x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Inflatable island lost over European skies

A balloon island worth 12,000 pounds stirling was set adrift by vandals and was last seen thousands of feet in the sky. Air traffic controllers are now on the lookout for the inflatable palm-treed island. And other news you can lose.

A giant floating island has disappeared and may now be heading east over the skies of the Czech Republic.

The inflatable "Is Land" was a centrepiece of the Secret Garden Party festival in Cambridgeshire, England, until it was cut loose by vandals.

Designed to resemble a desert island, complete with trees and vegetation, the "Is Land" rapidly rose several thousand feet and soon vanished from sight. It has not been seen since.

The artist Sarah Collins, who designed the inflatable, worth £12,000 (Dh66,000), said the loss was devastating. "Letting thousands of pounds off into the atmosphere is a little bit too much rock'n'roll for me."

Air traffic control was informed but could not track the island, which, if it has not crashed, could be over eastern Europe.

US chopsticks for China

China has been forced to order millions of chopsticks from a US company because of a wood shortage.

Georgia Chopsticks, based in the southern state, is working round the clock to produce two million sets a day to keep up with demand.

Georgia's poplar and sweet gum trees are particularly suitable for the eating implements, and a good substitute for China's depleted stocks.

Susan White, one of 60 workers at the factory, said: "Everywhere you see in America, it says 'Made in China' and you wonder in China if they ever see 'Made in America'."

Tongue twisters

The makers of a documentary film about an Amazonian tribe have been accused of faking scenes to make them look like "sex-obsessed, mean savages".

Anthropologists say the documentary mistranslated interviews with members of the Matsigenka, who live in eastern Peru, to give a wrong impression of their lives.

In one instance, subtitles claimed a member of the tribe said: "We use arrows to kill outsiders who threaten us." In fact, the man said: "You come from far away where the gringos live."

Glenn Shepard, an anthropologist who speaks the Matsigenka language fluently, said the documentary, which has been shown in Britain and North America, was "staged, false, fabricated and distorted".

Olympics bear falls far

A bear who was one of the stars of the 1980 Moscow summer Olympic Games has been found living in a rusty cage.

Now 36, Katya took part in the opening ceremonies and later appeared in several films. The official mascot of the games was a cartoon bear called Misha.

Animal-rights activists found Katya living with retired circus animals in squalid conditions on the outskirts of St Petersburg. She was trying to break open the bars with her teeth.

The discovery has led to a call for Russia to improve its animal protection laws.

'Hillbillies' in NY park

A gang of poachers has been arrested in a New York park.

The group - described as like "Beverly Hillbillies" - were seen roasting a pigeon over a fire they had built in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Park officers found that they had also caught fish from the park's ornamental lake, trapped ducks and even eaten squirrels.

They were issued with fines totalling US$2,100 (Dh7,700). An official described the gang as "the most threatening people in the park".

jlangton@thenational.ae