x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tourist attempts wild ride on Fatso the croc

A tourist who attempted to ride on a five-metre crocodile at an Australian wildlife park escaped with just a bite to his leg.

A tourist who attempted to ride on a five-metre crocodile at an Australian wildlife park escaped with just a bite to his leg. The man, who has not been named, had previously been ejected from a bar in the town of Broome, after which he broke into the enclosure and mounted the back of Fatso, an 800kg saltwater crocodile. Malcolm Douglas, the park's owner, said: "The man who climbed the fence was fortunate because Fatso was a bit more sluggish than normal due to the cooler nights we have been experiencing in Broome. If it had been warmer and Fatso was more alert, we would have been dealing with a fatality."

It's a dirty job but... Cleaners have removed enough fat to fill nine double decker buses from sewers underneath central London. A special operation was mounted by Thames Water to combat years of what it described as "sewer abuse". Workers used digging equipment and high-pressure water jets to clear deposits of fat and grease poured down the city's drains. Danny Brackley, the chief sewer flusher, said: "We're used to getting our hands dirty, but nothing on this scale. We couldn't even access the sewer as it was blocked by a four-foot wall of solid fat."

Nemesis's nemesis Scientists have ruled out a giant star known as Nemesis as the cause of regular mass extinctions on Earth, one of which led to the demise of dinosaurs. The star was thought to be a twin of the Sun, which sent out a shower of comets every 27 million years, fragments of which hit the Earth. American researchers now say the pull of other stars would have altered the orbit of Nemesis, if it exists, meaning that the extinctions would occur at irregular intervals. Although the fossil record shows most life has died out at 27 million year intervals over the past 500m years, there is still 10 million years to go before the next event.

Time off for dressing A German policeman has been awarded an extra week's holiday as compensation for the time it takes him to put on his uniform. Martin Schauder, 44, claimed that the outfit of vest, trousers, belt, shirt, tank top and boots added an extra 15 minutes to his day. A court in Westphalia accepted his claim that dressing each day added another 45 to 50 hours a year to his time at work. Another 1,000 officers have similar claims pending.

Song drains save the day A city in China escaped floods that killed 40 people and caused Dh10 billion of damage elsewhere because of two 900-year-old drains. The two tunnels under the city of Ganzhou were built during the Song dynasty between 960 and 1270. Unlike modern drains, they were able to handle flash floods that hit the region last week. They were built by an engineer called Liu Yi, who named the drains Fortune and Longevity. Wang Ronghong, the head of the city's project management and maintenance office, said: "The ancient residents of Ganzhou were very advanced in hydro technology."

jlangton@thenational.ae