Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


The truth is out there: 20/03/2010

A weekly look at the world

* Healthcare does not include sex, according to a national campaign launched by a Dutch nurses' union last week. A 24-year-old woman said a 42-year-old disabled man asked her to provide sexual services as part of his care at home. A Reuters report said the woman had witnessed other nurses offering the patient sexual gratification. When she refused, he tried to dismiss her on the grounds that she was unfit to provide care.

* Octopuses have no personality, according to research published in the New Scientist. Using high definition television, scientists monitored the cephalopods' reactions to images of crabs and other octopuses. Surprisingly, an octopus that was bold, aggressive and exploratory one day was just as likely to be shy, submissive and stationary the next. The report concludes octopuses are the "Jekyll and Hydes of the oceans", suggesting they have no personality. They do make discerning TV viewers – the same experiment using regular televisions failed to get a reaction.

* Loud sex is sufficient reason for the police to search a home, a New Jersey court has ruled. Brian McGacken was sentenced to 10 years in prison after police searched his house in response to complaints of loud screaming and found him growing a large quantity of marijuana. McGacken appealed the conviction on the grounds that once he explained the noise was caused by sex, the police had no cause to search his home. But, said AlterNet, the judges disagreed, deciding "the potential for harm was too severe".

* A staggering 10,854 people died in accidents on the Chinese mainland in January and February, according to the State Administration of Work and Safety and reported by China Daily. The figure is actually down 15.2 per cent on the same period from last year.

* The world's hottest chilli is ready to explode in more than just the mouth as trials by Indian defence scientists found the bhut jolokia effective when mixed with hand grenades. Defence Research and Development Organisation director R B Srivastava told The Times of India: "The chilli grenade is a non-toxic weapon and when used would force a terrorist to come out of his hideouts as the smell is so pungent that it would literally choke them."

* California's last wolverine has begun an ill-fated quest for a mate, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Buddy the wolverine was discovered roaming the Tahoe National Forest in 2008, almost 90 years after the species was declared extinct in California. Oictures show him marking his territory in an effort to attract a mate, the nearest of which is two states and 800 miles away.

* A Florida man is under investigation for allegedly smuggling giant African snails and convincing his followers to drink their juices as part of a religious healing ritual, reported the Miami Herald. The authorities raided the home of Charles L Stewart after learning he had a box full of the snails which can grow up to 10 inches long. Stewart said the practice was part of his African religion, Ifa Orisha.