Chaps should eat nuts for their nuts’ sake
Eating nuts “significantly” boosted the number and health of sperm in young men, researchers said on Wednesday. Their findings “support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality”. Researchers recruited 119 men aged 18-35, who they divided into two groups. One group ate 60g of almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts daily on top of their usual “Western-style” diet, while the second group got no nuts. After 14 weeks, the nut group “had significant improvements in their sperm count, vitality, motility (movement) and morphology (shape)” — all associated with male fertility”. The results were consistent with sperm improvement observed in other studies that looked at diets rich in omega-3, antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc, and folate. Nuts are rich in many of these nutrients. — AFP
Right, let’s try these on the OR Tambo run
China’s internet giant Baidu has begun mass producing the country’s first autonomous mini-bus, as the firm prepares to roll them out in tourist spots and airports. The 14-seater Apolong has no steering wheel, driver’s seat, accelerator or brake. Co-produced by Baidu and Chinese bus manufacturer King Long, they will soon be pressed into commercial in several cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and the country’s new megacity Xiong’an. Early next year, they are set to enter Japan’s self-driving market as shuttle buses at nuclear power stations or in Tokyo to ferry around elderly people in local communities. Baidu, often referred to as China’s Google, operates the country’s leading search engine and also invests heavily in services ranging from online payments to connected devices and artificial intelligence. — AFP
Proof that poms had a hand in US independence
A rare parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence has been found at a British archive among the papers of an aristocrat who supported the rebels. The manuscript was discovered at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester. Tests showed it was produced in the 1780s — just a few years after the declaration itself was issued in 1776. The document is the only other contemporary manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence on parchment apart from the signed copy at the National Archives in Washington DC, known as the Matlack Declaration. Researchers said X-ray fluorescence analysis of the document found a high iron content in holes in the corner of the parchment, indicating that nails may have been used to hang it. DNA tests also revealed the parchment was made of sheepskin.— AFP
WhatsApp with the lynchings in India?
WhatsApp said on Wednesday it was “horrified” by a spate of lynchings in India sparked by false rumours shared on its platform. More than 20 people have been killed in India in the last two months after rumours were spread on smartphones about child kidnappers, thieves and sexual predators. Rumours on WhatsApp about child kidnappers saw eight men killed in eastern Indian last year but the same information has since resurfaced. Attacks have been reported in at least 11 states recently, most recently in Maharashtra where five men were bludgeoned to death by a crazed mob on Sunday. With more than 200 million users, India is WhatsApp’s biggest market. Its parent company Facebook has also been grappling with a global data privacy scandal. — AFP
More Russian toxin attacks in the UK?
British counter-terrorism officers joined a police investigation on Wednesday after two people were found in critical condition from suspected exposure to an unknown substance near the English city of Salisbury where a former Russian spy was poisoned. Reports said the man and woman had been poisoned and were showing similar symptoms to those displayed by ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia who were victims of a nerve agent attack in March. Samples of the toxin involved had been sent to the nearby military research centre of Porton Down for testing. The pair, both in their 40s, were found slumped unconscious on a bench on March 4. They were initially believed to have taken heroin or crack cocaine from a contaminated batch of drugs. — Reuters
Grisly criminal war hots up in Nigeria
Nigerian police say they have found the bodies of 41 men with their throats cut in a northern area that is notorious as a hideout for criminal gangs. Eighteen bodies were found in a river on Sunday while 23 others were discovered in a nearby forest in the Zurmi area. Police arrested four suspects after searching the bush area and also found machetes and guns. The suspects were identified as members of a widely-feared local vigilante group “who decided to carry out the extra-judicial killings”. Police believe the victims were gang members who raid villages, steal cows and abduct locals for ransom. The attacks have prompted villagers to form militia groups accused of killing suspected bandits. Those killings attract reprisals from motorcycle-riding criminal gangs, who carry out indiscriminate killings and arson in retaliation. — AFP