton said she hadn't been sure what to expect of the prince "because you don't meet royalty every day," but had found him to be a "sweetie".

 

"I was a little nervous at first when I was getting the snout rope on the croc because Harry was observing so closely, but he was so easy-going that I relaxed pretty quickly," she said.

"I found him very approachable and easy to chat with."

Rangers in the Northern Territory often have to remove crocodiles from waterways used for boating and fishing to limit the risk of fatalities and injuries.

Crocodiles are common in Australia's tropical north where their numbers have increased since the introduction of protection laws in 1971 to around 75,000 to 100,000.

Britton said there was "no doubt" the visiting prince enjoyed snaring the crocodile, saying he had been "taking plenty of photos with a huge smile".

Senior Wildlife Ranger for the Crocodile Management Team, Tommy Nichols, agreed the prince seemed to enjoy the visit on April 15.

"Prince Harry managed to speak to all members of the crocodile team during the time he spent with us and he appeared to be a nice bloke," he said.

"It was the first time any of us had met a member of the Royal Family and we were all very excited."

 

 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

 

China snatch win as Germany, Canada held in Women's World Cup PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 13 June 2015 22:00

 

 

Wang Lisi's late winner got China's Women's World Cup campaign back on track as Germany were held 1-1 by Norway and Canada played a goalless draw against New Zealand.

China's Group A tie in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium looked to be heading for frustration before Wang broke through to roll the ball past Sari Van Veenendaal in the Dutch goal one minute into extra time.

It gave the 'Steel Roses' a vital three points after losing their opening match to Canada, who had to settle for a goalless draw against New Zealand.

Canada remain top of Group A with four points from two games, ahead of China and the Netherlands, who have three. New Zealand are bottom of the group with one point.

"I think they did an excellent job today. We could have scored more and been more efficient," said China coach Hao Wei.

"In the beginning I said Group A was very even, all teams are similar in their strengths so I wish we could have scored more," added the Chinese coach.

In Group B ties over in Ottawa, a second half Maren Mjelde equaliser grabbed a 1-1 draw for Norway against top ranked Germany in a clash of former champions.

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2015 22:02
 
Bill Gates hopeful of AIDS vaccine in 10 years PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 27 June 2015 21:19

Billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, who spends millions of dollars on AIDS drug development, said Friday he hoped for a vaccine against the disease within the next decade as a cure remains far off.

"Probably the top priority is a vaccine. If we had a vaccine that can protect people, we can stop the epidemic," the Microsoft mogul said on the sidelines of an anti-AIDS-themed concert in Paris which he backs.

Since 1981, about 78 million people have been infected by HIV, which destroys immune cells and leaves the body exposed to tuberculosis, pneumonia and other opportunistic diseases.

Thirty-nine million have died, according to UN estimates, and about 35 million are living with the immune system-destroying virus today, overwhelmingly in poor countries.

Gates said the quest for an AIDS vaccine has taken longer than expected, with many disappointments along the way.

His charitable Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spends about $400 million a year on AIDS drug research, he told journalists, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 June 2015 21:25
 
Diabetes drug helps people lose weight: study PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 03 July 2015 04:48

 

Liraglutide, an injectable diabetes drug that US regulators approved last year for weight loss, helped obese people lose an average of 18 pounds (eight kilograms), a yearlong study said.

Most patients were able to keep the weight off for the duration of the 56-week study on the drug marketed as Saxenda by Novo Nordisk, according to the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The randomized, controlled trial was conducted at 191 sites in 27 countries in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Patients in the study were 18 and older and each had a body mass index of 30 or higher.

BMI is calculated by weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. The healthy range for most people is 19-25 BMI.

Of the 3,731 people in the study, about two thirds were given the drug plus training to improve their lifestyle habits, and the rest followed the same lifestyle intervention but were given a placebo.

The trial was double-blind, meaning that neither patients or doctors knew if they were dealing with the real drug or the placebo.

Those who received the drug were given a higher dose (three milligrams) than is prescribed for diabetes patients (1.8 milligrams), and were injected with the drug under the skin daily.

People in the placebo group lost an average of six pounds. Those who were given the drug averaged about three times more weight loss.

A total of 63 percent of those in the liraglutide group lost at least five percent of their body weight, compared to 27 percent in the placebo group.

Kevin Williams, chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Temple University Health, described the weight loss in the liraglutide group as "significant."

Williams was not involved in the study.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 04:50
 
World must cut pollution to save marine life, study warns PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 03 July 2015 04:50

 

 

If left unchecked, global warming will cause irreversible damage to marine life in the world's oceans, forcing fish to search for cooler waters and destroying valuable coral reefs, an international study said Thursday.

Keeping global average temperatures within two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures is the only way to stave off the worst effects of climate change on the Earth's oceans, which provide 90 percent of the planet's habitable space, said the study in the journal Science.

The findings are based on the Ocean 2015 Initiative, which examined the latest studies on how climate change is projected to affect oceans, marine life and hundreds of billions of dollars in goods and services they provide each year.

"All the species and services we get from the ocean will be impacted," said co-author William Cheung, associate professor at the University of British Columbia.

The team considered a business-as-usual scenario, and compared that to the effect of introducing big cuts in carbon dioxide emissions in order to keep temperature rise below two degrees Celsius by 2100, as outlined by the Copenhagen accord.

"The condition of the future ocean depends on the amount of carbon emitted in the coming decades," said the study.

"Immediate and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions is required in order to prevent the massive and effectively irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their services that are projected" with business-as-usual scenarios.

Unless changes are made, "fish will migrate away from their current habitats 65 percent faster, resulting in changes to biodiversity and ecosystem functions," said the study, led by Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the French National Center for Scientific Research.

Over time, the ocean will become less capable of absorbing carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Such pollution leads to rising acidification and harms marine life.

Sea level rise, loss of oxygen in the waters and disease are also top threats linked to pollution.

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 04:53
 
UNESCO chief warns about jihadist 'culture cleansing' PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 03 July 2015 05:02

 

 

The head of the UN cultural organisation on Wednesday called for a campaign against the "culture cleansing" being carried out by Islamic State jihadists.

"Extremists don't destroy heritage as a collateral damage, they target it systematically to strike societies at their core," Irina Bokova said in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London.

"This strategy seeks to destroy identities by eliminating heritage and cultural markers," she said.

Several archaeological sites have been attacked by IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria and their recent takeover of an area including the ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria sparked worldwide concern.

In April, the IS group released a video in which militants can be seen using rifles and sledgehammers to destroy artefacts at Hatra.

Earlier the militants also damaged the site of Iraq's ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and destroyed dozens of pieces from the museum in Mosul.

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 05:03
 
UK tech division gets record subsidizing, and its to a great extent on account of London FinTech PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 03 July 2015 05:53

 

 

UK innovation new companies got a record measure of subsidizing in the initial six months of the year, as per figures from London & Partners.

In the middle of January and June, the division figured out how to draw in just about £900m in funding venture, which contrasts with a similarly little £640m raised amid the equal period a year ago. In 2013, speculation for the entire year was lower than both of these figures.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2015 05:55
 
Barca exit tough for record-breaking Xavi PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 08 June 2015 15:36

 

 

Record-breaker Xavi Hernandez says it will be tough to leave Barcelona after lifting the Champions League trophy on his final appearance in the famous strip.

The 35-year-old came on in the 78th minute to set a new record of 151 Champions League appearances in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Juventus in the final in Berlin which was the fourth time he had won European club football's most prestigious trophy.

Having started at the Catalan giants as an 11-year-old, Xavi will join Qatari side Al Sadd next season.

He admitted that leaving Barcelona will hit him hard having won his 25th title with the club.

The final took a dramatic turn when an early goal by Barca's Ivan Rakitic was cancelled out by Juventus' ex-Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata with the equaliser on 55 minutes.

But Xavi says Barcelona's superstar Lionel Messi made the difference as his brilliant run led to Luis Suarez making it 2-1 to the Spaniards in the second-half before Neymar scored their third at the death.

 

 

"To leave this way is amazing, but I have a bit of nostalgia thinking I'm never going to play for this side again and I really wanted to lift the cup," said Xavi, who lost his place in the starting side to Rakitic this season.

"We suffered a lot, because Juve put pressure on us, but Leo [Messi] popped up again.

"The side is sensational and Messi is outrageous."

- Triumphant departure -

 

Xavi said the best thing for Barcelona now is for Luis Enrique to stay on with the head coach having left his future open, despite winning the treble of European, cup and league titles in his debut season.

"Luis Enrique deserves this because he's had a lot of criticism, but he's been a great leader for the side. The best thing for next year is for Luis Enrique to stay," said Xavi.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 15:41
 
Dogs snub people who are mean to their owners: study PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 13 June 2015 21:51

 

 

Dogs do not like people who are mean to their owners, Japanese researchers said Friday, and will refuse food offered by people who have snubbed their master.

The findings reveal that canines have the capacity to co-operate socially -- a characteristic found in a relatively small number of species, including humans and some other primates.

Researchers led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University, tested three groups of 18 dogs using role plays in which their owners needed to open a box.

In all three groups, the owner was accompanied by two people whom the dog did not know.

In the first group, the owner sought assistance from one of the other people, who actively refused to help.

In the second group, the owner asked for, and received, help from one person. In both groups, the third person was neutral and not involved in either helping or refusing to help.

Neither person interacted with the dog's owner in the control -- third -- group.

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2015 21:53
 
Probe after GM jellyfish-lamb sold as meat in France PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 23 June 2015 17:43

French authorities are looking into how a lamb genetically modified with jellyfish protein was sold as meat to an unknown customer, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

The jellyfish-lamb, called "Rubis", was sent to an abattoir from the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Paris late last year and somehow ended up on a butcher's slab.

"A female lamb born to a sheep that was genetically modified as part of a medical research programme was sold to a person in the Parisian region in October 2014," said the National Institute for Agricultural Research in a statement, confirming a story first reported by Le Parisien newspaper.

"Although this ovine does not present any risk to humans or the environment, the institute has just informed local prosecutors about this breach of environmental regulations," it added.

The case has been taken up by a public health court in Paris, a judicial source told AFP.

Rubis "found itself on a plate! Who ate it? No one knows," exclaimed Le Parisien on Tuesday.

 
Women flock to Japan zoo to see 'hunky' gorilla PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 27 June 2015 21:26

 

 

A giant gorilla with brooding good looks and rippling muscles is causing a stir at a Japanese zoo, with women flocking to check out the hunky pin-up.

Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback who tips the scales at around 180 kilograms (400 pounds), has become the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, striking smouldering poses the movie model in "Zoolander" would be proud of.

"He often rests his chin on his hands and looks intently at you," zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa told AFP on Friday.

"He is more buff than most gorillas and he's at his peak physically. We've seen a rise in the number of female visitors -- women say he's very good-looking."

Shabani, who has been at the zoo since 2007, shot to fame after being made the campaign model for the zoo's spring festival earlier this year, Ishikawa said, adding that the ape's paternal skills are also a big hit with women.

 

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 June 2015 21:56
 
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British Queen celebrates