Snap goes the alligator: What one woman saw when she opened her front door

An American woman was forced to make a snappy retreat after an 11-foot alligator took up residence on her doorstep.

Concerned neighbours phoned Belinda Donaldson to warn her not to leave her house when they spotted the giant reptile.

But the Florida woman got the surprise of her life earlier when she realised they weren't joking.

She was forced to phone 911 after the animal refused to budge.

Ms Donaldson, who lives in Westchase, Hillsborough County, was ordered to stay inside while wildlife rescue crews moved the animal.

A wildlife expert arrived to catch the unexpected visitor, but it wasn't giving up its new home easily.

Witnesses said it took the trapper at least an hour to move the alligator, which was then loaded into the back of a truck and taken a distance away.

Alligator sightings are not uncommon in the southern American state as the creatures flourish in the warm environment.

Wildlife experts predict there are an estimated five million of the creatures scattered across the country.

The supermum sheep who gave birth to SIX lambs

Meet Dolly the supermum sheep - who astounded experts by giving birth to six healthy lambs.

The sextuplets were born to two-year-old Dolly, a pedigree Lleyn ewe on April 3 at Crookham Westfield farm, on the Pallinsburn Estate in Cornhill on Tweed, Northumberland.

Estate owner George Farr's sons Ollie, 11, and Jamie, 10, have named the three-week-olds Valerie, Harriet, Scrappy, Rosie, Chunky, and Slim.

The boys are helping Dolly feed her flock.

Farm worker Mark Richardson, 30, said he'd never seen so many lambs from a single ewe.

He said: 'I just went out one morning and there she was with the six lambs.

'I looked round the shed and none of the others had lambed, she was the only one, so they all came from her.

'It was a big surprise. Lleyns usually have two or three lambs, so to have six is very unusual. I have never seen it before.'

Ollie said: 'We have to hand feed them because Dolly has not enough teats for all six of them.

'Some of them take the bottles more easily than others, so we are feeding three out of the six; the three most tame.'

Jamie said: 'They are always hungry.

'We feed them in the morning at eight, at 12, four, then eight in the evening.

'They get through a lot of milk.'

It was Dolly's second crop of lambs and they are all organically fed. The ram is a Texel tup and the shepherd is Anthony King.

The Lleyn is a Welsh breed of hill sheep renowned for their strength, milk production, and mothering ability.

Lleyn Sheep Society spokesman Lynda Barnard said the last record of sextuplets was in 1996.

She said: 'It's not unusual for the breed to produce a lot of lambs but to have six is quite rare.

'They are terrific mothers. If there was any breed was going to rear six it would be a Lleyn.'

The Pallinsburn Estate is a 585.84 hectare mixed arable farm with 125 beef cattle and 138 sheep.

The flock has produced 98 lambs so far this year.

Mark's grandfather, Eck Richardson, had a ewe with six lambs at Rachelfield, Smailholm, near Kelso, in 1975.

The yoga supergran who can still assume the lotus position at the age of 83

Yoga instructor Bette Calman may be 83, but she's still bending over backwards to spread the benefits of the ancient Indian discipline.

The nimble grandmother can really pull some shapes and with her set hair and pearl earrings she looks as glamorous as Greta Garbo in a pink jumpsuit.

With 40 years of teaching under her belt, the Australian wonder is living proof that a lifetime's dedication to yoga will keep you flexible as a rubber band.

While others her age complain about aches and pains, Mrs Calman focuses on getting tough balancing manoeuvres right.

Mrs Calman from Williamstown, southeast Australia, can do all the difficult moves including the agonising 'peacock' where the body is held in a horizontal position by the strength of the arms alone.

The bendy granny can also pull off a tricky raised 'lotus', 'bridge' and a headstand with ease.

She can also put her head between her knees and hold her ankles putting her inflexible grandchildren to shame.

'I'm proof that if you keep at it, you'll get there. I can do more now than I could 50 years ago,' Mrs Calman said.

So when will she give it up?

'You're never too old. The body is a remarkable instrument.

'It can stretch and stretch, and get better all the time. Forget age,' said Mrs Calman, the author of three yoga books including one called Yoga for Arthritis.

'Even a basic posture, or just going to a window and breathing deeply, can have big benefits.'

It's that spirit that has made Mrs Calman a legend.

She was a pioneer of the regime in Australia in the 1950s, ran yoga centres for 33 years and made regular TV appearances in the 70s.

She thought she would take it easy in Melbourne, but was drawn back to teaching as yoga interest grew.

'I came here to retire, but my daughter, Susie, who's also a teacher, kept being pestered for fill-in teachers at her health centre. That was eight years ago,' she said.

Mrs Calman teaches up to 11 classes a week with no sign of stopping and she keeps the 'corpse' posture strictly for her classes.

'Yoga keeps you young,' she said.

'Never have I gone to a yoga class and wished I was somewhere else, because I know I'm going to come out feeling on the top of the world. There'll always be yoga.'

The lake that Cupid made (after global warming had melted the glacier)

It seems an unlikely place to find such a symbol of romance. But Mother Nature chose this bleakly beautiful Arctic landscape to leave her mark in the form of a stunning heart-shaped lake.

It has emerged as climate change melted the glacier that covered the area. Blocks of ice trapped during the glacier’s retreat caused the ground to cave in, creating a heart-like hollow, some 120ft by 90ft, that then filled with rainwater or snow melt.

The picture was taken by French photographer Bruno Mazodier on Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago.
The Norwegian island 620 miles from the North Pole is the most northerly inhabited-place on Earth, although people are outnumbered by polar bears.

Dr Bryn Hubbard, of Aberystwyth University, said: ‘The glaciers all through this island chain have receded, but the heart shape is an anomaly. You would do well to find another.’

Amazing 60ft-tall sculpture work of art

Workers today put the finishing touches to a 60ft-tall sculpture of a head that has been criticised for costing taxpayers £2million.

The elongated woman’s face, entitled 'Dream' was erected on the site of a former slag heap alongside the M62 motorway in Merseyside.

It was created by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa following orders by St Helens Borough Council to rival Gateshead's Angel of the North.

The sculpture, which will be unveiled next month, was constructed like a puzzle using 90 pieces of pre-cast concrete mixed with marble.

Each piece has been painstakingly winched into place at a rate of two a day.

The head, whose eyes are closed in a dream-like state, was created in response to the memories of a group of local ex-miners from the former Sutton Manor Colliery as part of Channel 4’s The Big Art Project.

Situated close to Junction 7 of the M62, Dream is intended as a gateway feature for both Merseyside and Greater Manchester, as well as symbolising the regeneration of St Helens.

But its price tag has been controversial – with critics describing the enornmous artwork – built amid a rising unemployment and hardship - as a ‘huge folly’.

The Taxpayers Alliance said the money would have been better-spent creating jobs and helping families hit by the recession.

Spokesman Mark Wallace told the Daily Telegraph: ‘£2million is a huge amount of money at the best of times.

‘But in the middle of a recession, when people are struggling to make ends meet, it's obscene to spend it on this huge folly.’

But St Helens Borough Council has defended its decision.

Spokeswoman for the 'Dream' project, Catherine Braithwaite said: ‘The decision to erect the sculpture was not taken lightly and consultation took over three years. The end result will be amazing.’

And Council leader Brian Spencer, himself a former Sutton Manor Colliery worker, said: ‘It’s an incredible sight witnessing the birth of this amazing new art work.

‘It will put St Helens on the map and provide a landmark sense of welcome and arrival for the region as a whole for generations to come.

‘This transformation is particularly poignant, given the history of the site itself.’

Mr Plensa met with former miners and the local community to discuss their ideas for the art work, which is one of seven linked projects across the UK.

The progress of each of the projects will be broadcast on Channel 4 next month.

Gary Conley, who was 17 years old when he began working in the colliery from 1974 to1991, was among the team which nominated the site.

Mr Conley, who now works for St Helens Council as a resource manager, said: ‘My ex-colleagues and I have been involved in the process every step of the way.

‘It’s fascinating to see how a group of ex-miners now view the world differently, following this amazing art journey.’

The hardest golf shot in the world.

It's the golfing equivalent of climbing Everest.

This is the hole that has taken over the mantle of the world's toughest.

From the top of a mountain in South Africa, players must hit a shot 400m over a near forest onto a green 400m below.

If you manage to overcome vertigo tracking your ball through the air, looking to see where it landed requires a mountaineer's bravery.

And the gauntlet has been thrown down to the world's best golfers: anyone who gets a hole-in-one will win an astonishing $1million (£671,000).

The Extreme 19th hole is part of the Legend Golf and Safari Resort at Entabeni in the Limpopo province in South Africa.

It's so high that it takes the ball 30 seconds to reach the green.

And you can forget golf carts - players willing to take their chances on the million-dollar prize have to take a helicopter to get there.

It is both the longest and the highest par-three on the planet.

'I think this hole is awesome,' reigning Open champion Padraig Harrington said.

'This is the type of innovation and excitement we need to get more people playing golf.

'There aren't many new innovative ways to play the game - but this is certainly one of the best.'

To launch the hole - which does not form part of the round - double Open champion Padraig Harrington and fellow pro Raphael Jacquelin, from France, were drafted in to give it their best shot.

Incredibly, they both managed to hit the green - but a hole in one was beyond even their illustrious reach.

At a towering 8ft, is this the world's new tallest man?

At 8ft tall, Zhao Liang stands head and shoulders above the competition.

Which is lucky, as the 27-year-old is in the running to be the world's tallest man.

The current title holder is Bao Xishun ('the Mongolian mast'), who measures in at a measly 7ft 9in - a whole three inches shorter.

Mr Liang's claim came to light when he was admitted to Tianjin hospital, in China, for a routine operation on an old muscle tendon injury to his left foot.

Doctors confirmed his height as 8ft 0.7in. But his claim to be the world's tallest man has not yet been verified by Guinness World Records.

Mr Liang, who is now seeking official recognition, had been training as a basketball player when he sustained the foot injury over a decade ago.

He remained unemployed until 2006, when an art troupe in Jilin province employed him to perform magic tricks and play the saxophone and flute.

Mr Liang's parents are of normal height, with his father measuring 5ft 9in and his mother, 5ft 5in.

His mother Wang Keyun said that her son had a big appetite, eating eight hamburger-sized steamed buns as part of a three-course dinner.

'But I am so worried about his marriage, job and his health that my hair has turned white,' she added.

Liu Yuchen, a surgeon at the hospital, declared the operation on Mr Liang's foot a success.

He said that he would be able to walk normally in two months' time, but advised against any intense physical exercise.

Dr Yuchen said that Mr Liang was in good health and has no complications in relation to his height.

Hand of God: Scientists reveal amazing X-ray image of a supernova in deep space

We've already seen pictures of his eye... now we have the first image of the hand of God.

The ghostly blue cloud seems to form an outstretched thumb and fingers grasping a burning lump of coal.

This astonishing image was taken by Nasa's Chandra X-ray observatory, which is orbiting 360 miles above the Earth's surface.

It recalls those of the Helix planetary nebula, whose blue centre surrounded by white clouds earned it the nickname 'the eye of God'.

The hand was created when a star exploded in a supernova, creating a rapidly-spinning 12-mile-wide star called a pulsar, which is deep inside the white blob at the hand's wrist.

The pulsar is spewing out enormous amounts of electromagnetic energy, creating a dust and gas cloud so wide that it would take a light beam 150 years to cross from side to side.
The red disc is a separate cloud of gas. The fingers are thought to have been created as the energy passed from the pulsar to this gas cloud.

Nasa scientists estimate the moment depicted here actually happened 17,000 years ago.

It has taken since then for the X-rays, travelling at 670million mph, to reach Earth.

Girl of five who is the youngest to be given hi-tech legs

No wonder five-year-old Ellie Challis is facing life with an extra spring in her step.

She has become the youngest person in the world to be fitted with the flex-run feet used by leading paralympians including Oscar 'Blade Runner' Pistorius.

Ellie, who lost her hands and lower legs to meningitis as a toddler, had spent the last two years walking on conventional prosthetic limbs. But she complained that she struggled to keep up with her twin sister Sophie.

Her parents Paul and Lisa contacted the world-renowned prosthetic limb centre Dorset Orthopaedic, and managing director Bob Watts agreed to make a junior version of the carbon-fibre blades.

Mr Watts said: 'We were worried that she wouldn't be able to balance properly on them, but she has made amazing progress.'

Ellie, from Little Clacton, Essex, was struck down with meningitis at the age of 16 months.

At one point her heart stopped and doctors called in her parents to say their last farewells.

'Paul and I just stood at the end of her bed shouting at her to survive,' said 35-year-old Mrs Challis, who works as a carer for adults with learning difficulties.

'We thought we were going to lose her, but amazingly she pulled through and her heart started again.'

Over the next four days, however, Ellie's legs and arms started to turn black and the couple were told they would have to be amputated.

'The operation took six hours and I was just so shocked when I saw her - there was so little left of her,' said Mrs Challis. 'I just kept crying.'

Ellie was inspired to overcome her handicaps by Sophie, her constant companion. And well-wishers raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help her.

She was fitted with NHS prosthetic limbs a few weeks after the operation, but found them too painful.

Mrs Challis said: 'She would wear them for 20 minutes maximum each day as they weren't flexible and they caused her pain.'

In December 2006 Ellie was given new legs with moving knee joints, which were a great improvement.

But the flexible blades will change her life. They helped South African Pistorius race to world records in his 100, 200 and 400-metres events.

Mr Challis, 45, said: 'Ellie can walk twice as fast on these new legs - it really is amazing to see. She is so full of determination.'

The legs cost £10,000 for a pair and will need to be replaced every two years. Mr Watts added: 'We didn't know if it would be possible to make some small enough.

'But now Ellie is the youngest in the world to have such legs - and there is no holding her back.'


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