Taiwanese miniature artist creates art from pencil lead

YUNLIN COUNTY, Taiwan (Reuters) —  At his home in Taiwan’s Yunlin County, miniature artist Lee Chien-chu peers through a magnifying glass to take a closer look at one of his latest works of art – the alphabet carved from the lead of a mechanical pencil. Lee creates miniature sculptures out of various types of pencil lead, all smaller than 0.5 centimeters in diameter. The piece of art he is holding up, however, is even smaller […]

China unveils 2020 Mars rover concept: report

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China has unveiled illustrations of a Mars probe and rover it aims to send to the Red Planet at the end of the decade in a mission that faces “unprecedented” challenges, state media said Wednesday. China, which is pouring billions into its space programme and working to catch up with the US and Europe, announced in April it aims to send a spacecraft “around 2020” to orbit Mars, land and deploy […]

Indian ‘oldest man ever’ says yoga, celibacy key to age

KOLKOTA, India (AFP) — Looking remarkably unlined for his claimed 120 years, an Indian monk who says he is the oldest man to have ever lived puts his longevity down to no sex or spices, and daily yoga. Hindu monk Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896, according to his passport. If true, his life would have spanned three centuries, but despite his apparent age he remains strong enough to perform yoga for hours […]

Taiwan tea entrepreneurs brew up new twist on tradition

by Amber WANG TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Cheap instant “bubble tea” has become one of Taiwan’s best-known culinary exports — now a new wave of entrepreneurs hopes a high-end modern take on traditional brews will also be sipped worldwide. Taiwan has been producing tea for more than 200 years and a cup of the island’s famous oolong is obligatory for many visitors, but exports have been knocked by rising labour costs and bubble tea has […]

Firms in aging Thailand bet on demand surge for robots and diapers

(REUTERS)  Thai elderly care robot Dinsow can not only keep track of your medication and video-phone your relatives, but can also exercise with you and even entertain you with its karaoke skills. Its manufacturer, CT Asia Robotics, is one of many Thai firms investing heavily in healthcare for the aged in a country where the working-age population will decline this year – a first among the emerging economies of Southeast Asia. By the end of […]

Women with common ovary problem may not get recommended tests

  By Madeline Kennedy (Reuters Health) – Women with a common ovary problem should be screened for blood sugar and cholesterol problems, but a new survey of obstetricians and gynecologists found few were ordering those tests. In the U.S., up to 12 percent of women have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormone disorder that causes irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and difficulty getting pregnant. Most women with PCOS have multiple cysts on their ovaries. They’re […]

Cambodia bans Pokemon Go game at genocide museum

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuters) — Cambodia on Wednesday (August 10) banned the game Pokemon Go from a former Khmer Rouge torture center and prison after players showed up at the site, now a genocide museum, searching for the virtual cartoon characters. It is the latest effort to rein in enthusiasts of the game, which has been blamed for a rash of accidents and has prompted safety warnings after players glued to their phones stumbled, were […]

10 powerful women

  They still face a fight for their rights, but women have begun to break through the glass ceiling and join the select group of global political leaders. Here are 10 of the most powerful women in the world: – Angela Merkel – Merkel, 62, became Germany’s first woman chancellor in 2005 and has led the biggest economy in Europe ever since, winning a third four-year term in 2013. She is a key world leader […]

Mexican inmates use tattoo skills for purse designs

by Carola SOLÉ Tulancingo de Bravo, Mexico (AFP) — Sitting in a Mexican prison’s library, murder convict David Guzman tattooed a skull on a leather patch for a designer handbag to be sold in a luxury shop. Guzman, 34, took drugs and stole at a young age, falling into a “nefarious” world that landed him in prison, but five years into his murder sentence, he appeared at peace as he drew the skeletal figure. His work […]

Facebook Messenger hits one billion users

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook said Wednesday the number of users of its Messenger application had topped one billion, a key milestone as it seeks to expand the platform to new services. The growth in Messenger gives greater reach to Facebook, which is moving to create a “family” of applications beyond the social network. “As part of this journey to one billion, we focused on creating the best possible experiences in modern day […]