Category Archives: Great Britain

World’s Oldest Cat? British Feline Celebrates 30th Birthday

EXETER, UK (CBS Local) – A cat in the United Kingdom is being hailed as one of the oldest felines in the world after celebrating his 30th birthday.

Rubble is a fluffy Maine Coon who has been with his owner since he was a kitten in 1988. “It was just before my 20th birthday when I got him,” 50-year-old Michele Heritage said, via the Daily Mail. “He’s a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age.”

Heritage’s furry companion celebrated the big day with a free checkup at her local vet’s office, who she credited with keeping Rubble healthy over the decades. Rubble – who is now the equivalent of 137 in “human” years – is believed to be oldest living cat in Europe.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Siamese cat in Mansfield, Texas named Scooter is the current world record holder. Scooter, born in March of 1986, is now 32-years-old.

Both Rubble and Scooter are chasing the record of another Texas cat. Crème Puff of Austin, TX is the oldest cat recorded and was reportedly 38-years-old.

“He is on medication for his blood pressure but apart from that, he is in remarkably good health,” Shaun Moore from City Vets said of Rubble’s amazing longevity. “Rubble is quite likely to be the oldest cat in the UK and is still going strong.”

World’s Oldest Cat? British Feline Celebrates 30th Birthday

EXETER, UK (CBS Local) – A cat in the United Kingdom is being hailed as one of the oldest felines in the world after celebrating his 30th birthday.

Rubble is a fluffy Maine Coon who has been with his owner since he was a kitten in 1988. “It was just before my 20th birthday when I got him,” 50-year-old Michele Heritage said, via the Daily Mail. “He’s a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age.”

Heritage’s furry companion celebrated the big day with a free checkup at her local vet’s office, who she credited with keeping Rubble healthy over the decades. Rubble – who is now the equivalent of 137 in “human” years – is believed to be oldest living cat in Europe.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Siamese cat in Mansfield, Texas named Scooter is the current world record holder. Scooter, born in March of 1986, is now 32-years-old.

Both Rubble and Scooter are chasing the record of another Texas cat. Crème Puff of Austin, TX is the oldest cat recorded and was reportedly 38-years-old.

“He is on medication for his blood pressure but apart from that, he is in remarkably good health,” Shaun Moore from City Vets said of Rubble’s amazing longevity. “Rubble is quite likely to be the oldest cat in the UK and is still going strong.”

Britain’s New Prince Is Named Louis Arthur Charles

LONDON (AP) — The new prince has a name — in fact three.

The infant son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been named Louis Arthur Charles, Kensington Palace announced Friday.

The palace said the baby’s full title is His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.

William and Kate’s third child was born Monday, a brother to 4-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who is almost 3.

Louis — pronounced LOO-ee — is fifth in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles, his father and his older siblings.

The name pays tribute twice over to Prince Charles, who has Arthur as one of his middle names.

The choice also honors Louis Mountbatten, Charles’ great-uncle and beloved mentor, who was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb in 1979.

Bookmakers had been doing a brisk trade in bets on the new prince’s name, but Louis wasn’t among the favorites. The royal couple has used it before, as one of George’s middle names.

Arthur, Albert and James had been considered front-runners.

Rich Car Owners Putting Spikes On Trees To Avoid Bird Poop

CBS Local — Residents in the wealthy British neighborhood of Bristol have come up with a controversial new way to stop birds from pooping on their expensive cars. The affluent drivers have started to place spike strips on the trees surrounding their pricey automobiles.

“The spikes are solely to protect the cars, there is no other reason,” an anonymous resident told the Bristol Post. “There is a big problem with bird droppings around here. They can really make a mess of cars, and for some reason they [the birds] do seem to congregate around this area.”

While admitting that the spikes could be seen as cruel by others, the resident added that people in Bristol had already tried to scare the birds away from the neighborhood and failed.

After photos of Bristol’s anti-bird poop solution were posted on social media, outrage quickly grew among animal activists and others who saw the plastic spikes as inhumane.

“I’m lost for words at how appalling this is,” one person commented. Another person called the spikes a “war on wildlife” in a Twitter post that was re-tweeted over 7,000 times.

“I think people are just looking for something to get upset about,” one Bristol resident said in response to the social media criticism.

While the anti-bird spikes may be unpopular, there is little Bristol’s city council can do about the neighborhood’s plan. The tree limbs that have been spiked reportedly fall outside the city’s “tree preservation orders,” which can fine residents for cutting or uprooting certain trees in the area.

Rich Car Owners Putting Spikes On Trees To Avoid Bird Poop

CBS Local — Residents in the wealthy British neighborhood of Bristol have come up with a controversial new way to stop birds from pooping on their expensive cars. The affluent drivers have started to place spike strips on the trees surrounding their pricey automobiles.

“The spikes are solely to protect the cars, there is no other reason,” an anonymous resident told the Bristol Post. “There is a big problem with bird droppings around here. They can really make a mess of cars, and for some reason they [the birds] do seem to congregate around this area.”

While admitting that the spikes could be seen as cruel by others, the resident added that people in Bristol had already tried to scare the birds away from the neighborhood and failed.

After photos of Bristol’s anti-bird poop solution were posted on social media, outrage quickly grew among animal activists and others who saw the plastic spikes as inhumane.

“I’m lost for words at how appalling this is,” one person commented. Another person called the spikes a “war on wildlife” in a Twitter post that was re-tweeted over 7,000 times.

“I think people are just looking for something to get upset about,” one Bristol resident said in response to the social media criticism.

While the anti-bird spikes may be unpopular, there is little Bristol’s city council can do about the neighborhood’s plan. The tree limbs that have been spiked reportedly fall outside the city’s “tree preservation orders,” which can fine residents for cutting or uprooting certain trees in the area.

Scientists Call For Ban On Glitter, Say It’s A Global Hazard

CBS Local — Arts and crafts enthusiasts have known for years that glitter tends to attach itself everywhere and never seems to come off. Scientists now say that the sticky decorations are also an ecological hazard that needs to be banned across the globe.

Environmental scientists are arguing that the risk of pollution, specifically to the oceans, is too great to ignore and the tiny plastic particles need to be outlawed. “I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand’s Massey University said, via the Independent.

Microplastics are defined as plastics which are less than five millimeters in length. The small size of the craft supply reportedly makes them appealing for many animals, who eat the dangerous objects. A study by Professor Richard Thompson claimed that plastics were found in a third of all fish caught in Great Britain.

“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” Thompson said. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”

Some British nurseries have already banned the products from their facilities as the country is expected to officially ban items which contain microbeads in 2018. “There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we’re all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we’re doing terrible damage,” director of Tops Day Nurseries Cheryl Hadland told the BBC.

In the U.S., only seven states have passed legislation to restrict the use and sale of microbeads in products like facial scrubs and body washes. California became the first to place a ban on the products in 2015.

Massive Ransomware Attack Cripples Computer Networks In Over 60 Countries

LONDON (CBS / AP) — Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack Friday that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies.

It was believed to the biggest attack of its kind ever recorded.

The malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was supposedly identified by the National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet.

Britain’s national health service fell victim, its hospitals forced to close wards and emergency rooms and turn away patients. Russia appeared to be the hardest hit, according to security experts, with the country’s Interior Ministry confirming it was struck.

All told, several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software, which so far has been responsible for tens of thousands of attacks, in more than 60 countries. That includes the United States, although its effects there didn’t appear to be widespread, at least initially.

The attack infected computers with what is known as “ransomware” – software that locks up the user’s data and flashes a message demanding payment to release it. In the U.S., FedEx reported that its Windows computers were “experiencing interference” from malware, but wouldn’t say if it had been hit by ransomware.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called the attack “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.”

Security experts said the attack appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies and organizations when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly internally from computer to computer when employees share documents and other files.

Its ransom demands start at $300 and increase after two hours to $400, $500 and then $600, said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. Affected users can restore their files from backups, if they have them, or pay the ransom; otherwise they risk losing their data entirely.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organizations were probably behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread.

“For so many organizations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented,” he said.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software “patches” for those holes. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries. In addition to Russia, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to the security firm.

Hospitals across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems. Many canceled all routine procedures and asked patients not to come to the hospital unless it was an emergency. Doctors’ practices and pharmacies reported similar problems.

Patrick Ward, a 47-year-old sales director, said his heart operation, scheduled for Friday, was canceled at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

Tom Griffiths, who was at the hospital for chemotherapy, said several cancer patients had to be sent home because their records or bloodwork couldn’t be accessed.

“Both staff and patients were frankly pretty appalled that somebody, whoever they are, for commercial gain or otherwise, would attack a health care organization,” he said. “It’s stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised and added that the attack had not specifically targeted the National Health Service.

“It’s an international attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected,” she said.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack. Authorities said they were communicating with more than 100 energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services providers about the attack.

Spain’s Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company, was among the companies hit.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers.

Krishna Chinthapalli, a doctor at Britain’s National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery who wrote a paper on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal, warned that British hospitals’ old operating systems and confidential patient information made them an ideal target for blackmailers.

He said many NHS hospitals in Britain use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001, and as government funding for the health service has been squeezed, “IT budgets are often one of the first ones to be reduced.”

“Looking at the trends, it was going to happen,” he said. “I did not expect an attack on this scale. That was a shock.

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