Anthology

Sinkhole opens up in front of Trump’s estate

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The hole appeared on the road just outside the National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, where the Trump Organisation operates a private club.

The Palm Beach Post reported that the 1m radius hole appeared on Monday to the west of one the resort’s entrances.

It is near a new water main and isn’t a threat to the President’s property, Palm Beach County authorities said.

Donald Trump
Image:Donald Trump has spent seven weekends at the resort since he took office in January

Among the guests who have stayed are Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The resort has now closed for the summer.

Mr Trump bought the estate in 1985 for $10m and embarked on a multimillion dollar improvement programme.

Each of the club’s 500 members pays $14,000 annually in dues after paying an initiation fee, which currently stands at $200,000.

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Dutch king’s double life as an airline pilot

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For 21 years, King Willem-Alexander has taken to the skies twice a month to ferry passengers around on short-haul services for the Dutch airline KLM.

Although travellers may have recognised the monarch’s voice as he updated them on weather conditions and their time of arrival, the royal’s presence was never revealed.

The fleet of smaller Fokker 70 planes flown by the king are now being phased out by KLM, meaning he needs to take time out to retrain and learn to fly Boeing 737s.

The 50-year-old royal described his casual flights as a “hobby” – and said occasionally being able to leave his royal duties behind to concentrate on flying was “relaxing”.

The father-of-three says he has no plans to learn how to fly a bigger aircraft, as flights which involve an overnight stop mean he “cannot get back in time to the Netherlands in case of an emergency”.

On staying incognito, he told De Telegraaf newspaper: “The advantage is that I can always say I am speaking on behalf of the captain and crew to welcome them on board, so I don’t have to say my name.

“But then, most people don’t listen anyway.”

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Land Rover sinks in sand ‘as driver takes photos’

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Police and a tow company were called to Island Beach State Park in New Jersey on Tuesday.

The male driver, said to be aged around 20, had earlier tried to dig the vehicle out with a shovel, with little success.

Video filmed by passer-by Christopher Gillich shows waves hitting the vehicle before it was pulled to safety.

Mr Gillich said a passenger “had asked to go down by the water to take a photo so the kids drove down there and stopped”.

It was then he said the car started to be sucked into the ground until eventually it “couldn’t sink anymore” because the “frame was buried in the sand”.

Officials said the driver was not issued with a summons as he had a mobile sportfishing permit, which allows him to operate a four-wheel drive vehicle on fishing beaches.

Witnesses said the driver insisted on driving the vehicle away despite the engine making strange sounds.

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Buzz off! Bee swarm sparks London standstill

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Commuters stopped in their tracks as the swarm filled the air in Greenwich Church Street, close to Greenwich market, on Tuesday evening.

Many shared videos of the unusual scene on social media, while Transport for London posted a photograph of the bees resting on traffic lights.

Abigail Hering, who runs a nearby jewellery shop, described the swarm as “absolutely crazy”.

The swarm filled the air on Greenwich Church Street
Image:The swarm filled the air on Greenwich Church Street

She said she could initially hear an “underlying hum”, adding: “It was just literally swarming, above the cars around the one-way system.”

The swarm stayed for at least an hour, with onlookers shocked at the “hideous” sight, she said.

Ms Hering said: “Millions of them on the traffic lights. And then at that point they’d come lower so they were actually buzzing around the people.

“And while I was videoing them I looked down and I could see literally the front of me covered in bees.

Beekeeper Phil Clarkson uses a portable hive to capture a swarm of bees at Greenwich Church Street
Image:A beekeeper uses a portable hive to capture the swarm

“They were on me. They were on everybody. They were in your hair, on your top.”

The swarm later subsided after beekeeper Phil Clarkson and his wife Tracey used a mobile hive to collect many of the insects.

Mr Clarkson, who placed the mobile hive on top of his car, said the swarm possibly came from Greenwich Park.

He said: “Nobody was stung here today.

A beekeeper uses a portable hive to capture the swarm
Image:Witnesses said the bees swarmed in Greenwich for more than an hour

“People did get a bit nervous, and they were quite concerned understandably.

“But then when we talked to people and explained to them that actually a swarm is very benign, the likelihood of getting stung is very, very rare, and in most cases it’s only when people swat them or squash them on their body that the bee will sting them.

“They’re very calm and very docile when they’re swarming.”

Asked about how common a swarm of this kind is, Mr Clarkson said: “At this time of the year it’s quite common, but it is rare to get them to land on such things as traffic lights.”

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China: Sing the anthem – but only at this speed

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A law is being prepared to set the tempo at which the ballad should be played and sung, with consequences for those who put the anthem in a “damaging situation”.

Concerns have been growing that the patriotic number, called March Of The Volunteers, is “not universally respected and cherished”.

State media has reported on recent “chaos” where people have laughed as the song was played, with others making a ruckus.

“Due to a lack of legal constraints, the national anthem is casually used and sung in an unsolemn manner,” the Xinhua news agency claimed.

From 2014, the anthem has been reserved for diplomatic occasions and sporting events
Image:Since 2014, the anthem has been reserved for diplomatic occasions and sporting events

China already has laws restricting the use of its national flag and national emblem, but aside from a ban in adverts there are no laws protecting the national anthem.

In 2014, Beijing set out regulations which allowed the song to only be used during major sporting events and formal diplomatic occasions – making the anthem off limits to various forms of “private entertainment”.

Written in 1935, March Of The Volunteers was officially adopted as China’s national anthem in 1982.

The buoyant, military-minded song calls on the Chinese people to “arise” and “march on” towards the establishment of a new nation.

The draft bill is expected to be submitted for its first reading next month.

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‘Darth Vader’ sparks armed police alert at school

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Officers arrived at Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, after a parent called to say they had seen someone walking through a back door carrying a bag and wearing what looked like body armour and a mask.

Students were evacuated and another nearby school was placed on lockdown as armed officers searched the area.

But the alert ended when officers realised the suspected assailant was a child who had dressed up for Star Wars Day – an annual celebration observed by fans of the sci-fi franchise.

The student dressed up for Star Wars Day
Image:Another nearby school was also placed on lockdown

Police captain Jody Crocker said the parent was right to call the emergency services.

He said: “The saying ‘If you see something, say something’ certainly applies to this and we always encourage people to report suspicious activity.

“The outfit actually looked like he wearing a bullet-proof vest or a flak jacket.

“Coupled with wearing that mask and walking into the back door of the school (it) made a person very concerned.”

The school's headteacher said the evacuation was 'a learning experience'
Image:The school’s headteacher said the evacuation was ‘a learning experience’

:: Star Wars: All we know about what is to come

He added that the student would not be punished “as it has been determined that this was merely a mistake or lapse in judgement”.

School headteacher Brian Nelson said he would speak to students about the incident as costumes “are not part of the dress code”.

He said: “We’ll move forward from this and make it a learning experience for our students so we don’t have to repeat this.”

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Oz MP knocks himself out laughing at Veep

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Graham Perrett, a federal Labor MP in Queensland, was eating sushi at home while watching the American political satire and “laughed at the wrong time” – causing him to choke on his dinner.

He said he ran from his living room and “somehow hit the edge of my kitchen island”, knocking himself out.

The 51-year-old was left with cuts to his face, a black eye and required three stitches in hospital.

Mr Perrett said the choking fit happened while he was watching a scene that was “totally politically incorrect but very amusing”.

“It was very bad, a lot of pain and not much fun,” he told ABC.

“My wife is still laughing…saying ‘you’re ridiculous'”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepts her award for the Best Actress in a Comedy Series for VEEP during the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017
Image:Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she was ‘having a hard time believing it’

The MP added that he described the accident to hospital staff as he believed “they were concerned that there was an issue”.

He said: “When I explained it to them I said it was a freak accident.

“Be careful if you’re eating watching a very funny TV show!”

Veep, created by Armando Iannucci, is in its sixth season on Sky Atlantic.

Veep cast members reacted with surprise to reports of the accident, with lead star Julia Louis-Dreyfus joking on Twitter she was “having a hard time believing it”.

Mr Perrett responded to confirm it happened, adding: “Pure gold, your highness!”

Louis-Dreyfus, who is best known as Elaine in Seinfeld, replied: “Well, thank you very much.

“Take good care of yourself and for God’s sakes – be careful!”

Responding to reports of the accident, co-star Timothy Simons tweeted: “Hahahahahahaha oh my god, oh my god.”

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‘Muddy’ jeans for men on sale for £330

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The new product is apparently aimed at those with plenty of cash, as the retailer pockets a cool $425 (£330) for each pair.

The firm’s website describes the jeans as typifying ‘rugged, Americana workwear’ and ‘hard-working action… that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty’.

Some reviewers, however, have not given them a clean bill of health, including the host of TV show Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe.

“Finally – a pair of jeans that look like they have been worn by someone with a dirty job… made for people who don’t. And you can have your very own pair for just $425,” Rowe wrote in a Facebook post that was shared thousands of times.

“The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic – not iconic.”

Another review wrote: “This is a joke, right? Do you also sell jeans covered in cow manure? Oh, that must be the deluxe model.”

But not everyone was so dismissive.

“What’s the beef about buying mud jeans?” one commentator said on Twitter. “If someone can afford $400 for a pair of dirty jeans, so what? Go for it!”

The chain is no stranger to pushing fashion boundaries, launching jeans with ‘knee windows’ last month – but for a far cheaper $95 (£74).

If you fancy giving the idea a leg-up by investing in a pair, beware of the strict cleaning instructions – machine wash cold, line dry only.

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Rare rhino goes on Tinder to highlight crisis

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Sudan, the world’s last surviving male animal of his kind, is described as loving the outdoors and enjoying travel.

His listing says: “I don’t mean to be too forward, but the fate of my species literally depends on me.

“I perform well under pressure. I like to eat grass and chill in the mud. No problems. 6ft tall and 5,000 pounds if it matters.”

His owner, the Ol Pejeta conservation refuge in Kenya, hopes to raise awareness of the precarious position the species is in.

Sudan's page on the dating app Tinder
Image:Sudan’s page on the dating app Tinder

But it also hopes to raise cash for an artificial insemination programme that may allow Sudan to have the children he has so far been unable to.

The $9m they need would pay to get Sudan’s sperm to fertilise eggs provided by the two last surviving female white rhinos, either 17-year-old Satu or 27-year-old Najin.

If Sudan’s sperm cannot be used, they will use stored semen from another dead animal.

The resulting embryo would then be implanted in a surrogate southern white rhino, a much more common species.

A northern white rhino called Sudan
Image:Sudan is 43, which is ancient for a white rhino

Sudan is 43, which is ancient for a white rhino, and keepers fear he may die or be killed before he can find a mate.

He is in such danger because white rhino horn costs up to £50,000 a kilo – something that has led the species to the brink of extinction.

Just hours after Sudan went online, the webpage crashed due to the number of hits.

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Rare US Declaration manuscript found in Sussex

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The document was discovered in the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester, where staff had been unaware of its significance.

The original Declaration proclaimed the first 13 colonies free from British rule and was signed in Philadelphia on 4 July, 1776 – now America’s Independence Day.

Harvard University researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen made the discovery while compiling records for a database.

It began in August 2015, when they stumbled on a simple one-line entry in the office’s catalogue: “Manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America.”

They thought it would probably be a 19th century reproduction – but it turned out to be a “big mystery” and far more significant than they imagined.

Now christened the ‘Sussex Declaration’, it measures the same size as the original, 24in by 30in, but has been written horizontally.

The original Declaration, as well as the Constitution and Bill of Rights are in Washington
Image:The original Declaration, as well as the Constitution and Bill of Rights are in Washington

It also does away with the state by state signature groupings of the original, and all the names are written by a single clerk.

The researchers discovered it was deposited along with other papers by the so-called “Radical Duke”, the Third Duke of Richmond, Charles Lennox.

He earned his nickname because of his support for the Americans during the revolution.

Exactly when and why it came to England is still unknown.

“While the parchment may have moved to the UK in the 1780s or 1790s, when the Third Duke could have received it, it is also possible that it moved to the UK only after 1836,” the researchers said.

The mystery could deepen as text appears to have been scraped away at the top of the document.

Hyper-spectral imaging is planned in conjunction with the British Library in the hope of revealing what was written.

Supreme Court Justice James Wilson, one of six people to sign both the US Constitution and the Declaration, is believed to be the most likely person behind the copy.

Professor Allen added: “This one was produced a decade later (than the original) with the signed parchment as its source, as part of the fight between federalists and anti-federalists about whether the new republic was founded on the authority of a single, united sovereign people or on the authority of 13 separate state governments.

“The federalists were making the first argument and this document appears to have been produced to support their case.

“It illuminates the politics of the 1780s in a flash.”

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