PRACHIN BURI, Thailand (Reuters) - "Giggling bread" and "joyfully dancing salad" aren't the usual dishes on a menu in Thailand, but one eatery is hoping its cannabis-infused cuisine can lure foreign tourists and take the taboo out of the recently legalised leaf. The restaurant at the Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachin Buri started serving its own happy meals this month, after Thailand de-listed cannabis as a narcotic, allowing state-authorised firms to cultivate the plant. "Cannabis leaves, when put in the food or even a small amount ... it will help the patient to recover faster from the illness," said Pakakrong Kwankao, the project leader at the hospital.
One hundred years ago on Sunday, illusionist P.T. Selbit put a woman in a box on the stage of London's Finsbury Park Empire and sawed right through the wood, creating a magical classic. Now, 100 years on, magicians from around the world will be getting together online this weekend to celebrate the centenary of that landmark performance. "This took off and became the most influential and the most famous illusion, in my opinion, that there's ever been," said magician and historian Mike Caveney who is writing a book on the illusion.
Britons arriving in the Netherlands since the start of the year have found that leaving the European Union might have cost them more than they realised, including their lunch. Ferry passengers have had ham sandwiches and tinned sardines confiscated by customs officials at Dutch ports, due to strict rules on the import of meat, fruit, vegetables and fish from outside the EU. "Do you have meat on all the bread?", a Dutch customs officer asks a man who has just arrived in the port of Hook of Holland, as he holds up his foil-wrapped sandwich.
A South Korean startup has developed an AI-powered dog collar that can detect five emotions in canines by monitoring their barks using voice recognition technology. The Petpuls collar can tell pet owners through a smartphone application if their dogs are happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad. It also tracks dogs' physical activity and rest.
A shawarma shop in Moscow was forced to close a day after it opened following an outcry over its provocative Josef Stalin-themed branding, the shop's owner told Reuters on Saturday. The Stalin Doner shop featured a portrait of the controversial Communist leader above its front door. Inside, a man dressed in the Stalin-era security service uniform served customers meat wraps named after Soviet leaders.
Being tall is the giraffe's competitive advantage, giving it the pick of leaves from the tallest trees, so scientists were stunned to find two giraffe dwarves on different sides of Africa. "It's fascinating what our researchers out in the field found," Julian Fennessy, co-founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, told Reuters in a videocall on Friday. Three years earlier, they had also found a 9-foot 3-inch (2.8 metre) giraffe in a Ugandan wildlife park.
A Danish animated children's TV show about a man with the superpower of an infinitely extendable penis has divided opinion among parents and politicians in Denmark. The show, "John Dillermand" - which roughly translates as 'John Pee-Pee' - has aired on state broadcaster DR since late December. Even in famously progressive Denmark, not everyone is happy.
German pilot Samy Kramer has traced a giant syringe in the sky, flying 200 kilometers to remind people about the start of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Europe. The 20-year-old pilot mapped out the route he would need to take on a GPS device before taking to the skies near Lake Constance in southern Germany. "There are still relatively many people opposing the vaccination and my action may be a reminder for them to think about the topic, to get things moving", Kramer told Reuters TV on Sunday, adding that his flight should not be understood as a direct call to be inoculated.
People looking for a bit of Christmas merriment in the Colombian capital might find it in an unexpected place: the front seat of a taxi, in the form of a costumed canine co-pilot. Taxi driver Nicolas Walteros and his beloved dog Colonel take passengers around the city together, dressed in matching green Santa tops and hats, aviator sunglasses and a fluffy fake beard resting on the pup's blonde snout. "We're showing people a Christmas of hope where there's not just material things but what's in people's hearts," said Walteros, 52, as he and the pooch cruised around crowded, high-altitude Bogota two days before Christmas, their vehicle decked out in fake pine boughs.
Santa Claus, vaccinated against COVID-19 and free of quarantine restrictions mere mortals face, was making his annual jaunt across the globe on Christmas Eve and being tracked by the U.S. and Canadian military, officials said on Thursday. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, said Santa was vaccinated against COVID-19 and could travel without risk of infection. The director of Maine's public health department said on Thursday his agency received a lab report from the North Pole confirming that Santa had antibodies and was negative for the virus.
Visitors to an aquarium in Thailand got a big surprise this week when Santa Claus swam by, carrying a sack full of food and surrounded by shoals of curious fish. The basement aquarium in the Bangkok shopping mall was the last place families were expecting to see Father Christmas, equipped with fins, oxygen tank and a dive mask. Children hopped up and down and pointed excitedly, mesmerised by a Santa in a floppy red hat waving while floating above the coral and circled by angelfish.
Santa Claus gave his sleigh and reindeer a break on Wednesday and rode elephants in Thailand during a special Christmas visit aimed at raising awareness about the threat of the coronavirus. White-bearded handlers in floppy hats and Santa outfits sat atop elephants decked out in tinsel and trunk masks in the central province of Ayutthaya, distributing protective masks in baskets to schoolchildren, motorcyclists and drivers passing by. This year, the pachyderms were social distancing, staying outside the schools and used their trunks to offer the face masks in baskets instead.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was slapped with a $3,500 fine on Friday after posing for a selfie on the beach with a bystander without wearing a mask as required during the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities said. Chile has strict rules on mask wearing in all public places and violations are punishable with sanctions that include fines and even jail terms.
The blood of San Gennaro, the patron of Naples, failed to liquefy despite two rounds of praying by the faithful, which some in the southern Italian city see as an omen of bad things to come. A vial containing the dried blood of the fourth-century martyr is put on public display three times a year in the city's cathedral and the faithful pray for its liquefaction, known as the "Miracle of San Gennaro".
Shuhei Okawara's masks won't protect you or others against the virus. The masks will go on sale early next year for 98,000 yen ($950) apiece at his Tokyo shop, Kamenya Omote, whose products are popular as accessories for parties and theatrical performance. Okawara chose his model, whom he paid 40,000 yen, from more than 100 applicants who sent him their photos when he launched the project in October.
Edmonton-based Derek Prue Sr was inspired to get inked after noticing his son did not want to take off his shirt when he went swimming. "I knew he was self-conscious and that made me want just to show him that he wasn't the only one, like, we both have the same mark," Prue said. Prue unveiled the surprise to his son, also named Derek, as he played in a hotel pool earlier this month.
Want to look good for a Zoom meeting but don't want to get too dressed up? A Japanese apparel company has created a "Pajamas Suit" that's meant to resemble office attire but feel as snug as sleepwear. Aoki Holdings is marketing the navy, beige, black and dark grey suits for both men and women to teleworkers as "more than pajamas and less than fashionable clothes."
Yu Yuguang's heart beats faster every time he stands on his roof, eyes trained to the sky waiting for one of his pigeons to pass through the trap door of its home loft. "Those are the most intense and enjoyable moments of a pigeon race," says Yu, 57, adding that the sport is like playing the lottery. "Little Ancestor", his 7-month-old pigeon, came first in a recent Chinese Racing Pigeon Association race, beating more than 4,800 competitors and completing a journey of just over 1,000 km from Langfang, near the Chinese capital Beijing, to Shanghai in a record time of 16 hours, 24 minutes and 54 seconds.
The spread of the novel coronavirus may have slowed economies and closed many businesses worldwide, but it hasn't been a damper on a newly opened Tokyo sauna that caters to solo customers. The Finnish-style sauna rooms at Solo Sauna Tune, where customers can relax in solitude and enjoy the heat from water over hot stones, are so popular they are booked up within hours. Although the idea for the business came before the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic and the social distancing it brought have been a big boost, said co-founder Daisuke Kawase.
Wang Liutai is no ordinary kung fu master. The 65-year-old from a village in central China practises a unique and excruciating-looking strand of martial arts coined "iron crotch kung fu". Its most famous technique involves a steel-plate capped log, 2 metres (6.5 feet) in length and weighing 40 kilograms (88 pounds) that swings through the air and smashes into a man's crotch.
Argentine Javier Parisi has been a mega fan of the Beatles since the age of eight - forming a tribute band, playing at Liverpool's Cavern Club, and promoting a biography in Spanish. Fans around the world have been remembering Lennon and his music this week, 40 years after he was shot dead in New York. Parisi - who is 40 years old - first realized his striking similarity to the Beatle as a teenager.
Named for the peregrine falcon, the Hayabusa2 blasted off for the asteroid Ryugu in December 2014, overcoming an unexpectedly rough landing surface to collect samples of asteroid dust in a capsule. The final stage of its journey was by truck to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) research centre outside Tokyo, where it was greeted by a crowd of excited researchers. The Hayabasa2 orbited above Ryugu for a few months before landing, then used small explosives to blast a crater and collected the resulting debris, with the expectation that some 100 milligrams may have been gathered.
Dana Friedman, whose law office is a block from the World Trade Center in New York, started out by wanting to give thanks to first responders after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "Well, you're fat enough, so why don't you get into a Santa suit?" he recalled. Within two days, Friedman bought a Santa suit and started making rounds in hospitals and orphanages.
Several years ago, a young Egyptian man abandoned his degree in archaeology to hunt scorpions in the country's deserts and shores, extracting their venom for medicinal use. At just 25 years old, Mohamed Hamdy Boshta is now the owner of the Cairo Venom Company - a project housing 80,000 scorpions in various farms across Egypt as well as a range of snakes, also kept for their venom. Caught using a coloured UV light, the scorpions are exposed to a tiny electric current to stimulate the release of the venom, one gram of which can produce between 20,000 and 50,000 doses of antivenom.
Since mid-November, shining metal monoliths have suddenly appeared - and then vanished - in the strangest locations, from the Utah desert to a Romanian mountainside. Now one has popped up outside a Pittsburgh candy store. Capitalizing on the intrigue surrounding the other monoliths and hoping to provide a distraction from the daily drumbeat of COVID-19 news, the owner of Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop, Christopher Beers, commissioned a 10-foot tall, 24-inch wide triangle of plywood covered in sheet metal.
“If you’re looking to win elections, it is probably best not to urge your supporters not to vote.”
“Warnock’s portrayal of himself as a dog lover, a means of overcoming white suspicions of Black men, smacked of pure genius.”
“Trump has done damage to the Republican brand among suburban voters that goes well beyond just races where he is on the ballot.”
“Once more, Democrats must profusely thank activist Stacey Abrams.”
“Overall, demographic trends show that the state’s electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year.”