Easy rider

December 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Chinese grinches ban Christmas: “A university in northwestern China has banned Christmas, calling it a ‘kitsch’ foreign celebration unbefitting of the country’s own traditions and making its students watch propaganda films instead. The state-run Beijing News said that the Modern College of Northwest University, located in Xian, had strung up banners around the campus reading ‘Strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays’ and ‘Resist the expansion of Western culture’. An official microblog belonging to one of the university’s Communist Party’s committees posted comments calling for students not to ‘fawn on foreigners’ and pay more attention to China’s holidays, like Spring Festival. Christmas is not a traditional festival in officially atheist China but is growing in popularity, especially in more metropolitan areas where young people go out to celebrate, give gifts and decorate their homes.

Big money grab as van spills $2.4 million onto busy Hong Kong road: “CHRISTMAS came early for dozens of motorists after $2.4 million flew off the back of a van in a busy Hong Kong road. Boxes filled with more than $HK15 million in cash spilt out of the armoured van on Christmas Eve, sparking a frenzy as drivers and passers-by tried to get their hands on the notes. Traffic ground to a halt on Gloucester Road — the scene of recent protests — as taxi drivers rushed out of their cars to make a grab for the money. A witness told South China Morning Post they saw “a regular-looking Hong Kong lady” with “an armful of bricks of cash. It was as much as she could carry. She just disappeared into the depths of Wan Chai.” However police chief inspector Addy Li Chi-kin warned that anyone who took home banknotes should return them immediately, or be arrested for theft. Police Superintendent Wan Siu-hung said the driver of the van made it all the way to his destination, a half-hour’s drive away, oblivious to the fact that his back door was open and the cash boxes had fallen out.

Hybrid plane can only stay airborne for a few minutes: “The world’s first hybrid plane that can recharge itself mid flight has been successfully tested. The aircraft has been created by a team at Cambridge University, working with Boeing, who carried out the maiden flight at Sywell Aerodrome, in Northampton. But passengers won’t be boarding a hybrid plane any time soon, as a jetline would only be able to stay airborne for a matter of minutes. The demonstration aircraft is powered by parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system and is said to use 30 per cent less fuel than petrol only planes, Cambridge University said. During the tests the plane performed a series of ‘hops’ along the runway, before a flight at over 1,500 feet. During take off, when it needs most power, it uses both the petrol engine and the electric motor, but once cruising height is reached the electric motor can be switched onto generator mode. This will then recharge the batteries or it can be switched to motor assist mode to save fuel.

“Dangerous” Christmas crackers are banned for under-12s in Europe: “It’s the Christmas dinner table accessory that children take most delight in. But there’s one strange fact about the innocuous Christmas cracker that almost no one in Britain seems to realise: it’s illegal to sell them to anyone under 12. The bizarre regulation has led to a number of cases of check-out staff challenging teenagers buying Christmas crackers. Last week, a 16-year-old boy was turned away from a Sainsbury’s Local in Islington, North London, because he was unable to prove his age. When the box of crackers he wanted was swiped through the till, the supermarket’s ‘Think 25’ warning flashed up on the screen, indicating that it was an age-limited purchase, like alcohol, cigarettes and adult DVDs. A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: ‘Our corporate age restriction on Christmas crackers is 12, in line with trading standards policy. ‘But it is up to the discretion of store managers on whether to go ahead with a sale.’

Forgotten fairytales tell stories of wicked step-fathers, scared young princes and witch-slaying damsels: “Most fairytales are overrun with wicked witches, entrapped princesses and dashing young princes. But a new collection offers a different take on the classics – without the Happily Ever After. The stories were compiled by German historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth in the 1880s. And now the collection, which lay forgotten in a local archive for 150 years, is set to be published in English for the first time. While the well-known Grimm fairytales often feature a vulnerable princess and dragon-slaying hero, Schönwerth reverses their roles – offering readers powerful female and vulnerable male characters. In Schönwerth’s fantastical version Cinderella, for example, the heroine uses her golden – not glass – slippers to rescue her lover from beyond the moon. In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about him: ‘Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear.'” But Schönwerth’s volumes never gained prominence”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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