‘Selfie’ named word of year
Michelle Obama shared one with her “first dog” Bo, Hillary Clinton tweeted one with her daughter, Chelsea. Now “selfie” — the smartphone self-portrait — has been declared word of the year, according to Britain’s Oxford University Press. The publisher of the Oxford dictionaries said yesterday that “selfie” saw a huge jump in usage in the past year, bursting from the confines of Instagram and Twitter to become mainstream shorthand for any self-taken photograph. Researchers behind the renowned dictionaries pick a prominent word or expression in the English language each year that best reflects the mood of the times. Judy Pearsall, the editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, said “selfie” appeared to have been first used in 2002 on an Australian online forum and the hashtag selfie appeared on photo-sharing Web site Flickr in 2004. “But usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when ‘selfie’ was being used commonly in mainstream media,” she said. The term beat other buzzwords including “twerk,” the sexually provocative dance move that got a huge boost in usage thanks to an attention-grabbing performance by pop star Miley Cyrus; “showrooming,” the practice of visiting a shop to look at a product before buying it online at a lower price; and “Bitcoin,” the digital currency.
Gunmen shoot teen in legs
Masked gunmen shot a 15-year-old schoolboy in the legs in Northern Ireland on Monday in an attack widely blamed on paramilitary groups. Matthew Campbell was shot after the gang forced their way into a house in a staunchly pro-British “loyalist” area of Coleraine, a town in the north of the British province. There have been a string of security alerts in recent weeks, including the attempted murder of a former policeman with a bomb under his car, while petrol bombs were thrown at the Belfast office of the centrist Alliance Party at the weekend. Monday’s shooting revived memories of the so-called “knee-cappings” that were frequently used by both loyalist and Catholic republican paramilitaries during the Troubles. The teenager underwent emergency surgery after the early morning attack and was in a stable condition, Belfast Health Trust said.
Bounty placed on salmon
Fish farming giant Marine Harvest promised an US$80 reward on Monday for any recaptured salmon after a violent storm over the weekend allowed thousands to escape. The unusual move comes after western Norway was whipped by strong winds, causing damage to the huge submerged cage in which 127,000 of the fish are kept by the world’s largest salmon producer. Marine Harvest deployed nets in the surrounding areas in an attempt to catch the swim-aways, but is also offering 500 kroner (US$80) for each fugitive returned. The escapees are damaging to the marine ecosystem because the farmed salmon weaken the genetic makeup of their wild cousins if they reproduce with them.
Trotters thrown into mosque
Assailants threw pig’s trotters into a mosque near Stockholm after smashing the windows of its main door, police said on Monday. “Shortly before 11am, we received a call from the mosque” in Fittja, police official Ulf Lindgren saud. “The person had just arrived and found pig’s trotters inside.” In Islam, pork meat is considered impure. Police are looking for witnesses in the area and have no suspects so far. “In Sweden, pig’s trotters are a traditional dish at Christmastime. You can buy them easily,” Lindgren said.