While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 19 edition

Hong Kong protesters break into legislature as tensions rise again

A small group of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters broke into the city’s legislature via a side door early on Wednesday, and police stopped others forcing their way in as tensions in the Chinese-controlled city escalated following a period of calm.

The flare-up came just hours after court bailiffs managed to clear part of a protest camp in the heart of the city that has been occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators for nearly two months, while leaving most of the main protest site intact.

About 100 riot police with helmets, batons and shields stood guard outside the government building in the early hours of Wednesday, facing off with protesters who are demanding free elections for the city’s next leader in 2017.

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World Health Organisation braces for bird flu spread in European poultry

The World Health Organisation cautioned on Tuesday that a new kind of bird flu hitting European poultry farms would spread among birds, after Britain confirmed its outbreak was of the same strain as in the Netherlands and Germany.

Dutch authorities have culled 150,000 hens at an egg farm in Hekendorp, near Utrecht, following an outbreak on Sunday. The same day, the British government announced an outbreak at a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire, northern England, which on Tuesday was confirmed to be the same H5N8 strain.

WHO scientist Elizabeth Mumford said she "absolutely" expected more bird flocks to fall sick, but said it remained unclear whether the virus will spread to humans.

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Sri Lanka's iconic hotel doorman dies at 94

Sri Lanka's oldest hotel doorman at the venerable Galle Face Hotel, Mr K. Chattu Kuttan, died on Tuesday after a brief illness.

Mr Kuttan, who worked at the hotel for 72 years from the colonial era through Sri Lanka's independence and the dark decades of ethnic conflict, was 94, hotel managers said.

Mr Kuttan was a fixture of the 150-year-old Galle Face Hotel where he was first employed as a waiter in 1942 before becoming a doorman 50 years later. Among the many famous faces he welcomed were Emperor Hirohito, Richard Nixon, Sir Laurence Olivier and George Bernard Shaw.

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Polar bear numbers down 40 per cent in parts of Arctic: Study

Polars bears in the Arctic suffered sharp declines in the first decade of this century, losing about 40 per cent of their population, according to US and Canadian scientists.

The worst years for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea were 2004 to 2007, when scientists believe thinning ice made it harder for the bears to find seals for food.

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Simpsons co-creator helps save gay Irish bull from the slaughterhouse

An Irish bull destined for the slaughterhouse because he appears to be gay has been saved following a campaign supported by the co-creator of animated TV show, The Simpsons, animal rights activists said on Tuesday.

Benjy's failure to inseminate even one of a herd of cows in which he was mixing rendered him useless on his County Mayo farm, and the farmer decided to send him to the abattoir.

But after a story appeared in the local newspaper, more than 250 people donated money to buy Benjy, a Charolais-breed bull, from the farmer. Among them was Mr Sam Simon, co-creator of the hit US animation series The Simpsons, whose £5,000 (S$10,148) donation proved decisive.

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