TIME Bizarre

A Stinking 11-Ton Megalith of Congealed Fat Has Been Removed From a London Sewer

It’s called a fatberg and it’s terrifying

Londoners have been advised to stop flushing cooking oil and pre-moistened towelettes down sinks after authorities successfully removed a mammoth 11-ton piece of congealed fat, caked with compacted wet wipes, from one of the city’s sewers.

The “fatberg” was reportedly the size of one of the British capital’s famed double-decker buses and inflicted more than a half-million dollars of damage to the sewer pipes under West London’s plush Chelsea neighborhood.

“The original sewer has been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole we’ve had to opt for the time-consuming and disruptive option of replacing many meters of pipe,” Stephen Hunt, a maintenance supervisor at Thames Water charged with overseeing the removal of fatberg, told the Guardian.

West London is home to a high-concentration of restaurants and food-related enterprises that produce approximately 32 million to 44 million liters of used cooking oil, much of which is then flushed down the drains, annually.

“I’d urge people to consider what lurks beneath their feet,” pleaded Hunt. “When it comes to getting rid of fat, ‘bin it – don’t block it.’”

The same, naturally, goes for wet wipes.


TIME Britian

Chairman of U.K.’s Ruling Party Denies Editing His Wiki Entry and Those of Rivals

Grant Shapps speech
Hannah McKay — AP Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps gives a speech on free trade at the Institute of Directors in London on Feb. 12, 2015

He blames a “smear campaign” ahead of elections next month

U.K. Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps was in an all-out denial mode on Wednesday, after a story broke in the Guardian this week claiming he had edited his own Wikipedia page and those of rival politicians.

The British daily reported that Wikipedia had blocked an account that it alleged was being used by Shapps “or someone acting on his behalf.”

“It is the most bonkers story I’ve seen in this election campaign so far,” Shapps told the BBC on Wednesday.

During the interview with the broadcaster, the politician claimed that his diary proved that he was “elsewhere” when the edits by Wiki user Contribsx were made.

He then went on label the accusations that he was tied to Contribsx as a possible “Labour/Guardian smear campaign” ahead of general elections next month.

The chairman was caught editing his Wikipedia page without revealing his identity in 2012, but claims to have learned from the experience.

“It turns out you should never correct your Wikipedia page,” Shapps told the BBC. “And that’s why I’ve never gone near it since.”

TIME trends

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: beer, costumes and, somewhere, a result
Stringer—AP Fans wearing emoji masks watch a rugby match of the Hong Kong Seven in Hong Kong on March 28, 2015

Did somebody say "national stereotypes"?

The French are serious and romantic while Australians are all about partying according to a survey on emoji use worldwide.

In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages.

According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities.

Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average.

France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else.

No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.”

Check out the full report here.

Read next: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s New Emoji Feature

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME movies

This Is the First Image from the Next Pirates Of The Caribbean

Captain Jack is back

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Tuesday tweeted out the first image from the set of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which shows Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow caught in what appears to be another episode of dire straits on the high seas.

Depp was temporarily sidelined last month after sustaining a hand injury on set in Australia that forced him to fly back to the U.S. to undergo an immediate operation.

However, the setback will not delay the premiere of the latest Pirates installment, which is slated to hit the silver screen in July 2017.

TIME South Africa

South Africa Deploys Its Army to Halt the Killings of Foreigners

Mujahid Safodien — AFP/Getty Images South African police officers and troops of the South African Defence Force raid the Jeppie hostels in the Jeppestown district of Johannesburg late on April 21, 2015

Hundreds of migrants have now fled the country to escape bloodshed

South African troops were deployed to areas of Johannesburg on Tuesday night to help quell ongoing bouts of anti-immigrant violence after a rash of xenophobic attacks spread across the nation in recent weeks.

“We come in as the last resort,” Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Defense Minister, told reporters at a news conference in Alexandra township, according to the New York Times. “The army will serve as a deterrent.”

Police units backed by military commandos arrested 11 people after raiding a hostel in the suburb of Jeppestown in eastern Johannesburg, where they confiscated a smattering of weapons, including a small ax and several knives.

“We will continue this operation after identifying more hot spots across the province. The army was there as backup during the raid,” said Lieutenant Kay Makhubela, a police spokesman, according to the local news outlet Independent Online.

Bouts of xenophobic violence have rattled South Africa for two weeks, after attacks on foreigners were reported in the coastal city of Durban and later spread to areas in Johannesburg where poor migrants, largely from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and local communities mix.

The bloodshed made headlines across the globe over the weekend after photographer James Oatway captured chilling images of a Mozambican street hawker being stabbed to death by a group of South African men. The four suspects tied to the gruesome killing appeared in court on Tuesday, where they were charged with murder and robbery, reports the Mail & Guardian.

At least seven foreigners have been killed and hundreds have fled the country in recent weeks. Doctors Without Borders estimates that more than 5,000 people fleeing the violence are currently taking shelter in camps near Durban.

TIME apps

This Is the App You Need to Download for Earth Day

Getty Images

It lets you keep a log of your daily energy consumption and tells you how to reduce it

Has commemorating Earth Day on April 22 got you in the mood to save some energy? There’s an app for that.

My Earth — Track Your Carbon Savings uses a simple diary format to help make you aware of the energy you’re using during your daily routine.

The app tracks your energy consumption in areas like electricity, travel and food, and within each category, there are suggestions for doing things differently to help conserve energy. Some of the suggestions are simple (like recycling) and some are complex (like installing a high-efficiency water closet). As you take up the suggestions, you accumulate carbon units and can quickly see how much energy you are saving.

A cute visual device — a polar bear perched on an iceberg — depicts your progress. The more energy you save, the bigger the iceberg gets.

Nancy Wong, the app’s designer and professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said on the institution’s website that in many people what looked like a lack of concern for the environment was really “a failure to connect individual action to that bigger picture.”

She explained that “Hopefully the app could help you understand actually whatever you do is not insignificant, and this is how you can contribute.”

TIME Social Media

Anyone Can Now Send You a Direct Message on Twitter

App stock
Lauren Hurley — Association Images The Twitter App is shown on an Apple iPhone 4S.

They don't have to follow you first

Starting this week, Twitter users will now have the option to receive direct messages from any of the other 288 million people who have signed up for the service.

Previously, only individuals that followed each other on the social network and microblogging platform were able to exchange private missives.

However, the option to receive direct messages from non-followers is currently turned off by default. To begin receiving messages from any and everyone, users will have to change their own settings manually.

TIME Baseball

The Cincinnati Reds’ Manager Bryan Price Dropped 77 F-Bombs in a Pre-Game Rant

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Joe Robbins — Getty Images Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on April 9, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.


There may be no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of cursing — just ask Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price.

During a media session ahead of Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Price unleashed a five-minute, 34-second profanity-peppered onslaught that would have made Ty Cobb wince.

“The final tally was 77 uses of the ‘F’ word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine),” reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Price was upset about media outlets allegedly running information that could be deemed valuable to rival teams and reporting on the status of one player who was being relegated to the minors before the coach had a chance to tell him personally.

Or as Price put it himself: “I’ve been as candid as I can f-cking be about this team and our players, and we’ve got to deal with this sh-t, every f-cking team that we f-cking play has to know every f-cking guy that’s here and what they can and can’t do? F-ck me. It’s a f-cking disgrace. I’m f-cking sick of this sh-t.”

[Cincinnati Enquirer]

TIME Crime

More Than Two Environmental Activists Were Killed Each Week in 2014

Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Diana Rios Rengifo, the daughter of one of the four indigenous Ashéninka leaders murdered in the Peruvian Amazon in early September, speaks during a ceremony in New York on Nov. 17, 2014

A majority of deaths were tied to disputes over hydropower, mining and agri-business

The killing of environmental activists jumped by 20% in 2014, with at least 116 deaths around the world tied to disputes involving land and natural resources, the London-based advocacy organization Global Witness claimed this week.

“[That’s] almost double the number of journalists killed in the same period,” its report said. “Disputes over the ownership, control and use of land was an underlying factor in killings of environmental and land defenders in nearly all documented cases.”

According to How Many More?, the majority of deaths took place in Central and South America; Brazil topped the list with 29 cases followed by Colombia with 25.

Global Witness dubbed Honduras as “the most dangerous country per capita to be an environmental activist,” where during the past five years 101 individuals have been killed in relation to their advocacy work.

The organization urged governments across the globe to take bolder measures to tackle the issue ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference that will be held in Paris later this year.

“Environmental and land defenders are often on the frontlines of efforts to address the climate crisis and are critical to success,” said the report. “Unless governments do more to protect these activists, any words agreed in Paris will ultimately ring hollow.”

TIME Music

Luke Bryan Snags Top Honor at the ACM Awards

50th Academy Of Country Music Awards - Press Room
C Flanigan—WireImage Luke Bryan poses in the press room at the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 19, 2015

Miranda Lambert picks up album and song of the year

Luke Bryan was voted entertainer of the year at the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards deep in the heart of Texas on Sunday night.

“Thank you to my wife, my kids … my fans, country radio,” said Bryan as he accepted the award in front of a record-breaking audience at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, according to the Associated Press.

The Georgia native, who also served as the ceremony’s co-host, beat out a slew of country heavyweights, including Garth Brooks and Miranda Lambert, to claim the fan-voted award for the second time in three years.

Despite missing out on the evening’s top honor, Lambert racked up four awards of her own, including album and song of the year.

“I don’t even realize what’s happening tonight,” said Lambert, reported AP. “I love my job so much. I will never not love my job.”

The awards ceremony, which is typically held in Las Vegas, broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most attended live awards show with more than 70,000 guests, according to co-host Blake Shelton.

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