QUIRKY WORLD ... Mother bear of Knut put down after serious illness

GERMANY: The aging mother of Knut, the famous hand-reared polar bear who captured German hearts and the world’s attention in his short life, was put down at Berlin Zoo yesterday because it was said she was blind, deaf, and suffering.

QUIRKY WORLD ... Mother bear of Knut put down after serious illness

Tosca, who rejected her cub Knut at birth in 2006, was nearly 30 years old, the zoo said.

Knut, who died aged 4 in 2011 from an epileptic fit, became the zoo’s star attraction after Tosca rejected him at birth. That would have normally meant death but the cub was saved against the odds and reared by zookeeper Thomas Doerflein.

“Deaf, blind, and disoriented, Tosca was found stumbling around in her cage on Monday,” the zoo said in a statement.

“She lost her sense of smell. It was a pathetic sight. Veterinarians, animal protection officials and zoo officials came to a decision to put the elderly bear out of her misery.”

Tosca was born in Canada but spent time in communist East Germany’s state circus has been at the Berlin Zoo since 1998.

At the height of the Knut frenzy in 2007, thousands of visitors from around the world flocked to the zoo to see the rescued cub frolic in his enclosure.

Knut’s survival inspired a dizzying array of merchandise. Other German zoos have tried to repeat Knut’s fame by promoting other celebrity animals but none has ever come close.

Hollywood physics

ENGLAND: The cosmic science behind blockbuster movie Interstellar could be used in lessons on general relativity, according to the authors of a physics journal paper.

In February, a scientific paper from the special effects team, including theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, was published in the Institute of Physics journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.

War whisky

SCOTLAND: An unopened bottle of whisky taken to the front line of the First World War is to be auctioned.

The Croft Blend Fine Old Scotch was taken to France by Corporal William Mill in 1914 but was never opened and he brought it home with him when he returned to Dumfriesshire.

Mill served with the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the bottle was stored in a suitcase under a bed at his home and passed down through his family.

Around the bend

ENGLAND: Cars that can “see round corners” are now on the market, offering an end to the practice of drivers having to edge out at blind junctions.

The Ford motor company has come up with a video camera installed in the front grille which displays to the driver a 180-degree view from the front of the car.

At a blind junction or exiting a driveway, the camera enables drivers to easily spot approaching vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists.

Wedding weapon

USA: The couple whose wedding at Manhattan’s famous Waldorf Astoria hotel was cut short when a guest’s gun accidentally went off want their money back.

Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer representing bride Anna Goldshmidt and husband Elan Stratiyevsky, says they intend to sue or negotiate with the hotel for the costs of the wedding. They are also considering a lawsuit against Vladimir Gotlibovsky, the guest who accidentally fired his gun, grazing a woman in the head.

Name change

SPAIN: The tiny Spanish pueblo of Castrillo Matajudios, which means ‘Camp Kill Jews’ has officially changed its name back to Castrillo Mota de Judios (Jews’ Hill Camp) following a referendum and regional government approval.

The town, with some 50 inhabitants, voted to change the name after the mayor argued the term was offensive to its Jewish origins.

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