World News Week of September 30th


Author: William Stupp

England. A Dartmoor farmer discovered a creative solution to the common local problem of livestock theft. North England has seen a 500 percent increase in reports of farm animal theft in the past few years, but farmer John Heard found an effective way to deter thieves by dyeing his sheep orange. Grazing in their neon coats, the sheep appear to be a part of some joke, but Hurt insists the matter is very serious. In the year before he began dyeing their coats, Hurt saw about 300 of his animals stolen. Since adopting the practice, he says he has had no problems with theft.

Saudi Arabia. A new view has been put forward in the Saudi Arabian debate on the issue of whether or not women should be allowed to drive. Putting in his two cents, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan spoke of studies which he claimed demonstrate that driving a car can damage a woman’s ovaries and lead to severe birth defects. The Sheikh, who also serves as a legal adviser for a psychologist organization in the region, did not cite any specific studies, but urged women to “put reason ahead of their hearts, emotions and passions”and stay out of the driver’s seat.

Berlin. Once touted as a boy raised by wolves, 21-year-old Robin van Helsum has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service for fraud. The young adult became known to the public in 2011 by marching into the Berlin City Hall and claiming that he had been living most of his life in the forest with his father. Helsum told the press and authorities that he didn’t know his own name, and that the only person he had ever known was his father who died some time before his arrival in the city. Helsum claimed $40,000 dollars in benefits as a result of the attention he received. He will not have to repay the money, but will serve an indeterminate amount of community service for fraud.

Minnesota, Wash. Scientists in the United States are making progress in investigating the causes of “colony collapse disorder,” the widely-documented phenomena of declining bee populations. By honing in on causes of bees dying on massive scales, the researchers are coming closer to solving the widespread problem. Buzz about disappearing bees has been going on since the 1970s. Recently the problem has gotten worse, with the supply of bees falling as the demand for honey increases. Pesticides of the neonicotinoid family are particularly harmful to bees, but the scientists at Washington State University insist pesticides are but one factor in the mysterious decline of bee populations. Promising developments include the successful breeding of bees through artificial insemination, which have proven more resistant to nenicontinoid poisoning.
Al Jazeera America

The Netherlands. Police in Rotterdam have implemented a successful crime-fighting program in their fight against drug and weapons smuggling. The police are now using rats to catch criminals; Not informants, but rodents. Inspector Monique Hamerslag and her team have trained rats to detect gunpowder and illegal drugs as an alternative to the much more costly practice of using dogs to smell out contraband. Hamerslag insists the rats are as effective as dogs at detecting drugs, and that their lessened mobility is more than made up for by their lower cost.

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