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Inspired by nature: ‘Birdgirl’ Mya-Rose Craig

***EXCLUSIVE*** British. Bangladeshi. Birder. The 18-year-old’s memoir has sold for a six-figure sum, she’s the youngest British person to have received an honorary doctorate and is an international wildlife and environmental champion. She also runs nature camps to help young minority ethnic people discover the outdoors because, she says, nothing is more important than connecting to nature.

Sheep that hadn't been sheared for five years is able to see again after a short baaaack and sides removed 75 pounds of wool

***EXCLUSIVE*** A sheep which grew a massive, matted coat of wool after being left to run wild for years has finally been rescued - and had a whooping 35 KILOS of wool shorn off. The sheep, which has been named Baarack by the animal sanctuary that took him in, took almost an hour to have his thick, tangled coat shorn off - compared to an average sheep shearing which takes just a few minutes. Volunteers at Edgar's Mission, in Lancefield, Australia, where the sheep is recovering, predicted the poor animal had "at least five years" of wool growth weighing him down and obscuring his vision.

A 400-year-old gold ring which was buried following an aristocratic family feud over money is set to fetch £30,000

The stunning high carat gold jewellery was discovered by a metal detectorist in the grounds of a Grade II-listed Georgian manor house in the Peak District in 2018. Now the 64-year-old finder could net himself a small fortune after his discovery turned out to be an ancient relic, dating back to between 1600-1650.  The ring - which is set with a purple-blue Chalcedony gemstone carved with the initials ‘GL’ and three candles - is set to fetch £25,000- £30,000 on Thursday (25/2).  It was found in in the grounds of Castern Hall, an 18th-century country house, also known as Casterne, near Ilam in Staffordshire’s Manifold Valley. Mystery still surrounds how the ring came to be buried underneath a large stone - but is thought to have been deliberately hidden hundreds of years ago.  It is due to be sold in Hansons Auctioneers’ February 25-26 Historica Auction with an estimate of £25,000-£30,000.

A cloned endangered black-footed ferret has been born

Denver, Colorado, United States: A cloned black-footed ferret has been born. „Elizabeth Ann” was created from the frozen cells of „Willa” a black-footed ferret that lived more than 30 years ago. Her birth on Dec. 10, 2020, was announced on 18 Feb. by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

London’s „thinnest house” at just 5ft 5in wide goes on sale for nearly £1 M

London, United Kingdom: A house in London that is narrower than a double bed is up for sale for just under £1million. The narrow pad located on Goldhawk Road in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, has doubled in value since it was last sold in 2009. Despite being just 5ft 5in in parts, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living area, dining room, a bathroom and a shower room, across 1,034 sq ft. The former hat shop, which is situated between a pizza restaurant and nail salon, is believed to be the narrowest in the capital...It was once owned by fashion photographer Juergen Teller but was sold to its current owner 11 years ago for £595,000. The building is now on the market for just under a million, with an asking price of £995,000. As you enter the house, the ground floor stretches back with the reception room. On the lower ground floor there is a dining room with double height glazed doors which lead to a leafy patio, plus a small kitchen with a dark green AGA and shaker-style cabinets. It has been inspired by a luxury yacht to make the most of its small space, so expect functional and practical nooks throughout. On the second floor is a dressing room and shower room, while a second bedroom sits on the third floor. While the home is narrow, it certainly doesn't lack any style; from the Art Deco bath to the parquet flooring, the interiors feel contemporary and on the whole, pared-back.

Haunting images reveal dark history of a segregated mental asylum in Virginia where black patients were sterilized without consent and forced to undergo horrific treatments for mental illness

***EXCLUSIVE*** VIRGINIA, USA: Creepy images reveal the dark history of a SEGREGATED, abandoned mental asylum where black patients were sterilised without consent - the first of its kind in America. Eerie pictures showed huge metal hydrotherapy baths - a now inhumane method of treating mental illness due to its punitive nature - that had been left to rust. Other shots featured a bed laying strewn in a crumbling corridor, patients? cell-like bedrooms complete with personal effects, and dingy staircases which join the floors. Aerial drone shots showcased the sprawling grounds and central brick building of what was known as the 'Central Lunatic Asylum' when it first opened in Virginia, USA, in 1870. The pictures were taken by urban explorer and photographer Abandoned Southeast on a trip to the Virginia hospital - which is still partially open. Abandoned Southeast captured his incredible images using his Canon RP and a DJI drone. It was the first facility of its kind in America - built specifically for black patients - and it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that the state-operated facility was desegregated. During the 1890s, the use of mechanical restraints, hydrotherapy and hypnotics were common practice but the patients at the hospital were encouraged to use the asylum’s surrounding farmland to grow crops and produce food as part of the patient’s treatments. The hospital grew and by the early 1900s, it had over 80 buildings with men and women housed separately. Patients were assigned to wards for the acute, chronic, demented, tubercular, epileptic, criminal and suicidal. In 1980, an investigation uncovered that 1,700 patients had been sterilised without their consent between 1924 and 1973 at the hospital. A mass sterilisation programme was put in place by doctors to allegedly eliminate social misfits and promote the white American race.

Lou Macari homeless shelters

Former Stoke City manager Lou Macari hopes his homeless shelter can expand further – and help even more vulnerable people – at its new location. The Macari Centre has now been officially re-launched at it new site in Regent Road, Hanley, after relocating during the Covid-19 lockdown. Lou had previously worked with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to set up the original shelter at the nearby Regent Road depot, but the dormitory-style facility had to close due to the risk of coronavirus infection.  The new Macari Centre, based in a 22,500sqft former warehouse, features 25 individual accommodation 'pods' which allow for social distancing as well as giving residents more privacy. There are also shower rooms and a kitchen. Lou is now looking at how the facility can be improved and developed so it can accommodate more homeless people.

Authorities intercept 44 pounds of cocaine-soaked cornflakes cereal

Cincinnati, United States: Authorities have intercepted 44 pounds of cocaine-soaked cornflakes cereal. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati intercepted smuggled narcotics in a shipment of cereal originating from South America. The shipment contained about 44 pounds of cocaine coated corn flakes, which could have a street value of up to $2,822,400. CBP announced Friday (19 Feb), their Narcotic Detector Dog „Bico” was working incoming freight from Peru on 13 February when he alerted to a large shipment of cereal headed to a private residence in Hong Kong. When officers opened the box to take a closer look, they saw that the cereal contained white powder, and the flakes were coated with a grayish substance. Officers tested the flakes and powder and found they contained cocaine, a schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie emphasised that smugglers will hide narcotics in anything imaginable.

Atonement: Magh Mela Pilgrimage across India

The major religious events in India are marked by famous fairs. The scope and size of these can be anything from a few days at a local deity's shrine to mass gatherings of millions of devotees lasting months. The fairs of Magh Mela and Kumbh Mela are two examples. The religious basis for the Magh Mela is the belief that pilgrimage is a means for atonement, or penance for past mistakes. Hindu mythology considers the origin of the festival to be associated with the beginning of the Universe. The event brings millions of pilgrims to the ghats of Prayagraj every year. Although the mega event of Kumbh has become world famous, what does not get as much attention is the Magh Mela. Legends have it that the tradition of Magh Mela began after Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, performed a sacred sacrifice at Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarawati in Prayagraj. To ensure the tradition is carried on, locals started holding the annual fair of Magh Mela. Even today, pilgrims believe the mela is a reminder of the creation of the universe by Brahma and a celebration of life.

Flower-hugging squirrels

***EXCLUSIVE*** NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS: These adorable images of cute squirrels smelling colourful flowers are sure to melt your heart. One image captured the moment a small one-pound ground squirrel nestled its face peacefully into a bright yellow flower. In another photo, two squirrels joyfully played together beside a grey dandelion which dwarfed the couple. The cute snaps were taken by photographer and fish monger Dick van Duijn (36) from Noordwijk, The Netherlands, who travelled 740 miles to a field just outside of Vienna, Austria, which is home to these sociable creatures. Dick used Nikon D5 and Nikon D850 cameras and Nikon 300mm f/2.8 and Nikkon 500mm f/4 lenses to capture his stunning photos from just 10-feet away. As their name suggests, ground squirrels inhabit fields, parks and golf courses as opposed to nesting in trees. Whilst their diets are mainly made up of nuts and fungi, ground squirrels have been recorded to hunt and eat mice and rats almost twice their own size.

Albert Einstein letter predicting the evils of Adolf Hitler a decade before he came to power

***EXCLUSIVE*** A fascinating letter has emerged which reveals Albert Einstein predicted the evils of Adolf Hitler almost a decade before he came to power. The genius mathematician raised concerns to his wife Elsa about the Nazi leader after his release from prison in 1924 following a failed coup. He feared for the Jewish population of his homeland after Hitler laid out his anti-semitic political manifesto in Mein Kampf. Elsa, writing to her cousin Erich in 1934, describes Einstein as a 'seer' and 'prophet' for having foreseen the perilous path Germany was headed down.

Chemical residues of grapes in medieval containers found in Sardinia and Pisa hint at a thriving WINE trade in Islamic Sicily – despite the fact the community likely didn't drink alcohol

***EXCLUSIVE*** Researchers at the University of York have found chemical residues of grapes in medieval containers indicating a prosperous wine trade in Islamic Sicily. They found that a type of container from the 9-11th century, called amphorae, traditionally used for transporting wine contained chemical traces of grapes and were found as far away as Sardinia and Pisa, suggesting that the wine was exported across the Mediterranean.

Phantom of the Mop(era)... School cleaner stuns pupils with his operatic performances

***EXCLUSIVE*** School cleaner Paul Michael is stunning pupils and staff with his jaw-dropping operatic performances. Paul, 44, usually works as a cruise ship entertainer but took on a role at Allenborne School in Wimborne, Dorset, because of the pandemic. Pupils at the school were left completely in the dark by Paul's usual job and were staggered to hear him break into song last week.

Lion snatches newborn zebra from its mother minutes after the tiny foal struggles to its feet in heartbreaking footage

***EXCLUSIVE*** MINNESOTA, USA: Shocking footage shows the moment a FOUR-HUNDRED-POUND adult lion pounced on and killed a baby zebra within moments of being born. The brutal footage showed a 700-pound mother zebra giving birth to its foal as other zebras and wildebeest looked on in the background. The 70-pound baby struggled to get to its feet as it emerged from its amniotic sac, but eventually managed to make its first few steps. However, a matter of minutes later, the idyllic scene became a nightmare as a 400-pound male lion leapt at the vulnerable zebra - piercing the baby’s neck with its sharp four-inch-long teeth. The lion then dragged its prize away to the audible gasps of onlookers. The visceral video was captured by business owner Mckenna Wentworth (30) from Minnesota, USA, whilst she was travelling on a safari in the south-west of Kenya, with her parents. Mckenna captured the footage of the 30-minute encounter on a Fujifilm Finepix camera from just 100-feet away. Zebras have one of the longest gestation periods of any mammal in the animal kingdom with the average female being pregnant for just under 13 months and only giving birth to one foal.

Spot the owl

***EXCLUSIVE*** SCARBOROUGH, CANADA: Can you spot the sneaky OWL staring back at you in this deceptive snap’ In one image, a seven-inch-high baby screech owl stood perfectly camouflaged against a tree trunk - its location only given away by two hazel-coloured eyes. In another, the owl’s hiding spot was exposed as a side-on view made the silhouette of the creature much more apparent. Photographer Cindy Conlin (60) from Brighton in Ontario, Canada, captured the fun images in Rosetta McClain Gardens in Scarborough, Canada. Whilst out on a walk, Cindy noticed the baby screech owl camouflaged against the bark of a tree just 65-foot away. Screech owls are native to North and South America and they’re the smallest species of owl to be found on the two continents - rarely reaching more than 10 inches in height. Females are often larger than males. Cindy captured the images using a Nikon D850 camera and a Nikon 300mm F2.8 lens.

Tang dynasty dancing behind scenes

The performance, named Banquet of Tang Palace, was staged at the Spring Festival gala of Henan Province. Brilliantly choreographed and acted, the dancing has almost brought ancient dancing figurines of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) alive. The performance Banquet of Tang Palace, inspired by the dancing figurines displayed at a museum, tells a story about the life of female musicians during the Tang Dynasty. "We've been meditating the proper way to perform the postures and facial expressions of the female musicians living in Tang Dynasty with dance after we saw the dancing figurines displayed at museum", said Chen Lin, a director of the theater. It's not an easy task for the dancers. Every time before performing, they have to spend at least three hours on make-up and preparation. They even have to stuff their mouths with cotton and put on cotton-padded costumes to achieve the plump appearance of the Tang Dynasty people. The efforts have paid off and their performances are highly recommended among internet viewers. "The approval from the audience tells us that traditional culture is attractive once it's properly displayed." Chen Lin said.