News Briefs

New song by Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono has teamed with the Pet Shop Boys for a dance-floor remake of John Lennon’s final song “Walking On Thin Ice.” She and her husband were working on the song in December 1980 when he was fatally shot by Mark Chapman. Ono released the song two months later and it made it to No. 35 on the U.K. charts.

Bubblebike scooter in Britain

British engineers have invented a scooter called Bubblebike to help commuters deal with the congestion of the roads. The two-wheeled vehicle can reportedly squeeze through very tight spaces. It has a roof and is thin enough to fit through a doorway. The scooter was three years in the making and is based on Yamaha’s XP500 TMax model.

VCU study finds physicians hard to change

A study by VCU has found that even brochures and training can’t change physician behavior. Researchers analyzed 20 years of studies that attempted to measure the effectiveness of continuing education. Mary Nettleman, chair of VCU’s Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, said changing behavior is a challenge because it can involve practices that have been established for a long period of time. February’s issue of “Clinical Governance: An International Journal” says that the study failed to identify a method for effectively changing the behavior in doctors, although combined education, motivation and facilitation appeared to work best.

“Dry ice” on Mars

The north and south poles of Mars were found to contain frozen water trapped under a layer of “dry ice” (frozen carbon dioxide). Because there is no liquid form of water on the planet, scientists said humans would not be able to maintain life. Carbon dioxide is needed to warm Mars’ waters, reported the journal “Science.” The planet’s features, however, suggest that at one time it might have been warm and wet enough to sustain liquid water. Astronomers have searched for life on Mars for more than a century.

Nightclub fire in Rhode Island kills 96

Less than a week after 21 people were killed in a stampede at a Chicago nightclub, 96 died in a fire in Rhode Island Thursday night. A crowd, ranging from teens to those in their 30s, was gathered at The Station nightclub to see the 1980s band Great White, when a pyrotechnics show sparked flames in the small wooden building. The club’s capacity was 300, but the deaths and injuries indicate more were inside. Victims of the blaze were burned to death or crushed while attempting to leave the establishment. 200 people were injured, 35 critically. Among the missing or unidentified is Great White guitarist Ty Longley. Club owners deny the band’s claims that they were given permission to use pyrotechnics. Concert organizers in other locations said the band used the dangerous form of entertainment without permission at three other concerts. Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said a criminal investigation is underway to determine if any charges should be filed.

Oil fire in New York

An explosion at an oil depot barge in New York Friday killed two workers. The fire from the blast sent black smoke throughout the city and into parts of New Jersey, which caused many to recall the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The barge, which contained about 4 million gallons of unleaded gasoline, was being unloaded when the explosion occurred. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there are many potential hazards associated with loading and unloading fuel that could cause a fire. The barge, owned by Hicksville-based Bouchard Transportation Co., eventually sank in the waterway between Staten Island and New Jersey. Last March, a Bouchard employee was found to be legally drunk during an oil spill in the East River. The company paid for the $1.3 million cleanup.

Attack of the slippers

A man in India recently attacked a judge with a pair of slippers while appearing in court on a robbery charge. The second slipper hit District Sessions Judge Bhagwan Sharda in the face. The man was restrained and led away. A charge of assault was added to the man’s record. This incident was reportedly the third time in recent months that an accused individual has thrown a slipper at a judge.

Helicopter crash in Yemen kills eight

Eight people were killed Saturday when a Yemeni military helicopter with 12 troops on board crashed into the Red Sea. A Yemeni defense official said the crash was due to technical fault. The helicopter was on a routine patrol mission over Hanish, which was handed back to Yemen by Eritrea in 1998 after a sovereignty dispute.

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