Snippets from around the World Quarter 3 2021

By Myrle Vanderstraeten, Published in International

South Africans had something to smile about for a change when Tatjana Schoenmaker swam her way to victory in the 200m Breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Her time of 2:18.95 set an Olympic and World Record time, and won SA's first gold medal at the Olympics. To add to our South African pride, her teammate Kaylene Corbett finished fifth in the final. Tatjana also won silver in the Women's 100m Breaststroke.

And the power of women was also seen when Bianca Buitendag, who was seeded 17th out of the world's top 20 female surfers, made world history by winning a silver in surfing's inaugural short board Olympic challenge at Japan's Tsurigasaki Beach. Seeded 17th out of the world's top 20 female surfers, Buitendag's 'surprise triumph' came during a typhoon and her comment was that the "confusing and messy conditions" worked to her advantage.

New research from the Imperial College London, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation, has revealed that broken heart syndrome is very real. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy affects an estimated 2 500 people in the UK each year; occasionally it proves fatal. The Times' science correspondent Rhys Blakely writes that why the syndrome strikes some people but not others has been a "longstanding medical mystery". BHF medical director, Professor Metin Avkiran, says further research is needed to understand the chronic stress process and to "determine if drugs that block these microRNAs could be the key to avoiding broken hearts".

The Economic Times reports that a small village in the east Java province of Indonesia has innovative inhabitants. They have made a robot from household items like pots and pans and a TV monitor. The robot, which has been dubbed the 'Delta Robot', delivers food to residents who have the coronavirus and need to selfisolate. As the robot goes down the streets, the speaker emits the message, "A delivery is here. Get well soon."

According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, Neanderthals painted on cave walls in Spain 65,000 years ago – tens of thousands of years before modern humans arrived. At La Pasiega cave near Bilbao in the north, a ladder-like painting has been dated as more than 64 800 years old. And in the Maltravieso cave in western Spain, a hand shape – thought to have been created by spraying paint from the mouth over a hand pressed to the cave wall – was found to be at least 66 700 years old. An expert in the field who was not involved in the research says that this makes the case for a radical retelling of the human story; modern human behaviour 'differs from the Neanderthals by the narrowest of margins'. The remnants of Neanderthals, in the form of skeletons, tools and decorative adornments, reach back more than 120 000 years in Europe – long before modern humans left Africa and made their way there around 40 000 years ago. Another paper, published in Science Advances, it states that dyed and decorated seashells found in the Aviones sea cave in southeast Spain were made by Neanderthals 115 000 years ago, pointing to a long artistic tradition.

On 27 July, 19-year-old Pakistani mountaineer Shehroze Kashif, summited K2, or the Savage Mountain as it is also known. At 8 611 metres above sea level, it is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest (8,849 metres). It lies in the Karakoram Range, in part in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistanadministered Kashmir. With the aid of bottled oxygen on both occasions, Kashif became the youngest Pakistani to scale Everest in May.

For those who can afford it, the "world's most expensive candle", named Smells Like Capitalism, has been put on sale priced at £2 021. Its maker, Flaming Crap, wanted to personify what wealth smells like and says it "gives off a musky leather aroma with notes of Great British sterling kept in an off-shore account". Flaming Crap will donate all profits made from its candles to furthering efforts to combat homelessness in conjunction with various charities.

It would seem that Rihanna is more than a musical celebrity. According to Forbes, she is officially a billionaire. The business magazine says the 33-year-old pop star, whose real name is Robyn Fenty, has a net worth of $1.7bn, making her the wealthiest female musician and the second-richest woman in entertainment behind Oprah Winfrey. Rihanna hasn't released an album for five years and has instead concentrated on her business empire.

Compiled by Myrle Vanderstraeten