x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Genghis Khan's massacres were environment-friendly

Genghis Khan's murderous reign could have been good for the environment, and other news you can lose.

Once branded "the destroyer", Genghis Khan is now being reassessed as an environmentalist who halted global warming.

New research claims that the Mongol warlord killed so many people while building his empire that vast areas of cultivated land were abandoned and returned to forest.

One estimate suggests that 40 million people died during his murderous reign, with his armies sweeping across central Asia and what is now Russia.

According the Carnegie Institution's department of global ecology, a side effect of trees replacing farmland was to remove 700 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, thus cooling the planet.

 

New meaning of 'dead pool'

Plans by a local authority in England to heat its public swimming pool using the nearby crematorium have been described as "sick" by opponents.

Redditch Borough Council wants to use the excess heat generated by the crematorium's incinerator to warm swimmers, saying it will save taxpayers £14,500 (Dh85,000).

The owner of a local funeral company called the proposal "strange and eerie", adding, "trying to save money due to the death of someone's family member or friend is a bit sick".

But the council leader, Carole Gandy, said: "I do recognise some people might not like it, but if they don't, they don't have to use our crematorium."

 

Like Captain Hook's clock

Workers at an aquarium in Ukraine dismissed reports that one of their crocodiles had swallowed a mobile phone until they heard ringing from the creature's stomach.

A visitor admitted to dropping the phone in the water, where it was then promptly eaten by 14-year-old Gena.

The crocodile is said to be showing signs of depression and constipation and may need surgery; the phone's owner says she would be happy just to recover the Sim card.

 

Costly speeding tickets

Motorists in Canada are to receive refunds on more than 140,000 speeding tickets after it was discovered that many cars travelling on a certain road were recorded at exactly 143 kph.

Officials in Alberta estimate that the error, caused by an unidentified technical error will cost the city about 17 million Canadian dollars (Dh62 million).

The fault was discovered when a motorist challenged a ticket and it was found that every other car on the road had been recorded going at the same speed.

 

Man can't dance

A Chinese man has been left with two right feet after an operation to prevent the loss of a leg.

Surgeons performed an emergency transplant after the man's left leg was badly injured in an accident at work. The worker's own foot was stored on ice, but doctors feared the damaged stump would then become infected, making it impossible to reattach.

Instead they attached another foot, hoping to preserve vital arteries and keep the limb healthy. They hope to replace the original left foot in about a month.

jlangton@thenational.ae