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Chinese Company Fines Employees for Not Walking Enough

A Chinese real-estate company has been accused of taking a wrong approach to encouraging its employees to exercise. Workers claim that they have been fined 0.01 yuan for every step they failed to take to meet their monthly target of 180,000 steps.

Taking a set number of steps every day has become a big deal in China. Some health insurers use apps to track their clients’ daily walks, offering discounts on future plans if they meet their goals, and many schools reportedly require students to walk/exercise every day and routinely check the pedometer apps on their phones to ensure that they comply. Even private companies have jumped on the walking bandwagon, encouraging their workers to take a set number of steps per month, but if one recent news report is to be believed, some employers are taking things too far, opting to fine those who fail to reach the required target.

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Scientists Discover Frightening Species of Wasp That Turns Spiders into Zombies

The Amazon rainforest is home to many frightening creatures, like giant Anacondas, flesh-eating piranhas, just to name a couple, and now you can add a new one to the list, a species of wasp that lays its eggs on the abdomen of spiders and then hijacks their brain, essentially turning them into zombies.

The previously unknown wasp of the Zatypota genus was discovered by researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC) working in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. They documented its symbiotic relationship with a species of so called “social spiders” and recently published some truly terrifying findings in the Ecological Entomology scientific journal. This newly discovered wasp is apparently able to hijack the nervous system of its host, forcing it to leave its colony, which it otherwise rarely does, protect the wasps larva and ultimately get eaten alive. It essentially turns the social spider into a zombie-like drone that then does the wasp’s bidding.

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Indian Woman Has Allegedly Spent Every Day of the Last 20 Years in a Lake Due to Strange Disease

A 65-year-old woman from a village in India’s West Bengal has allegedly spent every day for the past two decades submerged up to her neck in the waters of a nearby lake, due to an unknown disease.

Before getting into this strange story, I have to disclose the fact that it is unverified. It went viral in Russia (of all places) last month, and I’ve been trying to find a credible source ever since. Unfortunately, I’ve had no luck. Apart from dozens of Russian news sites and a few dubious English blogs, I have found no mention of this woman anywhere. Normally, I wouldn’t even have bothered writing about something like this, but what really intrigued me about this story is that it comes with a video of this woman siting idly in a lake, all by herself, as other people look on from the shore. There’s definitely a story here, I just don’t know if it’s the one I’ve found. So if you’re reading this and can provide any credible insight about this news story, I’d love to hear from you. Anyway, here’s the Russian version:

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Japanese Boy Breaks Internet with His Incredibly Feminine Looks

A 15-year-old Japanese boy has been getting a lot of attention in his country and in neighboring South Korea for his unusually feminine looks and voice.

Idegami Baku’s meteoric rise to fame occurred late last month, when he became a finalist in Japan’s popular talent contest JUNON Super Boy. Organized by famous entertainment magazine JUNON, the Super Boy competition has been offering attractive boys aged between 13 and 28 the chance to fulfil their dreams of becoming singers, actors and television stars for the past 28 years. Baku didn’t win the competition, but if the online attention he’s been getting for the past couple of weeks is any indication, his future success in the entertainment business is guaranteed. But while his talent may have gotten him into the finals of JUNON Super Boy, people can’t stop talking about his looks. You see, Idegami looks more like a young girl than a boy, and he even sounds like one.

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Australian Families Living a Nightmare as Thousands of Bats Drop Dead in Their Yards Due to Heatwave

Dozens of families in and around the city of Cairns, in Australia, have been forced to temporarily abandon their homes after flying foxes started dropping dead on their properties due to the unbearable heat.

Cairns residents started reporting massive numbers of spectacled flying foxes dropping out of trees on Monday, when temperatures in Australia’s Queensland region rose to above 40 degrees Celsius. According to animal experts, the nocturnal mammals cannot sustain an internal temperature of over 40 degrees, and with no way to cool off, their organs start to shut down and they eventually die. Wildlife rescuers have been working around the clock, using using spray bottles and drippers too cool off and hydrate the helpless creatures, but there’s only so much they can do. The flying fox colonies in the Cairns area have already sustained heavy losses and the number of fatalities is expected to rise for as long as the heatwave continues. But apart from the environmental issues, the massive number of dead bats rotting away so close to people’s houses has now become a become a serious public health issue as well.

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Explosive Baby Gender Reveal Stunt Sparked Massive Wildfire That Took 800 Firefighters a Week to Put Out

When US Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey decided to reveal the gender of his soon-to-be-born baby to family and friends in an explosive fashion, he never imagined that his stunt would spark a 45,000 acre wildfire, but that’s exactly what it did.

The 37-yer-old Border Patrol agent planned to fire a shotgun at a target that would explode with either pink or blue powder, thus revealing the gender of his unborn child. There were a few things he didn’t really think through, though. First, he packed the target with a legal but highly explosive compound called Tannerite, for a more dramatic effect, and he also chose to place that target among dry grasses and mesquite trees. When Dickey fired his shotgun, blue smoke exploded from the target, revealing that his child was a boy, but there was no time to celebrate, as the explosion immediately ignited the surrounding the dry plants.

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Thief Steals Laptop, Sends Apologetic Email to Owner

A university student who recently had his laptop stolen allegedly received an apology email from the thief, in which the person tried to justify the crime by claiming that they were really poor.

The apologetic email went viral on Twitter after Birmingham-resident Stevie Valentine shared a screengrab of it captioned “So my flat mates laptop got stolen today, please pree what the thief sent him”. The thief starts off by writing that he/she is “very, very sorry” for stealing the laptop, and then tries to justify the crime by stating that he/she is “extremely poor” and “needed the money”. The alleged laptop thief then goes on to write that he/she could have also taken the victim’s phone and wallet, but chose not to. “I left your phone and wallet, so I hope that slightly makes up for something,” the email reads.

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Viral Video Shows Frozen Fish “Coming Back to Life” in Warm Water

A viral video that has been viewed over 50,000 times shows a fish being frozen in ice at a fish market in Japan and then seemingly brought back to life in a tub of warm water.

The video starts with the fish being submerged in a vat full of crushed ice and then cuts to a thermometer that indicates that the temperature inside the vat is -2.10 degrees Celsius. A man than takes the fish, which at this point looks frozen solid, and passes it to a man wearing a black suit who then puts it into a plastic tub filled with warm water. The video then cuts again, this time showing the same man grabbing the fish by its tail and trying to turn it under the stream of warm water, at which point the fish starts to move. Gasps of amazement and laughter can be heard from the people witnessing the ‘miracle’, before the video cuts forward once again, showing the fish thrashing around in the warm water, to prove that its movements are not just involuntary nerve spasms.

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Irish Football Club Fakes Player’s Death to Get Game Called Off

An amateur football club in Ireland has recently come under fire for faking the death of one of its players in order to have a match postponed.

Ballybrack FC was due to play Arklow Town in Ireland’s Leinster Senior League last Saturday, but the match was called off after Ballybrack representatives announced that one of the club’s foreign players, Spaniard Fernando Nuno la Fuente, had died in a terrible car accident. The entire league was stunned by the news, minutes of silence were held before the beginning of all the other matches, players wore black armbands in memory of la Fuente, and some teams even expressed their condolences on social media. But the shock of the player’s death paled in comparison to the shock of later learning that he hadn’t actually died, but simply traveled back to Spain.

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Exhausted Burglar Falls Asleep on the Job

Russian media recently reported the comical case of a burglar who last week broke into an office building in the city of Orenburg and then fell asleep in an office chair.

The botched burglary took place on November 20th, when a 36-year-old man fraudulently entered a private office building on Sharlykskoye Road, in Orenburg, by squeezing through a small window on the third floor. He then used a variety of tools, like screwdrivers, wire cutters, a hammer, a nail puller, and a bunch of keys, to break into several private company offices, looking for valuables. He had actually managed to find 140,000 rubles ($2,100) in cash, but instead of hurrying out of the building before being spotted, the mad decided to get a bit of rest and sat down in a leather chair. And that’s where police found him sleeping, several hours later.

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Chinese Scientist Claims to Have Created the World’s First Genetically Edited Babies

Chinese researcher He Jiankui recently shocked the entire world after revealing that he had altered the DNA of twin girl before birth, to make them immune to the HIV virus and AIDS. If his claims prove to be true, these twins would be the world’s first genetically-edited babies.

Professor He revealed his controversial genetic editing work earlier this week. In a video posted on YouTube, he claims to have used gene-editing tools to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in order to make a pair of twin girls, called Lulu and Nana, resistant to the HIV virus, should they ever come in contact with it. Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, the Chinese scientist defended his work and talked about the stigma attached to HIV/Aids in China. However, many of his peers believe that He Jiankui has gone too far, warning that meddling with the genome of an embryo could cause long-term problems not only for the individual, but entire future generations.

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Dutch Church Has Been Holding Service Continuously for Over a Month to Protect Refugee Family From Getting Deported

Over the last month, hundreds of pastors from all over the Netherlands have taken turns holding non-stop service at a Protestant church in the Hague, where a family of Armenian refugees scheduled for deportation has taken shelter. Dutch law prevents police from entering places of worship during prayers, and religious leaders are determined to continue the service for as long as it takes authorities to reconsider their decision.

The Tamrazyan family fled their native Armenia in 2009, after receiving death threats due to the father’s political activism. They sought asylum in the Netherlands and after going through a seven-year application process, a judge granted the family asylum. However, the Dutch Government successfully appealed that decision in court, and in September, Sasun Tamrazyan, his wife Anousche and their three children were officially notified that their asylum status had been lifted. No longer feeling safe in the asylum center they had been assigned to, the Tamrazyan family sought shelter at the Gereformeerde Kerk (GKV) church, in Katwijk, of which they had become members three years ago. They were welcome with open arms.

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Meet Knickers, the Giant Bull That’s Too Big for Slaughter

Photos of a giant black and white bovine towering over other cows have been doing the rounds online for the last couple of days, making people do a double take. The animal looks so huge that you really couldn’t blame the many people claiming that the photos are photoshopped, but they’re wrong. He’s just Knickers the giant bull that’s too big for slaughter.

Knickers, a 194cm-tall, 1,400kg-heavy Holstein Friesian steer, became the talk of the internet these last couple of days after photos of him towering over a heard of Wagyu cows on a farm in Myalup, Australia went viral. He looked so big compared to the other cattle that a lot of people started questioning if he was  real, or just the result of photo editing. But then videos showing this bovine giant in all his glory started showing up online, and there was no more room for doubt. Yes, Knickers is just that big, in fact, he is believed to be the biggest steer in Australia, a country home to millions of cattle.

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Man Uses Fake Police Uniform and Gun to Pick Up Women, Gets Arrested by Real Police

A 21-year-old Indonesian man who used a custom-made fake police uniform and a realistic gun to pose as a police officer and get women to go out with him was recently arrested by real policemen. He still has a scheduled date, only this time it will be with a court judge.

Ari Septian Pratama, a 21-year-old man from the South Sumatran city of Palembang, in Indonesia, reportedly pretended to be a cop for about a month, before his arrest by actual police officers. The young pretender confessed to adopting the alias “Dr. Julian Saputra”, and having a realistic police uniform custom tailored. To appear more believable, Pratama also wore a realistic toy gun and police badge, and even went around telling people that he was the son of Southeast Sulawesi’s regional police chief and that he was a doctor of police forensics. Apparently, he did it all to impress women and get them to go out with him.

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Indian Officials Encourage Farmers to Chant Vedic Hymns to Improve Crop Yields

Authorities in the Indian state of Goa are encouraging farmers to adopt “cosmic farming” by chanting Vedic mantras to their fields for 20 days in order o improve the quality and quantity of their crops without the help of chemical fertilizers.

Promoting organic farming is definitely commendable, but the approach of Goa’s Ministry of Agriculture is questionable at least. According to several news reports, authorities in the Indian state are currently promoting cosmic farming as an alternative to conventional agriculture. This requires farmers to chant ‘Vedic mantras’ to their fields for 20 days, which is supposed to help attract the energy of the universe into the field and help the seeds sprout faster and ultimately provide better yields.

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