Master tea tester’s £1m tastebuds take the biscuit

ENGLAND: A master blender is to have his tastebuds insured by a leading tea company for £1m (€1.26m).

Sebastian Michaelis, one of a small group of tasters employed by Tetley, can grade a variety of tea in just 15 seconds. He spent nine years touring tea gardens in Africa and India before embarking on his career.

Michaelis said: “Blending tea, like blending whiskey or champagne, is a fine art. First, I examine and grade the colour, size and density of the leaf, then I assess the brew’s purity of colour, the weight of the tea in the mouth, and the overall liveliness of the tea on the palate.”

Far from home

JAPAN:

A man has been reunited with a boat that got swept away in the 2011 tsunami and found three years later on an atoll 1,200km southwest of Hawaii.

Tomomune Matsunaga, of Fukushima, lost his home and boat to the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that killed 16,000 people.

Hawaii volunteer Danielle Lampe was conducting a survey for the US fish and wildlife service on Johnston Atoll when she found Matsunaga’s boat in May, said the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

A student training vessel carried the watercraft from Honolulu to Japan, and Matsunaga got it back on November 10, his birthday.

Matsunaga said the vessel brings back memories of working on it and of his children playing on it.

Cleopatra costume

USA:

A costume worn by Marilyn Monroe for a 1950s photo shoot is expected to fetch around £500,000 when it is auctioned next month.

The outfit, a gold braid bustier and bikini bottoms complete with a headdress, chiffon skirt, and jewellery, was worn by the star when she posed for famed photographer Richard Avedon for Life magazine in 1958.

It was based on the costume worn by silent screen siren Theda Bara in her most famous role as Cleopatra in a 1917 film.

Fringe festival

ENGLAND:

It might be more suited to a fringe show but London’s Saatchi Gallery is showcasing a new style of cutting-edge art — an installation made from human hair.

United Nations: Man And Space appears to have more to do with a hairdresser’s salon than an artist’s studio as it assembles flags from around the world made from little more than locks of hair held together with glue.

It has been created by the Shanghai-born but US-based artist Wenda Gu and features in a new exhibition, Post Pop: East Meets West.

Seal of disapproval

ISRAEL:

Israel’s president has cancelled the appearance of a local pop star at a high-profile event following the star’s release of a song about a fictional Arab who gets his kicks stabbing Jews.

The office of President Reuven Rivlin said it cancelled its invitation for Amir Benayoun to perform at next week’s event marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

The office said the sentiments of the song ‘Ahmed Loves Israel’ are “inconsistent with the responsibility required of the president’s residence”.

Friends no more

USA:

A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he posted Facebook photos of stolen guns from an unsolved burglary.

Christopher Banegas was recently arrested and charged in connection with the September 2013 heist at an Albuquerque home.

Police say they lacked any leads until the victim saw pictures of his stolen guns on Banegas’ Facebook page.

The two had been friends, and the victim tells police he did not check Banegas’ Facebook page because he did not suspect him.

Banegas is facing charges of aggravated burglary, larceny of a firearm, and tampering with evidence.


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