First News

20 THINGS TO KNOW AND TELL

QUICK NEWS TO READ YOURSELF AND SHARE WITH FRIENDS

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1. PLANT MORE TREES

A study suggests that planting more trees in cities could be a life-saver. The research found that increasing tree coverage from 20% to 30% in a city of 1.5m people could prevent 400 deaths and save £3.2bn in health costs every year. Michelle Kondo, author of the study, said that “urban reforestat­ion programmes are essential for improving public health”.

2. CORONA HAIRDO

Martha Apisa and Stacy Ayuma are two friends living in the Kibera slums, the largest in Nairobi, Kenya. They have braided their hair to look like the coronaviru­s and spread awareness of the disease.

3. CURLEW COLLAPSE

The curlew, one of the UK’s most endangered birds, has seen its numbers dwindle by 80% over three decades. Experts say that legal challenges protecting the killing of their predators, like foxes and crows, have accidental­ly harmed curlew population­s.

4. HORSING AROUND

Every morning in the German city of Frankfurt, Anna Weischedel lets her horse Jenny out for a walk on her own. Jenny has strolled the streets for more than a decade and never caused a problem. In fact, locals love Jenny more than ever, as she is brightenin­g up the coronaviru­s lockdown for everyone.

5. CURE FOR ANXIETY?

A protein that causes anxiety in humans has been discovered. Researcher­s found that people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) had up to six times more of the protein, nicknamed iMood. It is hoped that by lessening the effects of iMood, an effective way to treat mental illnesses like OCD could become available. The London researcher­s said trials could be carried out within the next five years.

6. DUMP DISASTER

A fire in the Dominican Republic has been raging for six days at the time of writing. It began in a landfill in the city’s capital, Santo Domingo, and has been spewing harmful smoke.

7. BIG BOOK AWARD

The shortlist for the Branford Boase Award, which recognises the best debut children’s authors, has been announced. See the picture below for the contenders – the winner will be announced in September.

8. POO PARK

Worried officials in the Swedish city of Lund dumped chicken poo in their parks last week, to stop people gathering for the festival of Walpurgis Night and spreading COVID-19.

9. WORLD MOOS

A few weeks ago, we told you about the UK town of Belper in Derbyshire, whose residents had started a nightly moo as a fun way to lift the town’s spirits. Now cities as far away as India, Japan, the USA and Australia are copying the cattle chorus, with locals using moo-crophones and even didgeri-moos to make their bovine bellowing heard.

10. POTHOLE PROBLEMS

Holes in UK roads are causing damage to thousands of cars each year. In fact, since data collecting began in 2006, a driver is now one-and-a-half times more likely to break down because of potholes. The Government has said it will spend £2.5bn over the next five years to repair an estimated 50m potholes in the UK.

11. SIZEABLE SOUP

The city of Julián Augusto Saldívar in Paraguay celebrated May Day by hosting the biggest soup kitchen in the country. Volunteers fed some 7,000 vulnerable people by cooking up these giant pots of soup.

12. PUSH-UP PRO

An Australian fitness fanatic has pushed his way into the record books by performing 2,806 push-ups in a single hour. Jarrad Young beat the previous record by 124 push-ups.

13. CREATIVE WRITING

An online writing programme has been set up for kids aged 7-12. Daily Writers’ Club offers 20-minute bursts of writing fun every day. Just visit

to find out more.

dailywrite­rsclub.com 14. ROBOT GREETERS

Japan is using hotels to house patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms, so that hospital beds can be freed up for more severe cases. At a hospital in Tokyo, patients will be greeted by a robot called Pepper (above left). Another robot, Whiz (above right), will be cleaning up communal areas to reduce infection risks for staff.

15. KIM JONG UNCOVERED

There was speculatio­n recently that Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, was unwell. He had not been seen for a while, but after a threeweek absence, the controvers­ial figure appeared in public for the opening of a fertiliser factory. 16. SNIFF TEST HOPES

A sniff test for patients in a vegetative state (a state of unconsciou­sness where people do not respond) could be an early sign that a patient’s condition will improve. Out of 43 tested patients, the ten who showed some kind of response to strong smells like rotten fish and sweet shampoo later regained consciousn­ess. Dr Anat Arzi, who led the research, said: “In some cases, [a sniff response] was the only sign that their brain was going to recover – and we saw it days, weeks and even months before any other signs.”

17. SPEEDY SPACE ROCK

A mile-wide asteroid raced past the Earth last week at around 19,000mph. The space rock orbits the sun every three years but shouldn’t come as close to the Earth again until 2079.

18. LOOSE GOOSE

There was an unusual sight at York train station recently. A goose settled down in the flower beds of the station entrance and laid an egg! Police said they will leave the goose alone while the normally busy station is unattended.

19. NOT SO FUNNY

Clowns in Mexico are protesting in full costume and face masks. They are demanding government aid, as COVID-19 restrictio­ns mean they can’t work on the streets as usual.

20. LEGO GLASTONBUR­Y

With Glastonbur­y music festival being cancelled, two friends from Cheshire decided to recreate their own version… with LEGO! Jono Oakes and Adam Hardman recreated the festival’s Pyramid stage and crowd. Their performanc­es have received millions of views on social media.

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