Wedding a YouTube hit
Britain’s royal wedding attracted 72 million live streams on YouTube in 188 countries and more than 100 million views on the big day itself, the Google-owned video-sharing site said on Friday. YouTube said the top five countries watching live streams of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on the site’s Royal Channel were Britain, the US, Italy, Germany and France. “The total streams on April 29, 2011, reached 101 million as romantics around the globe tuned in to watch the fairytale ceremony, the procession and the final balcony kiss,” YouTube said.
Senior envoy resigning
The State Department said on Friday that Arturo Valenzuela would leave in a few months to return to a teaching post at Georgetown University in Washington after serving since 2009 as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Spokesman Mark Toner said the administration would start looking for a successor, and it was deeply appreciative of Valenzuela’s service. However, Valenzuela’s tenure was criticized by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She said Valenzuela had not done enough to counter rising anti-Americanism in the region led by presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Raul Castro of Cuba.
Boy mauled by leopard
An elementary-school student on a class field trip to a zoo was mauled by a leopard after climbing a 1.5m railing and approaching the animal. The Wichita Eagle reported that the animal grabbed him around the head with both paws and tried to bite him. A woman on the zoo’s tram saw what was happening and jumped off the tram and spooked the leopard. The child suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to his head and neck. He was listed in fair condition.
Climate change cuts yields
Climate change has stunted the worldwide increase in corn and wheat yields since 1980 by 3.8 and 5.5 percent respectively, a new study in the journal Science said. Without global warming, total harvests of both crops would have been significantly larger than they were, the statistical analysis found. The shortfall equals the annual yield of corn in Mexico, about 23 tonnes, and wheat in France, about 33 tonnes. One of the countries with the largest crop loss was Russia, where wheat production fell about 15 percent. The study estimates that the global drop-off in production may have caused a 6 percent hike in consumer food prices since 1980.
California split on shark fin
A California proposal to outlaw the title ingredient in shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, has turned into a recipe for controversy in San Francisco, home to the US’ oldest Chinatown. A bill moving through the state legislature would ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins. Supporters say shark finning is inhumane and a threat to the ocean ecosystem, but critics say the consumption of shark fins is a cherished part of Chinese culture. In San Francisco, the debate has pulled in Chinese basketball star Yao Ming (姚明), who appears in anti-finning ads on city buses and billboards. Shark fins may prove an unexpected ingredient in this year’s mayoral race, which includes three prominent Asian-Americans. Two have come out for the ban, while one opposes it.