x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Preschool caters to neither little boys nor girls

Plus printed chocolate, a motorcyclist protesting a helmet law dies of head injuries in an accident, a Polish man lives in a Brazilian airport for three weeks and more news you can lose.

A school in Sweden has become the first in the world to offer a "gender free" education.

Teachers at the Egalia preschool in Stockholm avoid using the pronouns "her" and "him", while children are told to refer to each other as "friends."

The school library has also been cleared of books which emphasise traditional gender roles and aspects of parenting, meaning that traditional fairy stories like Cinderella have been rejected in favour of a story about two giraffes who adopt a baby crocodile.

Toys like cars and dolls are also placed in such a way as to encourage both sexes to play with them.

One teacher, Emerlie Andersson, 27, said: "In my world, there is no 'girl's world' and there is no 'boy's world'."

 

Been there, sat tight

A Polish man spent more than two weeks waiting at Brazil's Sao Paulo airport for a friend who never showed up.

Robert Parzelski arrived from London on June 17, but apparently was too scared to venture outside when there was no one to meet him. Instead he decided to wait on a concrete bench, telling baffled airport staff in broken English: "I'm Poland."

For reasons that are unclear, workers named him "the German" but then provided him with cigarettes and food.

His story was eventually unravelled by a Polish doctor living in the city and Mr Parzelski was returned to London 18 days after setting out.

 

He proved their point

While leading a protest against laws requiring the wearing of helmets, a rider accidentally went over the handlebars of his motorbike and died of head injuries.

State police in New York said Philip Contos, 55, was driving his Harley Davidson in a rally organised by American Bikers Aimed Towards Education, which wants the wearing of helmets made voluntary.

Mr Contos hit the brakes causing the bike to fishtail, police said, adding that he was not wearing a helmet at the time.

 

School class explosive

Activists clearing landmines in Uganda found a live mortar bomb being used as bell at a local primary school.

A spokesman for the Anti-Land Mines Network said that the bomb was hollow at the bottom, allowing it to be struck, but that the top still contained explosive and a live fuse.

The bomb had not gone off, he said, only because the children were not strong enough to detonate the fuse when they hit it.

The group has since removed the bomb to a safe place. The area where the school is based is the site of a former rebel insurgency.

 

Print me a chocolate bunny

A printer than can produce chocolates has been invented at the University of Exeter in England.

The 3D printer uses liquid chocolate instead of ink, building up layers to create an edible product.

If a commercial model eventually goes on sale, the printer could be used by restaurants and shops to produce chocolates in any shape, including faces.

The team say that their dream is to "combine chocolate with digital technology".

jlangton@thenational.ae