World’s largest floating Christmas tree lit up in Brazil


The weather outside might be frightful, but Brazil’s Christmas tree is delightful! They’ve kicked off the holiday season with a bang as they lit the world’s tallest floating Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro. More than a hundred thousand locals and tourists turned out to see the 279 foot tree brought to life as its 3.1 million lights was switched on.

It’s been decorated to reflect five elements: water represented by blue lights and aquatic creatures, air shown within an array of birds, the forest theme took the form of butterflies macaws and monkeys, there was of course Christmas and humanity, which was represented by people linking hands.

The 542 ton structure was certainly not a let-down to these people in the crowd.

“A Christmas tree lit up like this. It’s beautiful. Beautiful. Truly something great and a new experience. And I hope I get to experience it again soon and have another Christmas here.”

“I loved it! It was great, great, great! I loved it.”

This annual Christmas tree ceremony first began in 1996, and its lighting celebration has become Rio’s third biggest tourist event.

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Nelson Mandela’s first ever TV interview


This is Mandela's first television interview.
I asked him what it was that the Africans really wanted.
The Africans require want to franchise on the basis of one man, one vote. They want political independence.
Do you see Africans being able to develop in this country without the Europeans being pushed out?
We have made it very clear in our policy that South Africa is a country of many races. There is room for all the various races in this country.
Are there many educated Africans in South Africa?
Yes, we have a large number of Africans who are educated and who are taking part in the political struggles of the Africans. The question of education has nothing to do with the question on the vote. On numerous occasions, it has been told in history that people can enjoy the vote even if they have no education or proper desired education. Everything is a good thing, but you don't have to have education in order to know. But you want certain fundamental rights so you have got aspirations, you have got claims. It has nothing to do with education whatsoever.

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Japanese Students Demonstrate Synchronized Precision Walking


You've heard of synchronized swimming—now Japan has synchronized precision walking.

A group of Japanese students at Nippon Sports Science University have taken walking to a whole new level, drawing in 11,000 people at their university festivities this year on Thursday (November 14).

It's called "Shudankodo " in Japanese, or "collective action", and while the university says they've been doing this sport since 1966, it wasn't until a YouTube video went viral last year that it gained huge popularity.

It took the 77 Nippon Sports Science University students 5 months—at 3 days a week—of exercises to get them in shape for the dazzling performances. Their practise forced them to walk up to 720 miles in total, roughly the distance from Paris to Rome.

The captain of the team say she hopes their collective discipline will change the older generation's view of the younger.

"People say Japanese youngsters these days lack the ability to work collectively in group, but we just proved that we don't."

Suzuki says this training also helps student with their job search.

"We all mastered this highly disciplined training and made it our habit to stick to strict rules. I believe this experience will be an asset as we enter into the job market."

The university, famed for producing many Olympic gold medalists, sumo wrestlers and politicians, uses this event to highlight its student's athletic prowess—from cheerleading to martial arts.

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Record-breaking 5,000 book domino chain completed


Now that's what you call an impressive domino chain!

Yeah, a Belgian book association has broken the world record for the longest book domino chain ever.

The record-breaking event was designed to celebrate books and promote reading.

A total of 4,845 books followed a pathway through the Antwerp book fair -spelling the Dutch words for "book," "fair" and "read."

It took forty volunteers two hours to set up the lines of books.

At the end of the 614-metre-long journey, which took only six minutes to complete, the books set off fireworks. Oh we do love a celebration!

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Fans Inhale Apples iPad Air


High-fives and cheers at the iPad air launch.

"I've been waiting from 6pm. It was really fun and hard, but I like that I'm here now and I'm the first one. I was dreaming about this and this happened!"

Big things are expected of the lighter thinner tablet.

Reviews have been really good.

Including the one from CNET, Senior Editor Scott Stein:

"A lot of other people can't compete in providing something with that performance and that design and that platform support. You really look at the smaller tablets—I think is where you have a question of do you go budget? And you have a lot of competing people like that. You look at the iPad mini but in the large iPad, that $500 price even years later, I think that is still really tough to beat. "

And that's why he thinks people will pay up. For a full size tablet, the iPad Air is not even all that much more expensive than rival devices from Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung.

But that's the full size world—overall when it comes to tablets, who is Apple's enemy #1?

"I think it's Android. I think certainly there is a huge Android landscape out there, but I think that right now the way that the Android tablet landscape is set up is that a lot of it is about consumption—that Google play, and creating a usable multipurpose reading, video playing device versus something that you may be doing a ton of work on. "

Apple's answer to the smaller rivals, the new ipad mini with retina display, goes on sale later this month.

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Roma community in Greece defends couple accused of trafficking Maria


The Roma community of Farsala in Greece, where a mystery blonde girl was discovered, have been defending the couple who are accused of snatching the 4 year old.

The girl known as Maria was found after police raided the settlement. DNA tests prove she is not the couple’s child.

“Their children are crying all the time, they are crying over Maria, and their mother and their father, they are constantly crying.”

This Roma woman who has a blonde child says the couple are being unfairly stigmatised.

“The child was fine just there. Sure, she bought it. Children are bought for adoption if someone does not have children, that is what is done. This woman took the child to raise it. The mother who sold it, maybe she was poor, had problems and she wanted to give it to a good family.”

The couple denies they snatched the girl and say they took her under their care after her mother handed her to them shortly after giving birth. The discovery of Maria has prompted thousands of calls with leads from across the world as authorities try to track down her real mum and dad.

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Giant pumpkin boat: Man breaks two world records in pumpkin boat


With Halloween just around the corner many are getting into the holiday spirit.
But one man has taken things to a whole new level.
Meet Dmitri Galitzine and his giant pumpkin boat.
I have always been fascinated by giant vegetables. When I found out they could float it seemed to make perfect sense.
Of course it did. Not content with being possibly the only British person to own a hollowed-out pumpkin boat, Dmitri has broken two pumpkin boat related records.
On Wednesday he set a world record in the 100m paddle.
Look at him go.
Luckily he has had supporters cheering him on every step of the way.
Then on Thursday he became the first to sail to the Isle of Wight. It was a beautiful, clear morning at Stokes Bay in Hampshire – perfect weather for sailing a giant fruit. A motor
was strapped to the 500-kilogram pumpkin boat.
After posing for a few snaps…
The Miraculous was carefully lowered into the water.
Following some last minute checks, Dimitri set sail.
The 27-year-old managed to cross one of the busiest shipping channels in a mere 1 hour 56 minutes.
The journey went so well, Dimitri even turned around and sailed back to Portsmouth.
There are now hopes his achievement will encourage more people to try and cross the Solent using other giant vegetables or fruit.
We are hoping for a massive watermelon.

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New York cafe pranked by ‘Carrie’ horror film crew


"Oh my God!"
"That sucks. I’m sorry."
"You just ruined all of my stuff!"
You don’t want to spill this woman’s coffee. You really don’t because bad things happen to people who upset her–told you.
"Just get away from me… Get out of my way!"
"Oh my God!"
Has she got evil powers? Could be. Freaking out the good souls in this New York coffee shop, who only wanted a latte for crying out loud and maybe a bagel. But not some supernatural experience. That was definitely not on the menu. Of course it’s a set-up and a pretty good one.
Come on… you spotted the wires didn’t you? Movie special effects by well, a movie company. The studio behind the remake of Stephen King horror classic "Carrie," deciding to mess with people’s heads. Pretty elaborate. And as for the girl, she’s really quite nice. See? She’s smiling and high-fiving the guy. Just wait till she finds out the cafe’s burnt her toast though. Hopefully movie bosses aren’t working on remakes of "Jaws" or "The Exorcist," pranking people with fake shark attacks and comedy demonic possessions.

Difficult words:

freak out to become very anxious, upset or afraid, or make someone very anxious, upset or afraid

bagel a small ring-shaped type of bread

supernatural = impossible to explain by natural causes, and therefore seeming to involve the powers of gods or magic

prank = a trick, especially one which is played on someone to make them look silly

elaborate = carefully planned and organized in great detail

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The world’s most expensive diamond goes under the hammer in Switzerland


If you've been waiting far too long for a lover to pop the question, perhaps it's best to look away now, for this is the most expensive diamond ever to go under the hammer. That's what auction house Sotheby's says, anyway.

It's called the 'Pink Star' and experts believe that at 59.6 carats, it could fetch as much as 40 million pounds. It was cut and polished from a 132.5 carat rough diamond mined by De Beers somewhere in Africa in 1999. It was then sold to an anonymous buyer in 2007. Not her. So let's hope whoever buys it this time around is luckier in love than she was.

Difficult words:

go under the hammer to be sold at an auction (= a public sale where objects are bought by the people who offer the most money)

polish to make something smooth, bright, and shiny by rubbing it

anonymous = unknown by name

fetch = to be sold for a particular amount of money, especially at a public sale – used especially in news reports

carat = a unit for measuring the weight of jewels

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Three-year-old snooker prodigy: Chinese toddler wows with snooker skills


Meet China's Wang Wuka, the three-year-old with an exceptional talent.

The little snooker prodigy has wowed fans with his skills, in one video even potting 15 balls in just ten seconds.

And it's little wonder he's so good. His father, a keen snooker enthusiast, had the table installed when he was born, denying him any other toys.

And nowadays, at the tender age of just three, little Wuka spends five hours a day practising. Other toddlers take note!

Difficult words:

exceptional = unusually good

snooker = a game played especially in Britain on a special table covered in green cloth, in which two people use long sticks to hit coloured balls into holes at the sides and corners of the table

prodigy = a young person who has a great natural ability in a subject or skill

pot = to hit a ball into one of the pockets (=holes at the edge of the table) in games such as billiards, pool, and snooker

keen = someone who is keen is eager to work or learn and enjoys doing it

tender age = the time when you are young or do not have much experience

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