7 Headlines You Won’t Read Anywhere Else Today: Jan. 1

By Ingrid Longauerová, Epoch Times
January 1, 2014 Updated: January 1, 2014

Siberia: New Year 2014 begins with a world record in Siberia

Divers brave minus 45C to place a ‘New Year Tree’ beneath the ice on bed of the mighty Lena River.

Unlike in the West, the arrival of the New Year  across Siberia and the rest of Russia is the cue for Grandfather Frost – our Santa – to bring presents to children. This is the night families gather around the tree to exchange gifts at the same time as marking the New Year.

In Siberia’s coldest region, the Republic of Sakha, celebrations got underway with hardy divers braving an icy north wind and an air temperature of minus 45C to place the decorated tree on the floor of the 4,472km Lena River. …

The Siberian Times


Ecuador: A Latin American tradition, the New Year’s Eve burning of the año viejo dummies...

One of Cuena’s most iconic traditions is the year-end burning of dummies. When the clock ticks over to 2014 on Tuesday night, an observer with an elevated vantage point in Cuenca will behold an other-worldly sight: thousands of dummies burning in the streets and a sky filled with smoke and fireworks. Think Danté’s hell. Think Mad Max. Think Happy New Year. …

Cuenca High Life


France: France rejects Italian plea to borrow Mona Lisa

France has turned down a request from the Italian city of Florence to borrow the Louvre’s famous Mona Lisa painting, by Leonardo da Vinci. Authorities in Italy wanted to bring the artwork back to the country in which it was painted, for an exhibition.

For over 200 years, France has jealously guarded Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum – and it doesn’t look like it will be returning to Italy any time soon. …

The Local


Japan: Dairy farmer records changes to his Fukushima village

Kenichi Hasegawa’s home videos and photos do not contain the usual fare. They show cows heading for slaughter, villagers bidding farewell, and men in protective suits roaming the village.

Hasegawa said he bought a single-lens reflex camera and a camcorder immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the accident at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

“I have to keep records for the sake of posterity,” said Hasegawa, a 60-year-old dairy farmer. …

The Asahi Shimbun


Wales: Welsh whizz hits the big time with ‘nap app’

Matthew Nifield’s app to help adults sleep has now been downloaded more than a million times. 

A “NAP APP” designed by Cardiff-born IT specialist Matthew Nifield which has helped thousands of babies and adults sleep better has now been downloaded more than a million times worldwide.

Matthew, 35, who now lives in Soquel, California, put together a range of 50 sounds on the colourfully-designed White Noise Ambience app for users of the Apple Iphone and Ipad. …

Wales Online


Finland: Finns to consume record amount of chocolate this Christmas

More chocolate will be sold this festive season in Finland than ever before, the Food and Drink Industries Federation has revealed.

The organisation has said 16 million kilos of chocolate and chocolate products will be sold this year. When adding sweets and other confectionery to that total, it reaches 62 million kilos. …



Romania: Romania’s Turda salt mine one of the world’s most “amazing unknown” places

Romania’s Turda salt mine in Transylvania has been named among a website’s most “amazing unknown places”. Business Insider recommended visiting the attraction, which has been popular with tourists since the 90s.

Named Salina Turda, the particular mine dates back to the 17th century and now includes a carousel ride and amphitheater deep in the cavern. …

Romania Insider