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Other Stories - 2nd February 2018

A saved Banksy mural, unearth Roman coins not quite what they seem, a talking orca, Nutella riots and other stories that caught Thrings' eye this week.

Six male BBC presenters have agreed to pay cuts following unequal pay debate. Following revelations over unequal salaries, some of the broadcaster’s most prominent presenters have agreed to reduced salaries. The decision comes following the departure of the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Grace, who resigned in protest over the unequal pay between male and female presenters. Their final salaries have not been revealed, but the Today programme and Mastermind host John Humphrys has described the cuts as “fair”. The Guardian

The Guggenheim offers Trump a golden toilet. Having denied the President a loan of a Van Gogh painting for the White House, the Guggenheim Gallery instead offered him a functioning gold toilet instead. The museum turned down a customary request for one of its works as the painting requested was considered too fragile to move. The alternative, created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan to coincide with the announcement of Trump’s intention to run for the presidency, was installed in the Guggenheim for over a year and was used by thousands of people. Sky News

A killer whale has learned to say ‘hello’ and ‘bye’. Wikie, a female orca living at a French marine park, also attempted to imitate ‘one, two, three’. The scientist who led the study suggests that it might be possible to have basic conversations with her one day, but the findings have sparked criticism from a number of charities who claim that the orca’s intelligence confirms that they shouldn’t be held in captivity. It comes nearly four years after SeaWorld stopped breeding killer whales following the release of damning documentary BlackfishSky News

Potholes are sending breakdown figures flying. The RAC have expressed concern over the increase in the number of drivers breaking down after hitting potholes, reporting an 11% increase in breakdowns caused by poor quality roads at the end of 2017. Snow and icy conditions are thought to be partly to blame, but the firm has suggested that many roads could be hanging in the balance if weather conditions don’t improve. To combat the issue, the Department for Transport is investing £23bn in an attempt to increase capacity and improve road journeys. The Telegraph

France’s finance ministry is investigating the Nutella riots. After violent scenes broke out at supermarkets due to a promotion that slashed the price of the hazelnut spread by 70%, an investigation has been launched to determine whether trading laws had been broken. The country has strict rules that dictate the size of promotions retailers can offer outside of sales periods and it’s thought that the promotion, which led to police being called to intervene in supermarket brawls, may have broken the rules. BBC News

Unearthed Roman coins turn out to be a BBC show prop. Two metal detector enthusiasts discovered the roman ‘treasure’ in a field after the farmer had given them permission to scout it out. When Andy Sampson and Paul Adams found the haul, they believed it was worth £250,000 and started planning how to spend their findings. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that the field had been used to film a scene in a BBC Four comedy, Detectorists, where a tractor pulling a plough unearths the coins as it goes. The pair, although disappointed, are still enjoying their hobby. BBC News

A window cleaner saved a Banksy mural. When the elusive graffiti artist painted a mural in Hull last week, the vast majority of residents were thrilled to have a piece of contemporary art on their doorstep. It wasn’t long, however, before someone attempted to deface the work, at which point window cleaner Jason Fanthorpe stepped in and removed the whitewash with white spirit, restoring it to its former glory. Hull City Council has now installed a protective cover in order to protect the work. BBC News

Boris Johnson is related to a mummy found underneath a Swiss church. An 18th century mummy is thought to be his great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother. First uncovered in 1975 during renovations on Basel’s Barfusser Church, her identity had remained a mystery for more than 40 years until DNA tested from the mummy’s big toe revealed that she was Anna Catharina Bischoff, a direct maternal ancestor of the Foreign Secretary. Sky News

Facebook is being urged to withdraw a messenger app aimed at children. Over 100 health experts have addressed an open letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, decrying ‘Messenger Kids’ as an irresponsible attempt to encourage young children to use the social media platform. The service offers a simplified, locked-down version of Facebook’s Messenger app and requires parental approval before it can be used. The letter expresses concern that children are “not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships.” Wired

Elon Musk is selling flamethrowers, for some reason. The billionaire founder of PayPal announced to the world that he would start selling flamethrowers emblazoned with his Boring Company (that’s its real name) logo if the company sold 50,000 of its baseball caps. They did and, true to his word, Musk duly set about making the $500 flamethrowers available for sale. A state legislator in California, home of the Boring Company’s HQ, has already announced plans to block their sale. Trust us. We’re just as confused by this story as you are. The Guardian

Stat of the week – 60 years of the Lego brick

The iconic construction toy celebrated its 60th birthday this weekend and to acknowledge the milestone, the company tasked its Master Builders with the challenge of constructing a 10 ft tall 133,000-piece version of its iconic red brick. The brick reportedly took 350 hours to construct.

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