Former Khmer Rouge Child Soldier Has Spent the Last Two Decades Cleaning Cambodia of Mines, Alone and without Protection

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Modern Cambodian hero Aki Ra has made it his life’s mission to rid his nation of land mines. The one-man army spends most of his day chopping vegetation in fields and delicately prodding the areas that set off his metal detector. More often than not, he uncovers hockey-puck sized antipersonnel land mines, and destroys them with a controlled explosion. “I want to make my country safe for my people,” he said.

There was a time when Cambodia was plagued by over six million land mines buried underground in paddy fields and lush jungles, ready to indiscriminately murder soldiers and innocent children alike. The devices were once used by the nation’s warring factions, including the notorious Khmer Rouge, to finish their enemies.

Aki Ra, who used to be a child soldier for Khmer Rouge, has spent over 22 years of his life single-handedly removing land mines that were left behind unexploded. Between 1992 and 2007, he was able to rid his homeland of a whopping 50,000 mines, armed with nothing but a pocket knife, pliers, a stick, and his bare hands.

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At This Chinese Restaurant Good-Looking People Eat for Free

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Who needs money when you have a pretty face, right?. At Jeju Island, a Korean eatery in Zhengzhou city, China, people are allowed to dine at no charge if they happen to be among the five most beautiful patrons of the day. Hanging outside the establishment last Saturday was a bold sign that stated: “Free Meal for Goodlooking”.

If you think the practice is bizarre, wait till you hear who the judges are – a panel of local plastic surgeons! All those hoping to earn a free meal are taken to a ‘beauty identification area’, where they are photographed. The doctors then evaluate the potential diners on the quality of their faces, eyes, noses, and mouths.

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Meet Philly Jesus – The Former Drug Addict Who Became a “Walking Billboard for the King of Kings”

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Once a heroin addict, young Michael Grant managed to turn his life around and become Philly Jesus, one of Philadelphia’s most iconic characters. Since April last year, the 28-year-old has been hanging out at LOVE park, in Center City, dressed as Jesus Christ. “I’m not the real Jesus,” he admits upfront. “I’m just a huge fan. I’m doing it as a walking billboard for the King of Kings.”

Every day, Grant walks seven miles to LOVE Park, carrying with him a 12-foot wooden cross with wheels at the bottom that he made himself. “This is my way of letting my light shine, by carrying a cross in the ‘hood’,” he explained. “This is my way of sharing Jesus without preaching a blow horn and condemning people. It’s like making a statement. When they look at me, I don’t want them to see Michael, I want them to see Jesus.”

Grant, who was raised in a Catholic family, is the older of two brothers. His mother says that he was always a creative child, did theater and loved drawing. He even went to a clown school, where he learned to juggle knives and torches. “He liked people’s reactions, so he always liked reaching people that way,” she said.

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Guy Quits Office Job to Become Professional Zombie

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When 26-year-old Alex Noble realied that his job in finance was taking the life out of him, he decided to quit and pursue a career with the undead. The horror fan from Cardiff now works as a professional zombie – in case you’re wondering, that is a real job.

Alex explained that he has always been interested in zombies. For five years, he worked as a zombie extra in films, TV, and games. He mostly worked for free, but the experience finally paid off when he was offered a position at Slingshot, the company that runs the zombie chase game ‘2.8 Hours Later’.

“People started noticing me, because I was doing things differently,” he said. “I had a niche look and I was doing the movements and noises differently.”

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At China’s Most Hardcore High-School Teachers Employ Army-Style Tactics to Best Educate Students

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Tucked away in the mountains of China’s Anhui province, in the sleepy little town of Mao Tan Chang, is one of the world’s most intense educational institutions. Over 20,000 students (that’s four times the local population) at Mao Tan Chang High School study day and night with very little rest to prepare for the gaokao, a highly competitive national college entrance exam.

Most of these students come from rural areas as their parents know that acing the dreaded gaokao could open up a host of opportunities, allowing them to escape a farmer’s life. Mao Tan Chang helps them achieve their goals by creating an environment that encourages serious study, and little else. The school’s strategy is simple – everything that isn’t related to academics is banned.

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Whiz Kids Use Imaginary Abacus to Solve Complex Math Calculations

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In a highly impressive display of mental prowess, young South Asian children are able to solve complex math calculations within seconds simply by flicking their fingers through thin air. Their secret tool –  an imaginary abacus.

News reports on the Mind Mathlon 2014 program held at the Robotics Lab of the Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship in March described young children raising and flicking their fingers to keep track of long series of numbers and solve calculations with mind-blowing accuracy.  They were apparently taught to use their hands as the beads of an abacus – an ancient calculating tool – to add and subtract at the speed of a calculator.

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Homeless Bodybuilder Uses the Streets of Paris as His Gym

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50-year-old Sayagh Jacques has a rather unusual hobby for a homeless man – bodybuilding. Although he’s been living on the streets of Paris for years, he hasn’t let his homeless status stop him from training harder than most people, and maintaining his six pack abs. I suppose it goes to show that if you’re really passionate about something, you can make it happen under any circumstances.

Jacques has no qualms about working out right in the middle of the street. When people give him money, he doesn’t use it to smoke or drink. Instead, he tries to eat specific foods that will help him gain muscle. He’s also managed to procure a few pieces of makeshift equipment – a cable and a few ropes – that he ties to lamp poles and park fences. He uses these to do basic bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups, pullovers and rows.

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Chinese Zoo Puts Visitors in Metal Cages, Lets Animals Roam Free

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The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo in China’s Chongqing City has put a spin on the usual zoo visit experience – people pay to be locked in cages, while hungry lions and tigers roam free around them. The thrilling experience is meant to show visitors what it’s like to come face-to-face with predators, instead of just viewing them from a safe distance.

The service has proved to be hugely popular, and tickets have been sold out for the next three months. Visitors are apparently forking over their cash just to be caged in the back of a truck as it ambles around the park. To make the experience more exciting, huge chunks of raw meat are tied to the bars of the cage on the outside, just to catch the attention of the beasts and draw them closer.

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Child Spas Make Girls as Young as 7 Look Even Younger

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Only a generation ago, little girls had to beg their moms just to put on make-up for a special occasion. But things have changed quite drastically since then. Moms these days are actually pampering their daughters at kiddy spas with custom-made packages to suit their needs. And believe it or not, some of these girls are as young as seven!

Whoever heard of a seven-year-old needing a massage, right? But the demand is apparently so great that the spa industry has really begun to target children in a big way. Adult spas are adding separate menus of services for little girls, and most major cities in the US have day spas that are meant exclusively for children. Manicures, pedicures, hairdos, makeup, oil rubs and even custom-sized robes are made available to clients, who are often too young to have had their first pimple.

According to the International Spa Association, industry trends indicate that 25 percent of the approximately 20,000 spas in the US now offer services that are specifically meant for the under-13 set. They offer kid-friendly music, banana-scented facials, and age-appropriate vocabulary – customers are ‘princesses’ and toes are referred to as ‘pigglies’.

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Guy Travels 5,000 Miles to Meet Total Stranger That Facebook Suggested He Would Like

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While most people tend to ignore Facebook’s friend suggestions, this Belgian student actually traveled all the way to Austin, Texas to meet up with a stranger just because the social network’s algorithm suggested they become friends!

24-year-old Victor Van Rossem was intrigued when Facebook displayed 49-year-old as a ‘suggested friend’, because they obviously had no connection other than a mutual acquaintance. “Facebook suggested we become friends, and I thought that was pretty absurd,” Victor said.

But as he spent time looking through Neal’s pictures, he became more and more interested in the artist’s life. “I became fascinated by him. He had a long beard and looked a little unusual. He did art performances and paintings of mythical creatures and strange beasts which only made me more interested in him.”

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Hospital Creates Fake Bar to Test New Anti-Drinking Drug

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Believe it or not, the hospital at National Institutes of Health in Washington now has a fully stocked bar! Well, don’t worry, the bar is fake and all the bottles are actually filled with colored water. The whole setup is a part of an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new anti-drinking drug. The dimly lit replica bar is designed to amplify the alcohol craving of test participants in order to determine if the pill is able to counter the urge to drink.

“The goal is to create almost a real-world environment, but to control it very strictly,” said Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, lead researcher of the project. He revealed that the pill contains a hormone called ghrelin that is believed to increase appetite for food and perhaps inhibit the desire for alcohol.

NIH’s bar lab is one of about a dozen other versions in the US that are focused on experimenting with ghrelin. The hormone is produced by the stomach, and controls appetite via receptors in the brain. Researchers have discovered an overlap between receptors that fuel overeating and those that encourage alcohol cravings in the body. Dr. Leggio is now involved in testing whether blocking ghrelin’s actions also blocks those cravings, using an experimental drug that was originally developed for diabetes but never sold.

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UAE Company Creates Compression Suits for Camels

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If high quality sportswear can improve performance in human athletes, then it technically should work for animals as well. Testing this theory is UAE-based camel and horse luxury products company Al Shibla. They recently launched a line of lycra-style outfits for camels, and they claim that the bizarre product has already garnered tremendous interest among stable owners in the Middle East.

It’s true that compression suits are worn by race horses around the world to improve performance, but the owners of Al Shibla believe that camels deserve the very best in comfort clothing as well. “If it’s fitting the horse, why we don’t do it for the camel?” asked Anne Wolter, co-founder and head of research and development.

Made of soft, thick material that covers the body, the suits improve blood circulation by slightly constricting blood vessels. Worn before and after training, it increases blood and oxygen supply to the muscles, reducing the lactic acid build-up that causes cramping. The animal is covered entirely, except for the head and neck.

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Man Pays $460 for Surgery to Save Life of Constipated Pet Fish

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A devoted pet owner in England recently spent nearly $500 on a complicated surgery to save the life of his favorite goldfish. The unnamed man rushed his fish to the Toll Barn Veterinary Centre in Norfolk, when he noticed that it was struggling to eliminate waste. After a thorough examination, the staff at the center informed him that a delicate surgery costing £300 ($460) was required to save his pet. The man declined at first, but he soon changed his mind and 10 minutes later, the goldfish was wheeled into surgery.

29-year-old vet Faye Bethell was given the task of performing the 50-minute procedure, which involved carefully administering anaesthetic and using tiny instruments to carefully remove lumps from the fish’s backside. She said that the three-inch fish made a full recovery after the operation, but it could have died if left untreated.

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Chinese Athlete Has Sights Set on Butt Skipping Record

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Butt skipping is like a bizarre cousin of jumping rope – it involves bouncing up and down on your behind while twirling a rope underneath. The relatively lesser-known sport has gained prominence in south east Asia ever since a Japanese athlete took the world title in 2006. Now, Chinese gymnastics expert Yi Zhihua has set his heart on becoming the world champion.

20-year-old Zhihua wants to beat the world record of 166 butt skips in one minute and says he’s nearly accomplished the feat during training. “I’m up to 152 per minute – you have to get through the pain barrier but after that when your butt is numb you can really notch up the numbers,” he explained. “I am pretty certain I will have it cracked within the week and will start the New Year as the world champion.”

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Jack Daniels Names Newborn Son Jim Beam

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Giving babies weird names like ‘North West’ and ‘Blue Ivy’ has always been a celebrity thing, but it looks like ordinary people are joining in on the trend as well. The Leathers family from Louisiana for instance, name their kids after alcoholic beverages. Keeping up the tradition is new father ‘Jack Daniels’ Leathers, who has recently named his baby boy ‘Jim Beam’.

Jack, 31, and his wife Lydia, 23, said that they decided early-on in their relationship that they wanted to continue the whiskey-name tradition that Jack’s parents had started. “My parents decided they wanted to name their son something to make their parents mad,” Jack explained. “And, at the time, my dad was drinking Jack, which he enjoyed. My mom said, ‘Why not?’”

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