Flies move ‘like fighter jets’: New research shows that when a threat comes into view, fruit flies make extremely fast turns similar to those made by fighter jets. The study explains why flies are hard to catch, according to the team.
11 April 2014
The research team were astonished by the speed with which fruit flies are able to change direction in mid-flight when faced with a threat.
Like fighter aircraft, they pitch, roll and regain stability, and all in five-thousandths of a second. High speed video shows that this complex and abrupt manoeuvre involves very subtle changes in the insect’s wing beat that are barely discernible.
It’s a mystery how a creature with a brain the size of a grain of salt is able to process visual information and translate it into precise muscular movements so quickly and precisely.
But according to the research team, it does help to explain why flies are so difficult to swat.
Beginning of the end for Japanese whaling?: Three Japanese ships have returned home at the end of the annual hunt for whales in the Southern Ocean. Japan has said they will not set sail again next year, after the International Court of Justice said the hunt was illegal.
7 April 2014
It wasn’t much of a homecoming: family and friends on the dockside. The crews waved back and then unloaded their cargo of whale meat. It could be the last one for some time from the waters off the Antarctic.
Japan has cancelled next year’s hunt after the International Court of Justice said it was illegal. Australia and New Zealand convinced the judges that Japan was not catching whales for scientific research, as it had claimed – to get round a worldwide ban on whaling.
Those welcoming home the flotilla were glum. One official bowed in apology. “People don’t understand Japanese ways,” said this man.
The captain from one of the returning ships said he hoped he’d someday return to the Antarctic. But next year will be the first time in 25 years that Japan has not hunted whales in the Southern Ocean.
US created ‘Cuban Twitter’: The US created a text message social network designed to cause unrest in Cuba, according to an investigation by the Associated Press news agency. ZunZuneo, called the ‘Cuban Twitter’, had over 40,000 users in a country with limited access to the internet. The project is thought to have lasted from 2009-2012.
4 April 2014
ZunZuneo was popular here in Cuba. The service provided news – on sport and culture in particular – straight to subscribers‘ mobile telephones. But users had no idea they were signing up to a programme created in the United States.
Funded by the US government development agency USAID, ZunZuneo targeted young Cubans in particular. Ultimately, the goal was to send political messages via the network, aimed at provoking a ‘Cuban Spring’.
But users told the BBC that the service ended abruptly over a year ago, before they received any kind of political content. Confirming that the project did indeed exist, the White House called ZunZuneo a ‘development’ programme, intended to help the ‘free flow’ of information.
But the US has a long history of trying to provoke regime change in Havana: starting with assassination plots against Fidel Castro – then a trade embargo – and more recently, high-tech projects like this one.
Vatican bank ‘three trillion euro fraud’ stopped: Two men carrying a briefcase filled with fake bonds have been arrested by Vatican police after they tried to gain access to the Vatican bank. They were dressed in business suits and claimed to have an appointment with bank officials, but they were handed over to Italian police after questioning by Vatican security officers.
31 March 2014
The two suspects were carrying fake bond certificates with a face value of some four trillion dollars, and were allegedly hoping to open a line of credit at the Vatican bank. This bank – called the Institute for Religious Works – runs thousands of private accounts held by cardinals, bishops and religious orders all over the world, as well as administering the Holy See’s own local payroll.
It’s been the subject of enquiries into alleged money laundering. The Vatican, a sovereign state, has been tightening up its international banking procedures after criticism by a European regulatory watchdog body that it’s been used as an offshore fiscal haven by unauthorised individuals.
Pope Francis has ordered a complete overhaul of the bank and has set up a detailed enquiry into the transparency of its transactions. Last year the Vatican, for the first time, agreed to cooperate closely with Italian authorities trying to combat any fraudulent use of the bank.
Previously, the Vatican had claimed diplomatic immunity for Vatican bank officials. Pope Francis sacked two of its former directors – both Italians – who now face possible trial on money laundering charges in an Italian court.
BBC Words in the News 14/04 Transcript Video
More BBC Words in the News
- BBC News Report July 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Jun 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report May 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Apr 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Mar 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Feb 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Jan 2015 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Dec 2014 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Nov 2014 with transcript video
- BBC News Report Oct 2014 with transcript video
More from the BBC
- L1: BBC Drama – Frankenstein with transcript videos
- L2: BBC 6 minute English with transcript videos
- L1: BBC The English We Speak with transcript videos
- L1: BBC Drama – The Race with transcript videos
- L1: BBC Short and Easy Dramas with transcript videos
- L3: BBC Words in the News with transcript videos
- L1: BBC English at Work with transcript videos
- L1: BBC How to … with transcript videos
- L1: BBC 6 Minute Vocabulary with transcript videos
- L3: BBC The Reading Group
- L1: extr@ English with subtitles
- L3: The Business of English Video Series
- L2: Study English – IELTS Preparation
- L4: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
- L1: Living English Video Series
- L4: Freakonomics Radio Podcast
- L2: The Secret Garden AudioBook
- L0: EFU English Elementary Level
- L2: VOA American Stories
- L1: Listen to English – ESL British Podcasts
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: