Smuggling submarines and other world news

Published 4:37 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

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With how busy I’ve been in the past few months, I haven’t had as much time to keep up with what’s going on in the rest of the world, far away from our lives in the Roanoke-Chowan area. But I think it’s always a good idea to know a little bit about what’s happening to other people elsewhere.

To catch up, I’ve scrolled through stories from the Associated Press, CNN, and NPR to see what I’ve missed out on, and here are some of the most interesting news stories I’ve seen recently:

Balancing art: A 24-year-old Palestinian man, Mohammed al-Shenbari, has made a name for himself by creating gravity-defying artwork. He often takes mundane objects and balances the larger ones on top of smaller ones, creating something we’d expect to see in a museum. For example, he can balance two large gas canisters on a tiny slanted pipe wrench, and then balance an upside-down TV on top of an empty Coke bottle. He says the art requires great focus to come together.

Smuggling submarine: Over in Spain, authorities are working to raise a sunken submarine which is suspected to be full of cocaine. The smugglers have been arrested but bad weather was making it more difficult to raise the approximately 65-ft long vessel. Allegedly, the submarine could be carrying as much as three metric tons of the illegal drug and may have originally crossed the ocean from Colombia.

Animal mummies: Visitors to the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt can currently view an exhibit there featuring several recently discovered mummified animals. It wasn’t unusual for ancient Egyptians to mummify their cats to go with human burials, but other animals were more rare. This new exhibit includes crocodiles, birds, and even some lion cubs. The artifacts found alongside the animal mummies date back somewhere between 664 B.C. to 332 B.C.

Fifth force: Research scientists in Hungary are experimenting with what could be a “fifth force of nature.” Physics says the four forces we already know about are gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force. Right now, they’re calling the new particle which seems to demonstrate that new force as “X17” while they continue their research.

Alternate transportation: In London, travelers won’t be able to rely on Uber to get from place to place anymore since the city’s transportation regulator refused to renew the company’s license to operate. Their reasoning, they said, was that Uber’s system allowed unauthorized drivers to take customers. This apparently happened at least 14,000 times. For the time being, tourists will just have to “mind the gap” and use other forms of transportation.

Cleanup crew: After higher than usual water levels flooded Venice this month, the city’s citizens pulled together to salvage what they could in the wake of damage. The Acqua Alta (“High Water”) bookstore, for example, is known for displaying books in bathtubs and gondolas, but even they weren’t high enough to escape the recent tidal flooding. The owner said she was lucky that so many young people came to help out with the cleanup.

Trekking for fun: An American lady, Katie Visco, recently completed a cross-country trek across Australia, covering over 2,200 miles on foot in about four months. Visco had previously crossed the United States on foot a decade ago, and decided Australia would be the next challenge she tackled. She said the trip was incredible different from the first one, and also quite difficult, but she enjoyed the experience.

As you can see, there are plenty of interesting things and fascinating people all around the world. Some stories might be relatable while others completely foreign. But it’s always nice to see what people across the globe are facing and to consider other perspectives.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or at 252-332-7206.