An 11-year-old boy with Down syndrome is one of the new faces of UK-based clothing company River Island's newest range of clothing for children. Joseph Hale has dyspraxia and global development delay, as well as Down syndrome. His parents Karen and Andrew hope his new modeling gig will help pave the way for more acceptance of people with disabilities. "Advertising can put across in a very positive way, that even if a person has a special need and/or a disability they still have emotions, thoughts, feelings, and dreams the same as anyone else," they said. "And, given the correct guidance, support and right opportunities to be included in everything, they can thrive and achieve the most wonderful things." "It was nice to show the video to friends at school. People can take selfies with me now," Joseph said. "River Island made it comfortable for me and I really enjoyed it. I was trying to get everyone to dance to the music. It is good to be able to champion disabilities." River Island has 350 stores across the UK, Ireland and internationally throughout Asia. The company's kids campaign launched today, featuring a group of young people aged 3 to 11 years, including YouTube stars and celebrity children to kids with mixed abilities.
A retired New Zealand farm dog named Louie is being hailed a hero after saving his rabbit-chasing "girlfriend", Maddy, who got stuck in a hole under a large pile of brush pile. Louie's heroic actions were brought to his family's attention after the elderly canine limped up his driveway, puffing, sore, collapsing with exhaustion at the house. Around his neck was a cardboard note. "Louie is the hero of the day. He lead me to Maddy in distress stuck under a brush pile," the note read. Louie's owner, Francie Diver, said Louie and Maddy chase rabbits together across the rural properties on the outskirts of the township. "Maddy comes over every day about 4.30pm to collect him and they head off down the driveway into the distance," Diver said. "On Saturday, he went missing. About 6pm he arrived home so exhausted and had a tag attached to his collar. I thought, 'where has he been? What has he done?' I immediately thought the worst." Maddy's owner, Rob, said he hadn't been able to find Maddy earlier that day as he headed off to run some errands in town. When he returned home, however, Louie was there, seeming very insistent on being followed. "Rob said he was 100 percent sure that Louie knew what he was doing, and getting Rob to Maddy was his one pure focus," Francie Diver's daughter Marolyn said. "Once he found her, Louie helped Rob dig her out, pulling at branches, digging out the ground. Rob said the second she was free both dogs ran to a nearby pond and jumped into it exhausted and drinking water. He then gave Louie a huge handful of dog biscuits as a thank you. He knew Louie might get in trouble for being late home, so he thought he would write a small note to explain his absence." The Divers rescued Louie from an animal shelter when he was just a puppy. More than a decade later, their love for him is still growing. "It has changed the way I look at him. And I think my parents feel the same way," Marolyn says. "I'm so proud of him."
A 6-year-old who loves cops decided to hand out doughnuts and lemonade to his local officers. Brandi Davis, of Kansas, said her son, Oliver, suggested the idea because he “wanted to do something nice” for police officers in the area. They’ve been so nice to him,” Davis said. “He has quite a bit of a relationship with all the police departments in the area.” Oliver’s love for police began a year-and-a-half-ago when he was gifted a police uniform and a matching police bike. The Leawood Police Department has also given him patches, which he proudly donned while serving lemonade to officers on Friday. Davis said officers from 10 departments showed up to the stand, which they held in front of their home. “We got about 120 doughnuts and we had lemonade and water for them. We had at least 100 officers come out,” Davis said. Oliver brought out the gifts he’s received from several departments during the event to show officers. “They loved it. I had one officer after say that it made his day,” Davis said. “Oliver was in heaven just being able to talk to all the officers because he really does believe he is part of a police team. He thought it was awesome.” Oliver’s mom said her son loves police officers because he sees them as heroes. “We don’t have any policemen in our family,” Davis said. “He won’t play with any superhero stuff. He said, ‘I don’t need Batman, Spider-Man or Superman. I just need these guys.’ So they are his superheroes.” And little Oliver is on his fifth police uniform because he likes to wear it so much.
A new study suggests dogs are actively trying to communicate with us, even if we don’t understand them. The research is the first to find that dogs move their faces when we are looking at them, according to the University of Portsmouth scientists behind it. Our pets use their facial expressions when people are looking at them, the research found. If they’re simply looking at food, then they’re unlikely to show any emotions – suggesting that they’re attempting to indicate something to us, even though we might not know it. In the study, researchers compared how dogs react to humans who might bring them food, to their faces when they simply look at that food. It found that while dogs might seem excited by the former, they will just get on with eating if the food has actually arrived. A spokeswoman said: “Dogs don’t respond with more facial expressions upon seeing tasty food, suggesting that dogs produce facial expressions to communicate and not just because they are excited. “Brow raising, which makes the eyes look bigger – so-called puppy dog eyes – was the dogs’ most commonly used expression in this research.” Dr Juliane Kaminski, who led the study published in Scientific Reports, said: “We can now be confident that the production of facial expressions made by dogs are dependent on the attention state of their audience and are not just a result of dogs being excited. “In our study, they produced far more expressions when someone was watching, but seeing food treats did not have the same effect. “The findings appear to support evidence dogs are sensitive to humans’ attention and that expressions are potentially active attempts to communicate, not simple emotional displays.” Dr Kaminski said that previously it was thought that animal expressions were involuntary and dependant on the individual’s emotional state, rather than being a response to their audience. She suggested that dogs’ facial expressions might have changed as part of the process of domestication. The researchers studied 24 family pet dogs of various breeds, aged one to 12. Each dog was tied by a lead a metre away from a person, and the dogs’ faces were filmed throughout a range of exchanges, from the person being oriented towards the dog, to being distracted and with her body turned away from the dog. The dogs’ facial expressions were measured using DogFACS, an anatomically-based coding system which gives a reliable and standardised measurement of facial changes linked to underlying muscle movement.
For the second year in a row, Singapore goes all out to make the festival of lights a memorable one for its commuters! Kickstarting the festive season on an awe-inspiring note, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority brought back its Deepavali-themed trains and buses once again and had its large Indian community in raptures. Decked with stunning rangoli designs, majestic elephants for luck and traditional Indian motifs, these buses and trains will run until the end of October. While the trains will run along the North East Line (#NEL) and Downtown Line (#DTL), the five Deepavali-themed buses include Services 23, 56, 65, 147 and 166. This move by the popular Mass Rapid Transit, managed by Land Transport Authority (LTR), the statutory board under the Ministry of Transport of Government of Singapore, won hearts yet again, promoting harmony among diverse cultures. From stunning street lighting to a complete makeover of the popular Little India station, its Facebook posts were a sheer delight! Lo behold, a visual treat that will brighten up your Diwali a tad bit more:
1. Lighting the street up, this Deepavali!
2. The Deepavali trains launched by LTA in collaboration with the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA) and SBS Transit Ltd.
3. Deck the floor with traditional rangolis!
4. Look, the majestic elephants on board!
5. Who wants to get aboard this fancy Diwali-themed bus?
6. Majestic on the outside, oh wait, inside too!
7. Don’t forget to bid it goodbye once you reach the destination
8. Truly, A little India
9. Shubh Deepavali!
When an 18-year-old Shila Dawre decided to leave her parental home in Parbhani district to go to Pune, all she had was Rs 12 in hand and passion in her eyes to chase her dreams. No more was she going to be told that her aspirations were worthless and driving was not a profession girls from good households ventured into. Not in the 1980s at least. And this young woman shut all these stereotypes down when she became India’s first woman auto driver. Rubbing shoulders with khaki-clad men driving rickshaws, clad in her regular salwaar kameez, she drove around the lanes of Pune, owning them. Recorded in the Limca Book of World Records as the first woman auto-rickshaw driver in the country, Shila Dawre never in her life imagined becoming a trailblazer to women who dreamt of driving auto-rickshaws but restrained themselves because it was a male-dominated sphere. “I never took up the profession to make a record, In fact I was unaware of the Limca Book Records bestowing the title upon me, until I was approached by people,” she says in a video interview with Pune-based Autowale.in. She is associated with them to encourage women to take up the profession of driving. But her journey, like most women who established themselves in a male bastion, came with its share of struggles. Her dream began in a social setting where most women in Indian homes were given basic education, just to be married off and serve the conventional roles of homemakers and child bearers. But Shila, being the rebellious girl that she was, wouldn’t let marriage come in the way of fulfilling her dream of driving. “I wanted to make it my profession. My parents initially objected to my decision, but now they have accepted me for who I am,” she said. But the familial pressure wasn’t the only thing bogging her down. The societal pressure was no less. She had decided to challenge the patriarchy after all. When she kickstarted her journey as an auto-driver, she came across many people who were unwilling to rent out their auto-rickshaws to her on the sole ground that she was a woman and they were unsure if she would safely drive their vehicle, constantly reiterating the stereotype of women being bad/unsafe drivers. But she wasn’t going to give up. She got in touch with various women self-help groups who helped her avail of opportunities to drive auto-rickshaws when the regular drivers were on leave. Earning a meagre income from these rides and saving every penny, she managed to buy an auto-rickshaw and rented a room in a slum for herself. She remembers how parents would often point at her, telling their kids of the lady auto-rickshaw driver in their neighbourhood. Despite garnering appreciation from many about having the courage to break into the male-dominated professions, there were certainly some who looked down upon her for joining the profession. But her pillars of strength during these times were her fellow drivers. She recalls an incident when she felt extremely threatened when a traffic constable, hit her in a heated argument. She hit him right back and was moved to see her auto-rickshaw union members joining hands to protest against the attack. From a matador, a school bus and autorickshaw Shila boasts of having driven for over 13 years from 1988 to 2001. It is unfortunate that she had to stop driving due to health issues. But that did not deter her from starting her own travel company with her husband, Shirish Kamble, also an auto driver, with whom she has two daughters. Shirish, who stood by his wife through thick and thin, encourages people, especially men to change, their views towards women. “If you support your women to chase their dreams and aspirations, without a doubt will they lead the progress of their families,” he said. One of the prime reasons why Shila encourages more and more women to join driving is to allow the better safety of women. With the growing incidents of crimes against women, she believes women feel a lot safer travelling alone when other women drive them. Shila believes gender and social bias is no way should dictate what anybody wants to do with their lives. “More women need to break barriers and make a place for themselves in male-centric fields,” she said. Her dream is to start an academy to train women auto-rickshaw drivers. “I feel that an academy by a woman for women will instill more courage and faith among women drivers,’’ she says. We salute trailblazers like Shila who did not give up her dreams in the face of opposition and continues to inspire a generation of women auto-drivers across India. We hope many women continue to join the profession and owns the lanes of their India, like the efficient drivers they are!
As many as 35 people have died of dengue in Tamil Nadu since January 2017, the state’s health secretary J. Radhakrishnan said recently. A total of 10,032 cases of the fever have been reported in the state this year. To treat this epidemic, the Tamil Nadu government decided to distribute a traditional Siddha herbal concoction, nilavembu kudineer, free of cost. The Central Council for Research in Siddha, working under the Ministry of AYUSH, has said that the concoction works not just for treating the disease but also to prevent it. “Medical system regains their value when they are effectively utilised in public health out breaks. In dengue outbreaks the details about Siddha intervention in dengue may be helpful and by which a large number of sufferers may be benefited (sic),” a report from the council says. The state government is distributing the liquid using mobile units and government units. “We will continue to make elaborate arrangements to distribute nilavembu kudineer to the public. Also, the government hospitals have been instructed to ensure proper hydration of all fever patients by keeping ready nilavembu kudineer, ORS, kanji (gruel). Special medical teams have been dispatched to the vulnerable districts such as Salem, Dharmapuri and Tiruvannamalai,” Tamil Nadu health minister Vijayabaskar said on Tuesday (October 17). The AYUSH ministry has also said that the concoction can prevent and treat chikungunya.
Walter Erickson, 80, is a retired teacher who's been a substitute in a Minneapolis school district since 1991. Almost every day of the school year, Erickson is at Champlin Park High School. Last week, his students gave back to him in a way he never would have expected. "He's just impacted so many of our lives in amazing ways," Katie Blodgett, a senior at Champlin Park said. "He's the kind of substitute teacher where he connects with us more on a personal level and he obviously loves what he does and that makes it more encouraging for us to learn." Mr. Erickson has been saving up to pay for his wife to get cataract surgery and some much needed dental work. "When we found out the surgery may not be covered, we just wanted to help out," Breiter said. She, Blodgett and another friend started a GoFundMe page. Donations, mostly small amounts from students, came pouring in. They wrote on GoFundMe: "Kelsey and Hailey are trying to raise money for a staff member of Champlin Park High School. Mr. Erickson and his wife have been struggling with money for many years. Mr. Erickson still substitutes for teachers most days as he can not retire due to paying for his wife's medical bills over many years. September and October can be the hardest months for the two and the money would benefit them in the coming winter months. Mr. Erickson has impacted Champlin Park students for many years and it would be great if students, staff, and community members could give back to him in this way." The initial goal was $500. In just six days, the girls raised over $13,000. "When I told my wife about this last Friday, she said, 'Who are these girls? What kind of parents do they have that they could be so caring and compassionate?'" Mr. Erickson said. Mr. Erickson added that he was "just overwhelmed" by the students' generosity. "I know my wife will appreciate it very much," he said. "Thanks a lot, really a lot."
A woman who had her front tooth shattered by her ex boyfriend went to a dentist for a wisdom tooth extraction and woke up to a perfect smile. "Kyleigha came in to my office for a wisdom tooth extraction and I asked her what happened to her front tooth," Dr. Kenny Wilstead of Marshall Family Dental wrote in a Facebook post. "She told me her Ex headbutted her and the last dentist couldn't fix it. So for 2 years she said she had lived with her front tooth in shambles. She said she was definitely going to have me fix all her teeth with tax returns. I said....'Hell no!! We're gonna fix that tooth right now, no charge.' She didn't ask or expect anything of the sort. This was her reaction. A moment I will cherish forever."
Drones loaded with hot burritos are about to start swooping down on the Australian countryside. Google affiliate Project Wing announced new tests of its drone delivery service with two Australian businesses, a Mexican taqueria chain and a drugstore company. These testers usually have to take a 40-minute round trip by car to get to the nearest grocery store or restaurant, making them the perfect subjects for Project Wing's experiments. Project Wing Co-Lead James Ryan Burgess said dropping off burritos will help them fine tune the logistics of getting food to customers while it's still hot. It'll also help them figure out how much time to give restos to cook, pack and load food. On the other hand, delivering over-the-counter medicine you can buy from local drugstores will help them conjure up the perfect way to pack different items and to optimize how many items can be delivered per flight. Project Wing's endeavors in Australia are the latest move in the drone delivery race heating up among big brands. Hopefully, in other parts of the world, more people will experience the thrill of waiting for airborne burritos.