x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Why do skins turn pruny in the bath?

The skin on your fingers turns pruny after a long bath because of a protein known as keratin, scientists say, and other bits and pieces of news you can lose...

Scientists have discovered why the skin on your fingers turns pruny after too long in the bath.

A study at the Australian National University attributes the skin's stretchiness to a complex network of fibrous protein known as keratin.

It means that skin retains its structure rather than dissolving during extended exposure to water.

A practical application of the research could led to the development of new materials that stretch without losing their strength.

Robber fears homeowner

A burglar called police from a house he had just broken into because he feared the owner was downstairs with a gun. Timothy Chapek had locked himself in an upstairs bathroom after being confronted by the homeowner and his two German shepherds.

Police in Portland, in the north-western US state of Oregon, received an emergency call for assistance from Chapek, 24, who feared the owner was armed.

After arriving at the house, police arrested the intruder and charged him with criminal trespass.

Qaddafi off-market property

Squatters calling themselves "Topple the Tyrants" have occupied a mansion in London owned by Muammar Qaddafi's son, Saif al Islam. They have since hung banners from the house, worth Dh60 million, in the exclusive Bishop's Avenue, in north London, that proclaim "Revolution" and "Out of Libya, Out of London".

One of the squatters described the house as "palatial, flat-screen TVs in almost every room". He added: "We've got them all tuned to Al Jazeera now."

No peek-a-boo on Virgin Blue

An airline flight attendant has been sacked for placing a baby in an overhead baggage compartment.

Riley Williamson, 17 months, was playing peek-a-boo with his father on a flight from Fiji to Sydney, Australia, when the attendant picked him up, placed him in the locker and closed it.

His mother failed to see the joke, complaining to Virgin Blue, which fired the attendant and offered the family free tickets.

Mrs Williamson said: "I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said, 'Get my son out of there now.'

"I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated. I was crying. My husband was in shock. For days on end I was crying."

Taxman suspects nuns of fun

Nuns in a Spanish convent are being investigated for tax fraud after they reported the theft of €1.5 million (Dh7.7m) in cash. The members of the Cistercian order run a number of money-making enterprises, including restoring and binding antique books, as well as their duties of caring for the poor and needy.

Police have since lowered the amount of money stolen from a locked cupboard to about €390,000 and tax officials are questioning the presence of such a large amount of unaccounted cash.

The nuns deny any wrongdoing, with their lawyer insisting the elderly women regularly file tax returns.

jlangton@thenational.ae