NEWS DIGEST 25.10.2020: Hornets, cats and aspiring rappers make a news impact

Today’s News Digest is brought to you directly from current news posts in my Facebook feed. In the United States, the department of agriculture for the state of Washington has destroyed a nest of an invasive and potentially species of insect known locally as the ‘murder hornet’. The nest, said to contain around 100-200 members of the Asian giant hornet species, was discovered in forests near the city of Blaine. The hornets are highly aggressive and much bigger than native wasp/hornet species, capable of delivering painful stings and are even said to spit out venom. They are also a threat to local honey bee populations. Yesterday, crews in protective suits used vacuum units to sweep up adults while the nest and young were removed from the tree – Washington state crews destroy first US murder hornet nest (The Guardian)

An English pet cat who went missing two years ago has been found safe and well sixty miles away from her home. Ruby, who called Jordan Harvey her human, went missing in 2018 from her Brogborough, Bedfordshire, home, after allegedly sneaking on board a lorry bound for the West Midlands. She resurfaced in the city of Coventry, where a security guard took pity on her thinking she was a stray and fed her. She was eventually taken to a local animal charity where she was found to be microchipped and was reunited with her owner this past Wednesday – Cat missing since 2018 found 60 miles away in Coventry (BBC News)

Players at England’s Leeds United football club have pledged GBP £25,000 (USD $32,614) to the free school meals campaign of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, which suffered a serious setback after UK government politicians voted down a motion by Rashford to give poor children in the UK free lunches during next week’s half-term school holidays. Leeds United captain Liam Cooper told Sky Sports he and his team-mates will join the efforts to help Rashford reach his goal. He tweeted: “Let’s do this Leeds! No children should ever go hungry. £25k guaranteed from the Leeds squad. We stand with you Marcus Rashford.”Leeds players pledge £25k to Marcus Rashford campaign to end child food poverty (Sky Sports)

Japan has announced that it will start signing up astronauts for its space programme for the first time in thirteen years. In an announcement on Friday, science minister Koichi Hagiuda told a news conference that his country will field a team of astronauts to go into outer space as part of a U.S.-led lunar exploration project with Tokyo aiming to get the first Japanese spaceperson on the moon by the late 2020s. As part of the Artemis program, the United States is aiming to send humans to the moon by 2024 for the first time since the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s 1972 Apollo 17 mission – Japan to recruit astronauts in 2021, first intake in 13 years (The Japan Times)

Parks in the London borough of Newham have been hailed as an essential ‘lifeline’ for residents affected by lockdowns and isolation during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, according to the local paper Newham Recorder. Parks in West Ham, Stratford, East Ham and the Royal Docks areas of the borough, in the east of the British capital, have also received Green Flag awards in recognition of their value in bringing nature and fresh air to city dwellers. Access to outdoor space for exercise, leisure and relaxation was particularly important during lockdown, with more than 70 per cent of visitors in a recent Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) survey saying parks had a positive important on their physical and mental health – Newham parks hailed as ‘lifelines’ during pandemic receive international recognition (Newham Recorder)

A rap musician based in Newham’s neighbouring borough Redbridge will make her first appearance on a televised national talent show as she aims to win her first big musical contract. Lesia, based out of Ilford, will be one of six contestants vying for the grand prize of a record deal on The Rap Game UK, to be shown on digital television channel BBC Three. Currently working as a property inventory clerk, Lesia wants to move onto rapping full time, and her style is described as “soulful, melodic rap”. She is being mentored on the show by established grime singers Krept and Konan and garage music disc jockey DJ Target – Ilford rapper aiming to win record contract on new BBC talent show (Ilford Recorder)

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