x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Neolithic Era's Woodhenge dated to early 20th century

One of the wonders of the Neolithic Age may be nothing more than a fence erected by Britain's ministry of works.

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One of the wonders of the Neolithic Age may be nothing more than a fence erected by Britain's ministry of works in the early 20th century.

The "Woodhenge" was detected near the more famous Stonehenge on England's Salisbury Plain last summer and hailed at the time as a major archaeological discovery.

According to a University of Birmingham team, the earthworks and post holes detected using radar showed a timber structure aligned to the summer solstice.

However, a new survey, drawing on a map published in the 1970s, shows the holes are probably all that is left of a fence constructed to protect the original monument.

Russian winter turns fatal

Falling icicles have killed five people and injured at least 150 in St Petersburg during what is Russia's coldest winter for three decades. Among the victims was a six-month-old baby, hurt when ice fell in its pram, and an eight-year-old boy with spinal injuries.

Valentina Matviyenko, the governor of the city, has fired 11 officials for not doing enough to clear snow and ice from buildings, suggesting that they use lasers to do the job.

Long-distance Voyager

A spacecraft launched when the UAE was just six years old will shortly become the first man-made object to leave the solar system.

Voyager 1 has taken 33 years to reach 17.4 billion kilometres from Earth and continues to transmit data home.

The craft is about to enter the heliosphere, where the solar wind changes direction, and will spend four years travelling at 60,000kph before entering interstellar space.

Voyager's instruments are powered by a radioactive isotope that is expected to last until at least 2020.

How bad do you have to go?

Customers at a Chinese department store must spend the equivalent of Dh2,800 before they can use the bathrooms.

The Startlight 68 store in Chongqing is offering a loyalty card to anyone spending over 500 yuan that gives them exclusive access to the toilets as well as discounts.

However, the store has warned that the charge is an opening offer and that it may soon ask customers to spend more to spend a penny.

Red-hot tourist spot

The site of the world's worst nuclear accident is to be opened to tourists next year. Ukraine says it will allow visitors to Chernobyl, which sent a plume of radiation across northern Europe and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents following an explosion and fire in April 1986.

Ukraine says it is now safe to spend a short time inside the 48km exclusion zone, sealed off after the disaster.

Yulia Yershova, a spokesman for the emergency situations ministry, said: "There are things to see there if one follows the official route and doesn't stray away from the group."

Host of Inter-Galactic Cup?

A recently discovered planet larger than Jupiter has been named after Qatar. Qatar-1b was detected by a team of astronomers that included Khalid al Subai, the leader of the Qatar exoplanet survey and a research director at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

Qatar-1b is 550 light years from Earth, is 20 per cent larger than Jupiter and has a surface temperature of 1100°C, probably making it too hot for a future World Cup bid.

 

jlangton@thenational.ae