Tall Tales

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on ‘alien things’

And other stories from the stranger side of life

North Korea has blamed its Covid-19 outbreak on “alien things” sent over its border. Defectors and other activists in South Korea have often flown balloons across the border to send leaflets and humanitarian aid. According to North Korean state media, two people became infected after coming into contact with unidentified materials near the South Korean border. It called on North Koreans to “vigilantly deal with alien things coming by wind and other climate phenomena and balloons in the areas along the demarcation line and borders”.

Astronauts lose bone mass in space

A study has found that astronauts lose decades’ worth of bone mass in space. Researchers scanned the wrists and ankles of 17 astronauts before, during and after a stay on the International Space Station. The bone density lost by astronauts was equivalent to how much they would shed in several decades if they had never left Earth, said study co-author Dr Steven Boyd, of Canada’s University of Calgary. He added that the news could be a “big concern” for future missions to Mars. It is believed that the lack of gravity in space takes pressure off astronauts’ legs when it comes to standing and walking.

Octogenarian breaks UK cycling record

An 82-year-old has become the oldest woman to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. Gina Harris, from Birmingham, took 28 days to make the journey, raising thousands of pounds for domestic abuse charities along the way. The grandmother of five said the journey was “a lot of hard work” but “when you get into a rhythm, you just keep going”.  When she arrived at the Scottish village she toasted the completion of her bike ride with a slice of chocolate cake. So far, she has raised more than £5,000 for Women’s Aid and Refuge.

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