The Sideshow
  • 228 customers treated each other to free coffee on a seemingly random December day (WLS Chicago)One coffeehouse customer’s random act of kindness went viral—resulting in hours of free beverages for hundreds of fellow patrons who couldn’t resist the urge to pass along the generosity.

    On the morning of Dec. 21, a customer at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg Canada decided to pay for the order of the person behind them in line. The customer on the receiving end was so moved they, in turn, decided to pay for the customer behind them in line.The trend continued for three hours and exactly 228 customers.

    "It isn't uncommon for Tim Hortons customers to pay for the next person in line, but this was a real gift," Michelle Robichaud, a spokeswoman for the company, told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It was a boost of goodness, especially with everything happening in the world. ... We don't know who started it, but that's the beauty of this act of generosity. It was the start of something wonderful."

    The rest of us will likely have to wait until September for a shot at receiving a free espresso or

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  • Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-François Callet (Wikimedia Commons)

    It's been more than 200 years since King Louis XVI was beheaded by French revolutionaries, but a team of scientists believes a recently discovered gourd contains traces of his blood.

    According to the BBC, the scientists say a dried, hollowed-out squash that had been kept by an Italian family as a souvenir contains a handkerchief that was dipped in the king's blood by a spectator.

    A message on the outside of the calabash reads: "On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation."

    According to the findings published in Forensic Science International, analysis of DNA taken from the blood revealed it to be similar to DNA from a mummified head believed to belong to Henri IV, Louis' 16th-century predecessor.

    Results of a 2010 test on the gourd were inconclusive, but the genetic connection to Henri's remains led the scientists to conclude the blood found inside the gourd is indeed that of the king's.

    "This study shows that [the remains] share a genetic heritage passed on through the paternal line,” forensic pathologist Philippe Charlier told Agence France-Presse. "They have a direct link to one another through their fathers. One could say that there is absolutely no doubt any more."

    Louis XVI was killed by guillotine on Jan. 21, 1793; Henri IV was killed in 1610.

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  • The tallest building in the world had a big new year.

    The Burj Khalifa, the soaring 2,716-foot tower in Dubai, started 2013 with a massive sound and light show that seemed to turn the high-rise into a giant fireworks display.

    A video, which captured the attention of the Web, shows an eye-popping performance that was accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra playing on the Burj Steps, an arena-style venue extending from the building. Fireworks, which were also set off elsewhere around Dubai, appeared around and on top of the skyscraper.

    The tower is used to fame—it had itsHollywood moment in the movie Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, when Tom Cruise scaled it from the outside.

    Even if you couldn’t afford a $4,300 window-side table at the restaurant on the 122nd floor, aptly named Atmosphere, to catch the show up close, there was plenty to take in from the ground. Close to a million people on the street watched what organizers called “arguably the best display on the

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  • Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village
    Jewish community 'forced out' of Guatemalan village

    A community of 230 Orthodox Jews from several countries Thursday began leaving the Guatemalan Indian village where they have lived for six years after claims and counterclaims of discrimination and threats. Their exit from San Juan La Laguna, on the banks of Lake Atitlan and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital Guatemala City, follows a meeting Wednesday in which Jewish and indigenous representatives failed to reach an agreement. "We are a people of peace and in order to avoid an incident we've already begun to leave the village," Misael Santos, a representative from the Jewish community, told AFP. Most members of the small Jewish community are from the United States, Israel, Britain and Russia, and around 40 are Guatemalan.

  • IS executes scores of Syrian troops in new atrocity
    IS executes scores of Syrian troops in new atrocity

    Islamic State jihadists boasted Thursday they had executed scores of Syrian troops after capturing a key air base, the latest in a string of abuses that have shocked the world. News of the killings came as US President Barack Obama weighed air strikes on IS positions in Syria and edged closer to greenlighting a mission to aid Shiite Turkmen trapped in an Iraqi town besieged by the jihadists. It also came as rival Islamist rebels led by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front seized 43 UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights, part of a mission that has monitored an armistice between Syrian and Israeli troops on the strategic plateau for decades. Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that IS had executed at least 160 soldiers, among some 500 who had made a desperate bid to escape to government-held territory after their defeat last Sunday.

  • 43 UN peacekeepers seized in Syrian Golan Heights
    43 UN peacekeepers seized in Syrian Golan Heights

    Syrian armed groups, some of whom are linked to Al-Qaeda, captured 43 UN peacekeepers on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Thursday and surrounded 81 others, the UN said. The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage near the Quneitra crossing, but 81 Filipino blue helmets "held their ground" and refused to disarm, the Filipino defense department said. "This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time, as UN officials try to peacefully resolve the situation," said the statement from Manila. Fiji army chief Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the captured peacekeepers were all safe, and asked people in the Pacific nation to pray that they are released unharmed.

  • Rob Ford resurgent in Toronto mayor race; but new claims emerge

    By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has gained ground on challengers heading into an election this fall, according to a poll released on Thursday, but the boost was coupled with fresh claims about inappropriate behavior. The city's Catholic school authority released documents alleging that Ford had threatened a teacher, turned up late and inebriated to an important practice, swore at his players and made them roll in animal feces while working as a volunteer head football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. The allegations have not been proven in court and Ford did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.

  • 10 fascinating facts about the “I Have A Dream” speech
    10 fascinating facts about the “I Have A Dream” speech

    It was 51 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech as part of the March on Washington. So how much do you know about the speech, and the events that led up to it?

  • Couple Saves Chubby Prairie Dog from Hole in Road
    Couple Saves Chubby Prairie Dog from Hole in Road

    If you drive a car, you've seen roadkill on occasion. But how often do you actually see a "road rescue"? This save from danger might be one of a kind. A couple driving along a rural road on the Olkhon Island of Russia discovered a cute and chubby prairie dog in need of some immediate assistance.

  • Volcano erupts in PNG, spewing ash and rock: officials
    Volcano erupts in PNG, spewing ash and rock: officials

    A volcano erupted Friday in eastern Papua New Guinea, spewing rocks and ash into the air, forcing the evacuation of local communities and international flights to be re-routed, officials said. Mount Tavurvur, which destroyed the town of Rabaul when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan in 1994, rumbled to life early in the morning on the tip of the remote island of New Britain. "The eruption started slow and slowly developed in a Strombolian (low level) eruption with incandescent projections accompanied by explosion noises and ongoing loud roaring and rumbling noises," the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said. The Australian government issued a warning against travelling to the area, while flag carrier Qantas re-routed some flights to avoid the ash cloud.

  • Why Wall Street is in love with Lending Club
    Why Wall Street is in love with Lending Club

    Yahoo Finance's Aaron Pressman and Lauren Lyster discuss the business model of Lending Club.

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