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Japanese university use robots to hold a virtual graduation amid coronavirus pandemic

Tokyo, Japan: A Japanese University has held the world's first online graduation ceremony using robots due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students at Business Breakthrough University in Tokyo didn't get a traditional ceremony, but had the next best thing using ''newme'' telepresensence robots and a tablet hosting a Zoom call. Graduates had the experience of walking across the stage and accepting their diplomas at the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo, virtually on March 28, all while self-isolating at home. The robots were dressed in a cap and gown and fitted with tablets on their heads, allowing students to show their face using Zoom. When the moderator called the name, a 'newme' wearing a graduation gown and hat from BBT University appeared on the tablet with the face of the graduate who operated it, and the diploma was handed over by President Omae Kenichi, according to BBT News. Professor Shugo Yanaka, Dean of Global Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration, BBT University, who planned the graduation ceremony said: 'While new corona measures are required, the introduction of avatars can realise a warm online graduation ceremony.' 'We hope this initiative will be helpful to educational institutions who are having difficulty holding graduation and entrance ceremonies. 'Newme is an avatar robot, created by ANA Holdings, that comprises a base, large display, camera, microphone, speakers, and collision sensors. The robot can move around an environment and communicate with a partner in a remote location. Reflecting the human world, however, the school limited the ceremony to just four graduates so that the robots could practice social distancing amid the pandemic.

Woman responds to people who judge age gap between her and older fiancée on TikTok

***EXCLUSIVE*** LOUISIANA, USA: Woman uses TikTok to make fun of her relationship with a man TWICE HER AGE and has over TEN MILLION VIEWS. In November 2018, social media influencer, Sophia Spallino (27) from Louisiana, USA, was surprised when entrepreneur and Sillybandz owner, Robert Croak (54) from Ohio, USA, began following her on Instagram. So she messaged him. However, after a few days of messaging and getting to know each other, they connected and began FaceTiming each other every day for a month. Then when they decided to meet, Sophia travelled over 1,100 miles by plane for their first date. They have since become smitten with each other and are planning on getting married and having children. Sophia decided to share their love on Instagram with her 26,500 followers who have been supportive of her relationship. In October 2019, despite initially not seeing the hype of TikTok, Sophia was encouraged by Robert to set up a TikTok profile and share „silly” videos of herself to increase their following. Sophia and Robert have since collaborated on various quirky videos; with one of her personas being a „gold digger” who „snatches a rich man” (Robert). She has since garnered over 84,000 followers, received 1.6 million likes and had over 10 million views. She admits that her popularity on TikTok has vastly improved their Sillybandz business, a bracelet band.

Hong Kong designers create realistic replica piece of the moon surface using NASA data you can hang at home

A company has created a replica piece of the moon's surface using real NASA data for space fans to have on display at home. Lunar Surface by DeskX is the perfect accessory if you’re captivated by Earth’s satellite and wish you could have a piece of it in your home. The Hong Kong-based designers have created a model of the moon using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter; the result looks so realistic that you’d think it was really from outer space. The Lunar Surface is a slab with a textured top that evokes the rocky, uneven terrain found on the moon. Crafted from jewellery-grade concrete, it’s hand-finished and presented on a space-grade aluminium base, making it a stunning addition to any home decor or office. The sleek design can fit on a desk, or it can be hung on the wall like a work of art. To highlight its cratered surface, DeskX recommends shining it under a direct light source. The Lunar Surface is available in two sizes: a „large” size measuring 7’7 inches and a „regular” size measuring about 4’4 inches.

Italy’s frontline heroes

Frontline Heroes: In just over a month, the death toll in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 10,000 and Italy's total number of COVID-19 cases has topped 100,000. The epicenter of the crisis has been the northern region of Lombardy, where nearly 6,000 people have died. In one 24 hour period, between the Lombard cities of Bergamo, Brescia and Milan, there were 542 new deaths. The doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy are real heroes fighting daily with masks goggles and gowns their only barrier against the contagion. So far, more than 7,100 healthcare workers around the country have been infected with Covid19. They are sorely missed, and their absence brings more work for those still standing. More than 50 doctors never recovered and are counted among the victims. These heroes of Italy's pandemic are not just treating the sick with respirators and oxygen. They are standing in for sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, who under normal circumstances would be able to visit, hold the hands of sick loved ones and offer a word of encouragement. Giacomo Ghilardi, the mayor of Cinisello a small town outside Milan, and hard-hit by the pandemic said 'Today is like many other days over the past month, days where I find myself mourning our fellow citizens. We will remember everybody. All our loved ones, friends, family, acquaintances.... But soon, we will wipe away our tears, we will get up, we will smile again and we will remember. That I promise you.

Hero dad fighting for his life after saving wife and four kids from horror blaze

***EXCLUSIVE*** A family is devastated after a fire cut through their home, with most of their possessions now destroyed and a young father hospitalised after he carried his children to safety.  Rebekah and Kyle Clifford, both 27, were upstairs dressing their four children at 07:30am in their home on Monks Road, Lincoln on Sunday (05/04) morning. One of the kids shouted "fire" before the parents noticed the blaze, with Kyle rushing the tots out the house as Rebekah phoned the fire service. The brave dad then went back in to save his wife, who had become trapped in the front bedroom of their home with the two family dogs.  Fire crews rescued them both and their dogs before rushing them to Lincoln County Hospital, where Kyle is currently receiving treatment.

A mum has spoken of her "heartbreak" after her 12-week-old baby contracted coronavirus - in what is thought to be one of the UK's youngest cases to date

***EXCLUSIVE*** Little Winter-Rose Watson was admitted to hospital on Friday morning (3 April) suffering from a severe temperature and struggling to breathe. According to distraught mum Jade Watson, doctors initially ruled Covid-19 out but tests the next day confirmed the virus, she said. Brave Winter-Rose was placed on a drip and left to fight for her life, as experts told the mum-of-two there was "nothing else" they could do.

Starling murmurations create shapes of animals in the sky

***EXCLUSIVE*** A murmuration of starlings create the shapes of animals as they flock. Hundreds of the birds move together creating a duck's head, a dragon, a penguin and a goose head. The flock are being stalked by a large falcon and they fly together like this so the bird of prey cannot focus on one single starling. The remarkable photographs were taken by landscape architect Albert Beukhof on the outskirts of Geldermalsen in Holland.

Streets of Bangladesh empty due to Coronavirus from the air

***EXCLUSIVE*** A series of eerie pictures shows the empty roads and silent streets of a normally bustling city on lockdown due to coronavirus. Ships are crammed into the port while a normally packed roundabout is completely devoid of cars. The unsettling images were taken by photography student Saad Abdullah in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. The 20-year-old, who lives in Dhaka, said it is notable to see the city clear of smog, adding: "It was absolutely mesmerising to see the city like this. I grew up in this city and the usual hustle and bustle that I am familiar with wasn't there.

Rice mill yard

***EXCLUSIVE*** Workers are surrounded by sacks and symmetrical piles of rice paddy in a yard in Bhairab, Bangladesh. The image was captured with a drone by pharmaceuticals worker Sabina Akter.  The piles, resembling mini pyramids, are collected in the sacks before the threshing process takes place.