Rarest whale spotted off New Zealand

Updated 07 November 2012
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Rarest whale spotted off New Zealand

WASHINGTON: The world’s rarest whale — previously known only through bones — has been spotted in New Zealand where a mother and her male calf were examined, Current Biology reports. The spade-toothed whale, or Mesoplodon traversii, previously had not been seen in the flesh, was known only from bone samples and it was not clear if the species was extinct or not.
“This is the first time this species — a whale over five meters in length — has ever been seen as a complete specimen, and we were lucky enough to find two of them,” said Rochelle Constantine of the University of Auckland. “Up until now, all we have known about the spade-toothed beaked whale was from three partial skulls collected from New Zealand and Chile over a 140-year period.
It is remarkable that we know almost nothing about such a large mammal.” The whales were found stranded on Opape Beach in New Zealand in December 2010, the report explained.
At the time, officials examined the whales and took tissue samples. The whales were then identified not as spade-toothed beaked whales but as common Gray’s beaked whales. Later DNA testing showed they were in fact the rarest of birds, as far as whales are concerned. It’s not clear why the species — identified by bones found in 1872 — has remained so elusive to humans.
“It may be that they are simply an offshore species that lives and dies in the deep ocean waters and only rarely wash ashore,” Constantine said. “New Zealand is surrounded by massive oceans. There is a lot of marine life that remains unknown to us.”


‘Kim Jong Un’ poses for selfies in Singapore ahead of Trump summit

Updated 28 May 2018
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‘Kim Jong Un’ poses for selfies in Singapore ahead of Trump summit

SINGAPORE: Surprised Singaporeans pursued North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday before realizing the portly man with slick black hair near the Marina Bay Sands hotel was an impersonator.
“It looked like the real Kim Jong Un, but later I realized it’s not the real one,” said Sagar Admuthe who was visiting from Mumbai, India, after several selfies with the doppleganger against a backdrop of the city’s bay.
“When you see him, it’s very difficult to make out.”
The Australian-Chinese man posing as the North Korean leader calls himself only Howard X and said he was appearing to wish success for a summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump to negotiate an end to the North’s nuclear program.
Howard X also made an appearance as Kim at the Winter Olympics in Gangneung in South Korea in February, bewildering North Korean cheerleaders who initially thought their leader had walked into a hockey stadium.
“I think the two leaders will sit down and they’re going to have a great time, because really they have the same personality,” he said on Sunday. “They are going to be best friends right after this meeting.”|
Trump signalled that preparations for a June 12 summit with Kim were going ahead, despite having called it off last week, and a White House team was scheduled to depart for Singapore this weekend to prepare for the possible summit.
Howard X said Kim’s rise as the third leader of North Korea in 2011 has proved lucrative for him, jump starting a new career in films, commercials and private functions, most often in his home town of Hong Kong.
“I said that guy looks a lot like me, and I thought, wow, I need to do something with this and make some money,” Howard X added.
“This is my normal body,” he said, when asked if he had to put on weight to impersonate the North’s leader. “But he’s fatter, and I can’t catch up ... it’ll damage my health.”
Howard X, who is a musician by training and said he still produces Brazilian music sung in Chinese, said his partner known as Dennis Alan impersonates Trump. Although he could not join him this week, both will return before the summit.
“Hey Donald, I’m already in Singapore, waiting for you to turn up,” Howard X said.