Baby panda makes press debut at Japan zoo

A baby panda Xiang Xiang, born from mother panda Shin Shin on June 12, 2017, is seen during a press preview ahead of the public debut at Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, Japan December 18, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 18 December 2017

Baby panda makes press debut at Japan zoo

TOKYO: A baby panda born six months ago made its debut before the cameras in Japan Monday, a day before a doting public gets an eagerly-awaited glimpse of the cuddly animal.
The panda named Xiang Xiang — derived from the Chinese character for “fragrance” — has sparked a media frenzy since its birth on June 12 at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
Broadcasters aired live footage of the cub nimbly climbing a tree and chomping on bamboo in a special cage.
Along with local schoolchildren, selected media were permitted to watch and film the panda through a glass shield.
The public will get their first chance to see Xiang Xiang on Tuesday, the zoo’s first baby panda exhibition since 1988.
“Xiang Xiang has been thriving with the loving nurturing by mum Shin Shin,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at a ceremony, describing the baby as “a new treasure of Tokyo.”
The panda cub weighs 12.3 kilos (27 pounds) and is the size of a medium-sized dog, zoo officials said, adding that it is in good health.
In order to reduce stress on the panda and avoid crowds, the zoo will limit the maximum number of visitors to 2,000 a day for a one- to two-minute slot until the end of January.
The zoo received nearly 250,000 applications for a lottery to see Xiang Xiang.
For avid panda fans who miss out, the zoo will offer a live stream of Xiang Xiang’s daily life from Tuesday for a year.
Mum Shin Shin, which mated with Ri Ri in February, had previously given birth in 2012 — the zoo’s first panda delivery in 24 years — only for the cub to die from pneumonia six days later.
Zookeepers have since given the adult pandas some private space in a bid to create an environment for the bashful creatures to mate successfully — a notoriously difficult process.
Until recently considered an endangered species, it is estimated that around 2,000 giant pandas remain in the wild, in three provinces in central China.

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

Nicki Minaj recently released a new album. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

  • Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi
  • She was just in Milan attending Fashion Week

DUBAI: Pop superstar Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi and posted a string of photos on Instagram to show off her skills.

“Ride wit Minaj (sic),” the rapper-singer captioned a snap on the social media site, showing her astride a dune buggy in the desert.

She also posted a video in which she can be seen speeding through the desert with her loose hair streaming in the wind. Earlier in the evening, she posted a video in which she runs along a beach in the UAE at night and talks in a British accent, saying she wants her fans to “see the water.”

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Ride wit Minaj

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Before her trip to the Gulf country, Minaj sat front row at the Versace show at Milan Fashion Week.

She sat alongside Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni in an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, according to Reuters.

“I’m so proud of you @donatella_versace You’ve never missed a beat. So tiny, but so powerful,” Minaj posted after the runway show.

“Loved the show tonight. Thank you for my gorgeous flowers & for playing like 75 percent of the Queen album at the show,” she added, referencing fourth studio album, which was released in August to mixed reviews.

Minaj also took a front row seat at the Fendi show in Milan, taking a turn for fans on her way in decked out in a Fendi puffer jacket and matching leggings and cropped top.

Other front-row celebs included Ferragni with her rapper husband Fedez, leaving home their much-Instagrammed infant, Leone, but trailing television cameras as they toured backstage.

While the front-row celebrity attire was highly branded Fendi streetwear, the runway collection by Karl Lagerfeld was more elegant and subtle, the Associated Press noted.

The artist is fresh off a bout of controversy involving US rapper Cardi B, who infamously tried to attack Minaj during a scuffle at a party held on the sidelines of New York Fashion Week earlier in September.

Minaj and Cardi B were the center of attention as A-list guests reportedly huddled around their phones to watch footage of the fracas.
A person who witnessed the incident, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Minaj was finishing up a conversation with someone when Cardi B tried to attack her, but Minaj’s security guards intervened, the Associated Press reported.
Video footage that circulated on social media at the time showed Cardi B lunging toward someone and being held back. Cardi B reportedly threw one of her shoes at Minaj.

Here’s to hoping Minaj has a more enjoyable time in the UAE.