x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

That's why grandmothers have to be searched

Plus the world's tiniest frog, the Pope receives an endangered crocodile as a gift and more News You Can Lose.

A list of its "good catches of 2011" has revealed that America's US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) antiterrorist airport security agency did not encounter a single terrorist.

Among the incidents of which the Transport Security Agency is most proud is stopping a student who tried to take his science project on board an aircraft - on the X-ray scanners it looked just like a bomb - a suitcase full of snakes and turtles at Miami International, and a flare gun in hand luggage.

The TSA's most spectacular find was tiny pieces of deactivated C4 explosives that a passenger was taking home to show his family. In its report, however, the agency fails to mention the C4 was only found on the man's return journey, meaning it failed to detect it first time round.

The list has provoked derision on the TSA blog, which revealed the list. One poster noted: "Your list includes zero terrorists. Was it worth strip searching grandmothers for this?"


Tiny leap for science

The world's smallest frog has been discovered living on the island of Papua New Guinea. At 7mm, Paedophryne amauensis would comfortably fit in the space between the rim of a one dirham coin and the edge of the coffee pot design (check it out).

American scientists who found the frog believe it may also be the world's smallest vertebrate. The team thinks that the frog's diminutive stature is linked to its habitat of leaf debris on the forest floor, where it mimics the sound of insects.


Omens in the sky

Building skyscrapers is a sure sign that the world economy is in trouble, a report has concluded. According to Barclays Capital, a British investment bank, almost every recession has seen the unveiling of spectacular new buildings. It points to the Empire State Building, where construction coincided with the Great Depression, and the Chicago Wills Tower, built during the 1974 oil price crisis. The Petronas Towers in Malaysia opened in 1997 during an Asian financial crisis, while the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world's tallest building, was completed at the height of the emirate's financial difficulties.

Barclays Capital says a boom in skyscraper construction is a symptom of "widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction". The bank says there should be real concern about China, which is currently building 53 per cent of all the tall buildings in the world.


Holy safe

A crocodile has been presented to the Pope during his weekly audience. Handlers were confident that the 60cm amphibian did not present any danger to the 84-year-old pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI will take the Cuban crocodile with him on an official visit to the island in March. The crocodile is endangered in its native land, where the population has fallen by 80 per cent. It was raised at Rome Zoo, which recently marked its 100th anniversary.