NEWS DIGEST 27.12.2020: (Re-)discovering long lost life, while dodging bad storms

As we get ready for the beginning of the new year named 2021, here is some news brought you via Facebook. An ancient Myanmari flower has been ‘discovered’ perfectly preserved in amber 100 million years after it last blossomed. The tiny Valviloculus pleristaminis, which measured only 2 millimetres across, lived alongside the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period and belonged to the laurel family and was related to the blackheart sassafras found in Australia – ‘New’ species of flower is discovered in a shard of amber in Myanmar 100 MILLION years after it blossomed (Mail Online Science & Tech)

A French bulldog who went missing in the English county of Gloucestershire has been discovered alive and well nine months later 170 miles (274 kilometres) away. Minnie, beloved companion of Staci Day, may have been stolen from her home, but the thief abandoned her in Lancashire. A woman walking her own dog found Minnie injured at the side of a canal. She was rescued but sadly had to have a leg amputated. Minnie returned to Staci and her children just before Christmas this year – Minnie the French bulldog found 170 miles away after nine months (BBC News UK Gloucestershire)

British scientists have repeated calls for a full UK-wide lockdown as the London/South-East England regional mutation of the coronavirus, which is far more aggressive than other types of the virus, has now been confirmed as entrenched in several European countries that receive high numbers of British tourists. Tier 4 restrictions in the south-east of England have now been extended to a further six million people, with now forty per cent of England’s population affected – Scientists call for UK lockdown after rapid spread of Covid-19 variant (The Guardian/The Observer)

Japan has been commended by one leading news magazine for the way its authorities have handled the coronavirus epidemic, which has helped keep the impact of the virus on Japan relatively small. The Japanese dodged national lockdowns or mass testing, but have to date not experienced the calamitous increase in infections experienced by other advanced nations, like France, Italy, the UK and the US – The Japanese authorities understood covid-19 better than most (The Economist)

Back in the UK, storm Bella is predicted to bring more strong winds and torrential rain to southern England in particular, with most of the UK now subject to weather warnings for this weekend. Strong gales of up to 80+mph (129kph) are expected, with residents warned of possible damages to buildings and flying debris. Some 98 flood warnings – including two severe “danger to life” warnings – have been issued in England, six in Wales and 12 in Scotland. Warnings for snow have also been issued by meteorological agencies – UK weather: Storm Bella forecast to bring more strong gales and heavy rain (Sky News)

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