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Lifestyle • Travel
Ten Nepalese make first winter ascent of K2
Ten Nepalese make first winter ascent of K2
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

For the first time in history, mountaineers have climbed K2 in winter. The 8611-meter peak in the Karakoram in Pakistan is the second-highest mountain in the world and is considered extremely difficult. The group of Sherpas had paused at a point 70 meters from the summit to wait for each other before entering the world's history books together.

Lifestyle • Religion
German Pastor Olaf Latzel sentenced for incitement of the people
German Pastor Olaf Latzel sentenced for incitement of the people
Credit: Courtesy of St. Martini Gemeinde zu Bremen

The Bremen District Court has convicted the Lutheran pastor Olaf Latzel of the regional church St Martini parish in the Hanseatic city, of incitement of the people. The fundamentalist pastor had made homophobic and sexist remarks at a marriage seminar in October 2019, and a recording was posted online in March with his consent on his YouTube channel, which has nearly 25,000 subscribers.

According to the court, the statements are incitement and could emotionally justify violence against homosexuals.

Bernd Kuschnerus, the senior theologian of the Bremen Protestant Church, said he was "deeply saddened that a pastor of our church has been convicted of incitement of the people." The statements on which the verdict was based were unacceptable and damaged the reputation of the church, he said. There had been strong opposition to Latzel from the congregations of the Bremen Protestant Church for years. The church leadership has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the pastor, but these are suspended until a legally binding judgment is reached. Latzel's defense filed an appeal.

Lifestyle • Religion
Pope's personal physician dies of Covid-19 complications after already heaving cancer

Pope Francis' personal physician, Fabrizio Soccorsi, has died as a result of an infection with the coronavirus. As reported by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the 78-year-old died after "complications" from a Covid 19 infection. Soccorsi had been admitted to Rome's Gemelli University Hospital on Christmas Day due to cancer.

The 84-year-old pontiff wants to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Lifestyle
Elon Musk becomes world's richest person as wealth tops $185bn
Musk speaks to the news media during a news conference at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the successful liftoff of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A.
Musk speaks to the news media during a news conference at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the successful liftoff of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A. Credit: NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur was pushed into the top slot after Tesla's share price increased on Thursday.

He takes the top spot from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who had held it since 2017.

Lifestyle • Religion
Vatican: "Morally acceptable" to receive Coronavirus vaccines using abortion cell lines
Vatican: "Morally acceptable" to receive Coronavirus vaccines using abortion cell lines
Credit: Raffaele Esposito, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Vatican said that it is "morally acceptable" to receive a Coronavirus vaccine even if cell lines from tissues of aborted fetuses were used in its production. The Vatican stated that the use of such vaccines "does not in itself constitute a legitimation, even indirect, of the practice of abortion".

Lifestyle • Food
German court bans manufacturer from selling cookies containing sawdust
German court bans manufacturer from selling cookies containing sawdust
Credit: unsplash.com / Kolby Milton

The Administrative Court of Karlsruhe has dismissed a complaint by the cookies manufacturer after the city had forbidden him to distribute cookies containing sawdust. "The biscuits may not be marketed because they are not safe food but objectively unsuitable for human consumption," a spokesman for the court said on Monday.

The manufacturer argued that sawdust is a vegetable product and claims he uses only microbiologically safe wood flour.

The company had manufactured and distributed the sawdust cookies for about 20 years and had also specified sawdust as an ingredient.

Lifestyle • Travel
Super Nintendo World in Osaka's Universal Studios Japan to open in February
Screenshot of Super Nintendo World Direct
Screenshot of Super Nintendo World Direct Credit: Nintendo via YouTube

Super Nintendo World in Osaka's Universal Studios Japan is set to open in February. During the company’s latest Direct live stream, game director Shigeru Miyamoto led a video tour through the new theme park that's modelled after the Mushroom Kingdom.

Visitors can use smart wristbands, the so-called "Power-Up Band", to interact with the attractions, such as punching question mark or POW blocks.

Super Nintendo World is set to open to visitors on February 4, 2021 and is planning to launch parks in other cities across the world.

Lifestyle • Religion
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Credit: Jmquez, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Over 370 religious leaders from around the world are calling for an end to the criminalisation of LGBT+ people and a ban on gay conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practise of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation. The leaders stated that "certain religious teachings have often, throughout the ages, caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence" to LGBTQ+ people and further have "created, and continue to create, oppressive systems that fuel intolerance, perpetuate injustice and result in violence."

Among those who signed are eight archbishops, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu; over 60 rabbis, including former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen; the Catholic former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and various senior Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus.

Lifestyle • Food
German chocolate producer Milka shrinks Santa Claus candy but increases price
Milka's Santa Claus candy
Milka's Santa Claus candy Credit: Milka, Screenshot

The chocolate Santa Claus candies of the German chocolate producer Milka have become smaller this year - but more expensive, reports the consumer center Hamburg after having taken samples in eight supermarkets. Instead of 50 and 100 grams, the hollow figures of the flavour Milka alpine milk weigh only 45 and/or 90 grams instead. In addition, the price has increased as the 45-gram Santa Claus now costs 1.19 euros. In the previous year, it was retailed at 99 cents for the figure with five-gram more mass.

According to a statement of the consumer center, it is also harder to detect the size decrease. Due to a flap with a folded edge, the two shrunken Santa Clauses appear even larger.

Lifestyle • Cruises
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
First Caribbean cruise in months: Five passengers test positive for Covid-19
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

At least five passengers of the SeaDream 1 have tested positive for Covid-19. It's the first cruise ship taking passengers on a cruise since Covid-19 shut down the cruise industry. The ship left Barbados on Saturday and had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island, and Tobago Cays, according to Gene Sloan from Points Guy.

Lifestyle • Religion
NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison
NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison
Credit: US Government, Eastern District of NY, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Keith Raniere, founder and leader of American multi-level marketing, cult-like company NXIVM, was convicted of racketeering, sex trafficking, child pornography possession and other crimes last year and has now been sentenced to 120 years in prison on October 27.

Lifestyle • Travel
"Very nice" catchphrase from Borat adopted by Kazakhstan for tourism campaign
"Very nice" catchphrase from Borat adopted by Kazakhstan for tourism campaign
Credit: User Skssoft on de.wikipedia; Michael Bulcik / SKS Soft GmbH Düsseldorf / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)

After banning the first Borat movie featuring the fictional Kazakhstani journalist Borat in the country, Kazakhstan has now picked up the catchphrase "very nice", that the character uses repeatedly, for a tourism campaign to attract new people coming and visiting the country.

The deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, Kairat Sadvakassov, has stated that "Kazakhstan's nature is very nice. Its food is very nice. And its people, despite Borat's jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world,".

Lifestyle • Religion
Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions
Pope Francis
Pope Francis Credit: Long Thiên (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Pope Francis as made his most explicit endorsement of same-sex civil unions since becoming pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival.

"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. "You can't kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."

Lifestyle • Travel
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Credit: Jesse Katayama (Instagram)

The Japanese Jesse Katayama was the first visitor on Machu Picchu, after months of Covid-19 closure.

Katayama had a entry ticket and permit to enter the UNESCO World Heritage site on March 16, the same day the Peruvian government opted to close the site. His original plan was to spend three days in the area, but with flights cancelled and movement limited by the virus, Katayama was stuck there for months.

"I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go, but thanks to all of you who pleaded with the mayor and the government, I was given this super special opportunity," he wrote on his Instagram account.

Lifestyle
Delphine Boël wins a lawsuit to be recognized as the daughter of former Belgium king
Delphine Boël wins a lawsuit to be recognized as the daughter of former Belgium king
Credit: Luc Van Braekel / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Delphine Boël has won a seven-year legal battle to be recognized as the daughter of the former king of Belgium, Albert II. She will now be called Delphine of Saxen-Coburg-Gotha, princess of Belgium, following a ruling of the Brussels Court of Appeal.

Lifestyle • Religion
Vatican official Cardinal Becciu resigns unexpectedly
Vatican official Cardinal Becciu resigns unexpectedly
Credit: Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The second most senior official in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, has unexpectedly resigned from office after being involved in a controversial deal to use church funds to invest in the purchase a London building. Becciu has denied any wrongdoings.

"Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights connected to the Cardinalate, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu," so the Holy See.

"An investment was made on a building. It was good and opportune occasion, which many people envy us for today," Becciu earlier this year.

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
India: Taj Mahal reopens after six-motnh-long closure
Credit: unsplash.com/Koushik Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal has reopened its doors to visitors after a six-month-long closure. To ensure people's safety, various Coronavirus measures have been implemented, e.g. reduced capacity, temperature checks and mandatory face masks.

Lifestyle • Citytrips
Cluj-Napoca, a city in Romania, in the finals for European Capital of Innovation
Cluj-Napoca, a city in Romania, in the finals for European Capital of Innovation
Credit: European Commission

The finals include the following cities: Espoo (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden), Leuven (Belgium), Valencia (Spain), Vienna (Austria), and Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

The winner of the competition, to be announced on September 24, receives €1 million, which is to be used in consolidating activities which innovate the infrastructure. The five runners-up will receive  €100,000 each.

Lifestyle • Travel
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
India: Taj Mahal will reopen despite India's high Coronavirus cases
Credit: unsplash.com/Koushik Chowdavarapu

The Taj Mahal will reopen on September 21st," mit Srivastava, deputy director of Uttar Pradesh state’s tourism department has announced. Masks, social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols will be required for visitors. Instead of the usual daily 20,000 visitors, only 5,000 will be allowed. Visitors will have to buy tickets only as no physical tickets will be sold.

Lifestyle • Food
NYC restaurant owners file $2b lawsuit against city and state officials
Financier Patisserie closed all its location due to mandated indoor dining shutdown
Financier Patisserie closed all its location due to mandated indoor dining shutdown Credit: Billie Grace Ward from New York, USA / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

New York City restaurant owners have filed a $2 billion class-action suit against city and state officials in Manhattan's Supreme Court, stating a violation of the constitutional rights of mover than 150,000 New York City restaurant owners.

"It’s been nearly six months since New York City restaurants were mandated to shutdown indoor dining, and Mayor de Blasio still does not have a reopening plan, even though the rest of the state has been dining indoors since June," so Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Lifestyle • Travel
US Border Patrol Says They Can Create Central Repository Of Traveler Emails, Keep Them For 75 Years

The U.S. government has taken the opportunity during the global pandemic, when people aren’t traveling out of the country much, to roll out a new platform for storing information they believe they are entitled to take from people crossing the border. A new filing reveals how the U.S. Border Patrol will store data from traveler devices centrally, keeping it backed up and searchable for up to 75 years.

On July 30 the Department of Homeland Security published a privacy impact assessment detailing the electronic data that they may choose to collect from people crossing the border – and what happens to that data.

Lifestyle • Travel
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Covid-19 causes huge losses for German travel giant TUI
Credit: Marco Verch (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

TUI, the world's largest travel operator, suffered a 98.5% drop in revenues due to Covid-19 restrictions. The group posted a €1.42 billion loss between April and June.

On Wednesday, TUI secured a second credit line from the German government, adding to a €1.8 billion loan taken on in April, and while the CEO said it might not need to use the latest line, the focus is now on debt.

In May the company stated it would need to cut 8,000 jobs and save €300 million a year to help it withstand the crisis.

Lifestyle • Cruises
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Credit: Holger.Ellgaard / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

After a Coronavirus outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, Cruise line Hurtigruten has halted all "expedition" cruises until further notice. It's confirmed that 41 people on board of the MS Roald Amundsen were tested positive for Coronavirus, the rest of the crew and hundreds of passengers were urged to self-isolated.

Hurtigruten's Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam: "Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, has led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters."

Lifestyle • Cruises
Norwegian cruise ship: Four crew members hospitalized with Covid-19
MS Roald Amundsen
MS Roald Amundsen Credit: Hurtigruten

Four crew members of the Norwegian cruise ship Roald Amundsen have been hospitalized with Covid-19 after arriving in Tromsoe.

The scheduled trip to Spitzbergen has now been cancelled and all 160 crew members have been quarantined on the ship. The passengers of the Roald Amundsen had already left the ship when the cases were detected but are now being contacted by telephone with the order to self-isolate in order to stop a further spread of the virus.

Lifestyle • Travel
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Croatia sees decline in tourists as pandemic worsens
Credit: unsplash.com / Colton Jones

Tourism in Croatia is on the decline as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, July saw 1.8 million tourists enter the country, 51 percent compared to last year's numbers. The most popular destinations were on the Dalmatian coast, with Rovinj, Umag and Split among them.

Tourism is a significant part of Croatia's GDP. Many businesses rely on the influx of tourists in the summer, with July being one of the busiest months.

Lifestyle • Religion
Volunteer admits to have started fire at Nantes cathedral
Organ in the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Nantes previous to the fire
Organ in the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Nantes previous to the fire Credit: Jordiferrer (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After being questioned by the police and released without charges a volunteer at the cathedral in Nantes has confessed to arson. No motive has been given as to why the volunteer warden has started the fire, but his lawyer has stated that he felt "relief" after confessing to the police.

The fire has destroyed the cathedral's 17th Century organ and multiple historically valuable stained windows of stained glass, but the fire brigade has managed to put the fire out before the main structure could be destroyed.

Lifestyle • Food
UK sees an increased demand for vegan food products
UK sees an increased demand for vegan food products
Credit: unsplash.com/Creatv Eight

According to a research by trademark law firm EMW, there has been a significant increase of trademarks for vegan and plant-based food products in recent months. Magnum, Ben & Jerry's and Unilever are among the brands who filed trademarks for vegan products.

The Vegan Society has released a study that found that many British consumers reduced their meat and dairy consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown, either due to a lack of other products or for health reasons.

Lifestyle • Religion
Man questioned over Nantes cathedral fire
Man questioned over Nantes cathedral fire
Credit: Fx Bellamy via Twitter

A 39-year-old Rwandan refugee has been arrested in connection with a fire in the 15th century Nantes cathedral. The man worked as a volunteer at the cathedral being in charge of locking up the building on Friday night.

Prosecutor Pierre Sennes said that three fires had been started at the site and that there had been no signs of a break-in.

Lifestyle • Religion
French cathedral in Nantes on fire
French cathedral in Nantes on fire
Credit: Fx Bellamy via Twitter

The fire department of the Départements Loire-Atlantique has reported that the cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in Nantes is on fire. 60 fire fighters are combating the fire but according to the fire brigade "The fire is not under control, it is spreading".

Lifestyle • Citytrips
France: Disneyland Paris, Eiffel Tower reopen
View from the Eiffel Tower
View from the Eiffel Tower Credit: unsplash.com/Matt Boitor

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios have partially reopened on Wednesday after almost four months. Other tourists attractions are also being reopened. The top floor of the Eiffel Tower is now open for visitors but is restricted to maximum of 250 people.