• Health

    Antarctic penguins in danger from human diseases, researchers say

    Scientists have long thought that animals in Antarctica were isolated from harmful human-linked bacteria, but a new study provides evidence that this is no longer the case. Previous studies had found scattered instances of transmission of bacteria from humans to animals, known as reverse zoonosis, in the region, but research remained fragmented. Now, however, researchers have found widespread evidence of human-linked pathogens among Antarctic seabirds for the first time — which they say could have devastating consequences for the continent’s wildlife. “This is the first time that such a wide-ranging study, in terms of geography and bird species, has been carried out in the Southern Ocean, which shows reasonably solid…

  • Listening

    President Trump and the First Lady Deliver Remarks at the Congressional Ball

    What a crowd. What power. What beautiful people. I see you all week, and now I have to see you once again to wish you a very, very merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy New Year. It’s been very, very special. We have so many members of Congress — (applause) — and we have our Cabinet, almost the entire Cabinet; members of the Supreme Court of the United States. And it has been something very special. We’ve done things that nobody would have thought possible. And I say it often — and I don’t get rebuked for saying it — but no administration has done more in the first two years…

  • Listening

    VOA news 2018-12-18 with transcript and audio

    VOA news. I’m Christopher Cruise reporting. Another day of big losses knocked U.S. stocks to their lowest levels in more than a year on Monday. Investors dumped high-growth technology and retail companies as well as steadier, high-dividend companies. Oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time since October, 2017. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 507 points. That followed a 496-point drop Friday. Fewer than 40 of the 500 stocks in the S&P 500 finished the day higher. A Senate report due to be released today says the Russian interference operation discovered after the 2017 election was much bigger than originally thought. Associated Press Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani…

  • Health

    Having two X chromosomes promotes survival

    When it comes to the secret of long life, the answer may be in your genes. Women live longer than men, a study suggests, because they are lucky enough to have two X chromosomes. It has been said women outlive men because of stronger immune systems and a tendency to smoke, drink and fight less. However, they also live longer in the animal kingdom and researchers now believe chromosomes are significant. Females have XX chromosomes and males have XY. But the Y chromosome does little except create men’s masculine features, like facial hair, while the X contains many of the genes related to the brain and survival. When scientists engineered…

  • Health

    Why your painkiller could still leave you suffering

    Britain is in the grip of a prescription pill epidemic, with millions of us regularly taking them — and becoming reliant on them — for pain. In fact, we’ve never been prescribed so many — official figures show almost 66 million painkillers were dispensed in 2017, up from 51.5 million in 2007. Dr Michael Dixon, a GP and the chair of the College of Medicine, a group of health professionals who champion non-drug alternatives, says pills are being used to ‘paper over the cracks in society’. ‘It’s horrific,’ he says. ‘Eleven per cent of the population is on drugs for pain, depression, anxiety or sleep. We have created a medicine-addicted…

  • Festivals

    British Schoolgirls at Risk of FGM During Christmas Break

    As many families prepare to holiday abroad during the festive season, British charities on Monday warned that girls taken overseas could be at risk of female genital mutilation. Known as FGM, female genital mutilation is a ritual that usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, including the clitoris. Some girls bleed to death or die from infections. Cutting affects an estimated 200 million girls worldwide and is a rite of passage in many societies, often with the aim of promoting chastity, with the highest prevalence in Africa and parts of the Middle East. An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have undergone FGM.…

  • Listening

    BBC news 2018-12-18 with transcript and audio

    BBC news with Joe Macintosh. Two studies prepared for the United States senate say Russian operatives used every major social media platform to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. Using data from the big tech firms, researchers found that tens of millions of Americans were exposed to Russian-backed propaganda. They said social media sites now pose threat to democracy. A cease fire is expected to come into force in the next half an hour in the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. At a UN sponsored peace talks last week, Houthi rebels who hold the city and Yemeni government agreed to hold fighting. Germany will pay compensation to survivors of the…

  • Travel

    Top 10 cities to visit in 2019

    With its modern design, 15 Michelin-starred restaurants and extremely bike-friendly culture, it’s no surprise that Denmark’s capital has topped Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2019 list. Copenhagen’s street food scene is booming on Refshaleøen, a former industrial area with a food and craft market, Reffen. Tivoli Gardens theme park (one of the world’s oldest) is offering a February winter season, says Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s editorial director. David Crystal, the British linguist and academic, has calculated that there are three times more people learning English than there are native speakers of the language. Why? There’s a new artificial ski slope and hiking area on top of a…

  • Festivals

    A quarter ‘don’t consider how to look after their children when hungover’

    Parents getting drunk at Christmas parties should book babysitters for the next day, experts have warned. Hungover parents could be putting their children’s safety at risk by trying to nurse their own aching head while looking after their young ones. A quarter of parents in the US said this isn’t something they normally consider but admitted they don’t limit how much they drink to try and avoid a hangover. And as people get older and drink less often they can forget how badly affected they will be until the next day, researchers said. Leaving children with a relative or having someone stay overnight at the house could be the safest…

  • Festivals

    All we want for Christmas is a CACTUS!

    Green, prickly and popping up in a living room near you, adorned with baubles, tinsel and twinkling lights . . . no, I’m not talking trees. For Christmas 2018, the nation’s greenery of choice is not the humble fir but the cactus. According to one national garden centre chain, cacti sales have ‘spiked’ by more than 50 per cent. Internet searches are rocketing (Google generates over 337 million results), while online retailer Amazon is selling 7ft ‘cactus Christmas trees’ for £70. Smaller versions are outstripping sales of traditional poinsettias and amaryllis as festive gifts. The Christmas craze for cacti — once only associated with dusty Westerns and even dustier garden…