x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Flies not welcome in Beijing toilets

Plus, two male penguins to be given an egg to hatch, a stuntman survives a 1.4km fall, modern science tackles the mystery of the Abominable Snowman and more of the week's strangest stories in New You Can Lose.

New sanitary standards for public lavatories in Beijing stipulate that they must contain no more than two flies.

The rules, introduced by the city administrators, also set a limit on how badly the restrooms can smell, and stipulate that there should be only two "discarded objects" and that these must be removed within half an hour.

According to the Municipal Commission of City Administration and Environment, the rules, which are only advisory, apply to "toilet management" in parks, hospitals, shopping malls and railway stations.


Parenthood for 'friends'

Two male penguins who formed a relationship are about to raise a chick after being given an egg to hatch.

Zookeepers at Fauni Park, near Madrid, noticed that the Gentoo penguins, named Rayas and Inca, had built a nest every year in their enclosure.

Noticing their disappointment, staff this year placed a fertilised egg in the nest and say Inca has taken on the female role by sitting on it, with Rayas eating heartily to prepare for the male task of feeding the young penguin with regurgitated fish.

The zoo is at pains to point out that the two males are "just good friends".


A cushy stunt

A stuntman has become the first person to survive a 1.4 kilometre fall without a parachute after landing on a pile of cardboard boxes.

Gary Connery, 42, jumped from a helicopter using a "wing suit" to slow his fall.

To survive the jump, he needed to slow his speed from 128 kph to 25 kph and aim at a 100 metre landing zone made out of more than 18,000 boxes.

Connery described the experience as "so comfortable and so soft".


DNA testing the yeti

Modern scientific techniques are to be used in an attempt to finally determine if the Abominable Snowman really exists.

A team of British and Swiss scientists will use genetic testing, including DNA, on fragments of skin, hair and bone that some claim are from the yeti.

Large humanoid creatures have been reported in many regions, including North America and the Himalayas, but their existence has never been confirmed.

Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said that yeti hunting was "an area that any serious academic ventures into with a great deal of trepidation".

He added: "It's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports."


Shhh ... baby on board

Road builders have been asked to keep the noise down to avoid upsetting a pregnant elephant.

Construction of US highway 26 is due to reach Oregon Zoo next month as Asian elephant Rose-Tu reaches a critical stage in her pregnancy.

Zoo officials say that elephants are extremely sensitive to noise and fear Rose-Tu could become distressed by the vibrations from heavy equipment.

The construction team has promised to keep the noise down and say they will move the larger machines as far as possible from the zoo, especially after the calf is born in December.