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Other Stories - 30th March 2018

Another busy week has passed – in case you missed them, here are some of the stories that caught our eye, including orange snow, smoking elephants, a sandwich ban for footballers and an apology from Facebook.

Your old copy of Harry Potter could be worth a fortune. When Hayley Malsom stumbled across a collection of Harry Potter books at her local charity shop, she snapped them up for £9. What she didn’t realise at the time, however, was that they were first editions, which can command eyewatering sums at auction. Having originally planned to use them for a craft project, Hayley now plans to keep them safe. A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone recently sold for more than 5,000 times its original £10.99 price at an auction in Texas. Metro

Facebook takes out full-page newspaper ads to apologise for data misuse. It’s been a week dogged by criticism for Facebook, after a Channel 4 documentary revealed that data firm Cambridge Analytica had used user data to swing the result of elections and political processes. In response, an apology penned by founder Mark Zuckerberg clarified that the company has stopped third-party apps from retrieving as much user information and started limiting the data that associated apps record. “This was a breach of trust and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” it claims. “I promise to do better for you.” The Verge

The last male northern white rhino in the world has died. Following months of poor health, 45-year-old Sudan who lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya was put to sleep after his condition deteriorated. His passing means that there are now only two females – his daughter and granddaughter – of the subspecies alive in the world. Hopes for preserving the species now rest in the hands of scientists researching in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. BBC News

Steve has been spotted in Scotland. No, not a person, but rather a strange astrological phenomenon that’s baffling Scottish stargazers. Scientifically referred to as a Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, Steve has been described as a very narrow arc of light, aligned east-west, which can extend for hundreds or thousands of miles. It was first seen during displays of the Aurora Borealis last week, which has prompted Nasa to fund a citizen science project seeking sightings of the aurora. Mashable

The England football team have been banned from eating sandwiches and muffins. That’s on orders of boss, Gareth Southgate, who has asked the Starbucks on the team’s training ground to take snacks off the menu. With the World Cup just three months away, it’s clear that he’s keen to keep the players on a strict regime to ensure the best chances of a win. As the BBC points out however, bans on player activities haven’t always been all that successful. In 2010, Fabio Capello, England’s manager at the time, banned wives and girlfriends from the team hotel. They were subsequently thrashed 4-1 by Germany. Newsbeat

Japan’s slowest rollercoaster stopped and not even the passengers noticed. When a wheel on one of the cars of the Family Coaster at Arakawa Amusement Park in Tokyo ground to a halt on Friday last week, passengers could have been forgiven for being slightly worried. Due to the ride’s slow pace, however, many weren’t even aware. Billed on the park’s website as “the slowest rollercoaster in Japan” it is around 140 meters long. Sky News

Orange snow is turning parts of eastern Europe in to Mars. Well, that’s how it looks anyway, as dust and sand from storms in the Sahara Desert have started to turn snow in the mountains of Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria in to scenes reminiscent of the red planet. Caused by a combination of sand, dust and pollen particles, which have been stirred up and swept across from storms in northern Africa, meteorologists have explained that the phenomenon is not a one-off and occurs roughly every five years. The Guardian

A smoking elephant in India has baffled scientists. Footage filmed by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) shows a wild female elephant picking up clumps of smouldering charcoal with its trunk, placing it in its mouth and billowing out a plume of smoke. Scientists have since speculated that the elephant may have been consuming the charcoal for medicinal reasons. The Independent

An art student successfully crowdfunded her tuition fees. When Joanne Garner gained a place at the Royal College of Art in London, she knew she would need some financial support. Reluctant to take out a loan, however, she took to the internet to raise £3,500 towards her fees. Surprisingly, people from around the world offered their support, and she received donations from as far as China, America and the Netherlands. In return, she was able to offer donors a piece of custom-made jewellery. BBC News

Stat of the week

Nearly £21m has been spent on housing Grenfell survivors. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) reportedly paid £20.9m in hotel bills in the aftermath of the disaster last June through to mid-February this year. The sum would have been enough to rebuild the original block three times over. The Guardian

 

Thrings

Thrings

Thrings Solicitors in Swindon have been providing legal advice to businesses and individuals for almost 300 years.

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