Top News Stories –
Rat on a plane: Air India flight returns to Mumbai after rodent spotted on board –
An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said on Thursday. Though the rat was not found, the pilot returned to Mumbai on Wednesday keeping passenger safety in mind, Air India said in a statement. Passengers were later flown by a separate aircraft to London. The aircraft would be fumigated and checked before it is returned to service. Maintenance workers would have to make sure that the rat did not damage equipment or chew any wires and the plane is certified to be rodent-free, an airline official said. [Daily Telegraph]
China’s new two-child policy law takes effect –
Married couples in China will from Friday (Jan 1) be allowed to have two children, after concerns over an ageing population and shrinking workforce ushered in an end to the country’s controversial one-child policy. The change, which was announced in October by the ruling Communist Party, takes effect from Jan 1, 2016, Beijing’s official Xinhua news agency reported over the weekend. The “one-child policy”, instituted in the late 1970s, restricted most couples to only a single offspring through a system of fines for violators and even forced abortions. For years, authorities argued that it was a key contributor to China’s economic boom and had prevented 400 million births. [Channel News Asia]
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List of the Day –
100 Things we didn’t know last year – by the BBC (1-33)
1. It costs £300 to operate on a constipated goldfish.
2. Traditionally, police horses in England’s Thames Valley force can be called Odin, Thor or Hercules, but not Brian.
3. Barack Obama calls David Cameron “bro”.
4. The first sports bra was made from two jockstraps.
5. One in 10 of Britain’s train carriages still flush toilet waste straight on to the railway tracks.
6. Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia are the only countries in the world where a woman is more likely to be a boss than a man.
7. You don’t have to speak French to become French-language Scrabble world champion.
8. Kolo Toure, the Ivory Coast and Liverpool defender, hasn’t touched his own dog for seven years.
9. An egg can be unboiled.
10. There are four different ways to pronounce diplodocus, and the way children say it is probably more technically correct than the academics’ preferred option.
11. A 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson has edited Wikipedia 47,000 times to remove the ungrammatical term “comprised of”.
12. Buzz Aldrin claimed $33.31 in travel expenses connected to his trip to the moon.
13. Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond once played a ghost in a Bollywood soap opera.
14. “Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialised!” is an official slogan of North Korea.
15. Roughly 56% of average monthly earnings in Malawi are spent on mobile phone charges, compared with about 0.11% in Macau, China.
16. Quentin Tarantino still records films from TV on VHS cassettes.
17. Lollipop men and ladies who “high five” pedestrians may be breaching official protocol.
18. Squid can fly – but they tend to do it under cover of darkness.
19. It’s possible to trick the brain into thinking it can hear Mariah Carey sing All I Want For Christmas Is You.
20. King Arthur may have been Glaswegian.
21. A man-sized lobster lived 480 million years ago.
22. At Hotel Football, run by ex-Manchester United players, Gary Neville is represented in the bathroom by blackcurrant-extract shampoo while brother Phil is a bar of soap.
23. Vicars and priests have the highest job satisfaction of all UK workers.
24. Narwhals’ long tusks – an exaggerated front tooth used for courtship – are super-sensitive.
25. There is only one concert grand piano in Gaza.
26. Boston in Lincolnshire is one of the most neurotic places in Great Britain while Orkney is one of the least.
27. Michael Jackson made a series of prank calls to Russell Crowe.
28. Breaking Bad is the show people most often lie about having watched.
29. The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not permit the wearing of colanders on heads in driving licence photos, even for religious reasons.
30. People who swear have larger vocabularies.
31. The Queen likes to have her pre-lunch gin and Dubonnet in front of BBC Two’s The Daily Politics.
32. In September 1944 the New York Times explained pizza to its readers and included a rare use of its plural “pizze” – there was an earlier article but it only mentioned pizza in passing.
33. There is little international trade in onions – about 90% are consumed in their country of origin.
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Other News Stories –
- Armed conflicts and attacks
- Israeli–Palestinian conflict
- Arts and culture
- A new 28-foot tall statue of Jesus, dubbed “Jesus de Greatest,” is unveiled on New Year’s Day outside St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Abajah village, Nigeria’s Imo state, which is described as the tallest Jesus statue in Africa. (USA Today)
- Disasters and accidents
- About one thousand houses in Manila’s Tondo district in the Philippines are set ablaze following New Year’s Eve firecracker festivities that left one dead and 380 others injured. (AP via CTV News)
- International relations
- The EU-Ukraine Free Trade deal officially comes into force, coinciding with a Russian food embargo on Ukraine. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
- Law and crime
- The two-child policy takes effect in China, allowing couples in the country to have at most two children, replacing the controversial one-child policy. The change in law was announced by the ruling Communist Party on October 29 and passed the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on December 27, five days prior to its effect. (AFP via Channel NewsAsia)
- Politics and elections
- Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who has been the President of Iceland for 20 years, announces in his new-year speech that he will not seek relection for a sixth term when presidential elections will be held in June. (Visir)
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