Chinese New Year, Oz marathon marathoner, drone dog-saver, epic search for cat

Jan 18, 2023 Episode 134

Celebrating the Chinese New Year, Australia’s marathon marathoner, UK drone dog-saver, Bolivia’s epic search for missing cat

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… It’s the year of the rabbit, the marathon marathoner, the dog-saving drone and the epic search for a missing cat meow!


OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the only world news pool for kids.

MAMA: And adults like it too!

LEELA: I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as always, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder – otherwise known as my…

MAMA: Leela’s mom. Or just call me Lyndee.

LEELA: This week we decode the Chinese New Year of the… (rabbit sounds) of the Rabbit, of course. Along with a special report on celebrations in Taipei.

Down-under in Australia a marathon runner defies belief by running back-to-back marathons for – well, you’ll just have to listen to hear how many and trust me it’s a shocker.

In the UK a super-woman uses her drone-power to help save lost dogs.

And in Bolivia the whole country is on alert for a cat that went missing in an unusual place with an unusual search underway to find the feline.

Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: Well, it’s that time of year when a quarter of the world is getting ready to party.


LEELA: That’s right this Sunday, January 22, is the Chinese New Year.

MAMA: Happy new year to two billion people mostly in eastern Asia but also in “China towns’ ‘ all over the world to celebrate the new year based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

LEELA: The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and that’s why it’s not a set date.

MAMA: According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, it begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar

LEELA: As in a little sliver of a moon.

MAMA: Yep, and then it ends on the first full moon 15 days later.

LEELA: It’s also called the “Spring Festival” and, yes, that means there is a lot of spring cleaning. Fun!

MAMA: About ten days before the beginning of the new lunar year is a custom called “sweeping of the grounds.”


LEELA: The cleaning is said to remove any bad luck that might be hanging around inside…

MAMA: For more on how this holiday is being celebrated let’s cut across to our Taiwan correspondent, Yuching Liu, who’s in the capital Taipei, standing by to tell us more.

YUCHING: Before the Chinese New Year, we will clean up our house thoroughly. It’s so exhausting!

And then, my mom will take me to buy some new clothes, shoes, cookies, and candies for the Chinese New Year.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we will go back to our hometown to have a reunion dinner with our families. It’s always the best meal of the year.

After the reunion dinner, we will sit, chat together, play some games or go to the night market.

After that, we will stay up late praying for the longer life of our parents.

After midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, we will fire the firecrackers to celebrate the new coming year.

I am so excited that I will get at least 8 red envelopes which are filled with money during Chinese New Year.

That’s how I celebrate the Chinese New Year in Taiwan.

Happy new year. I wish you good luck in the Year of the Rabbit. 新年快樂,兔年行大運。

In Taipei, I’m Yuching Liu reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks, so much Yuching! As ever, we love hearing how you and your family celebrate. Happy Year of the Rabbit! So, the question is… why do the Chinese use animals to represent a new year?

MAMA: It’s actually based on an old Chinese tale about a god called the Jade Emperor, who wanted 12 animals to be his guards. Well, that inspired what became known as “The Great Race” because the earlier one went through the Heavenly Gate, the better ranking they would have as a heavenly guard. They’re known as the Zodiac signs.

LEELA: On your marks, get set… Go!

MAMA: And you’d think the fast rabbit was first.

LEELA: But no. It was the… rat!

MAMA: Yep, the rat jumped on the back of the Ox to cross a gushing river.

LEELA: Clever rat!

MAMA: Totally. The ox was second and the tiger just beat out the rabbit. The rabbit is believed to be the luckiest of all twelve animals, representing peace and prosperity. People born in the year of the rabbit are said to be calm and peaceful. Avoiding fights and conflicts. And, in fact, 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.

LEELA: I hope so! Get what I did there?

MAMA: Oh, yeah. Moving on.

[SOURCE: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lunar-New-Year


SPORTS STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports News!”

MAMA: So, Leela.

LEELA: So, Mama.

MAMA: Do you know what a marathon is?

LEELA: Ummm, a lot of running.

MAMA: And when you say a lot, you mean…?

LEELA: Ummm, like many, many miles…

MAMA: Try 26 miles. That’s almost 42 kilometers! And do you know the story behind that crazy long race?

LEELA: Umm not really, Except that it’s ancient history, right?

MAMA: Right. Ancient Greek history in fact. The story goes that a herald, or messenger, was sent from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce a Greek battle victory against the Persians.

LEELA: And, let me guess – Marathon city was 26 miles from Athens?

MAMA: Bingo. Well, he ran as fast as he could, gave the message and then the story goes he died on the spot.

LEELA: Why do people run marathons today?

MAMA: Well, they pace themselves a lot better and do a lot of training before the starting one, of course. But one Australian athlete, Erchana Murray-Bartlett, decided one marathon a day wasn’t enough.

LEELA: Let me guess, she did ten days of marathons in a row?

MAMA: Higher.

LEELA: Uh, 20?

MAMA: Like a lot higher.

LEELA: No. Not a hundred?

MAMA: Nope. Try 150 consecutive marathons.

LEELA: Bonkers brains! I mean, really, impressive. But still!

MAMA: The 32-year-old ran 3,900 miles that’s a marathon every day for 150 days along Australia’s coastline, through rainforests, on highways and dirt roads, sometimes in rain and sometimes in 95-degree heat. All to prove she could do it, set a world record and raise awareness about the extinction of many of Australia’s plants and animals.

LEELA: Wow, that’s perseverance. But also Kinda bonkers brains!

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-64286469



WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: China is the most populous country on earth – but maybe not for long as the national birth rate – as in the number of new babies born every year – hits a record low. Who could replace China? India, of course.

In the central American country of Guatemala scientists discover – thanks to laser technology – a massive Mayan site under a rainforest, dating back well over 2000 years ago. And when I say massive, I’m talking around 650 square miles 1,700 square kilometers.

For the first time ever Oxford Dictionary asks children to select THEIR word of the year. Believe it or not, it’s “queen.”  “Happy” and “chaos” were runner’s up and the top slang word of 2022 for British kids was “cool.”

And beware of the falling iguanas in the US state of Florida. Yes, those coldblooded animals that like to sleep in trees, have a tendency to drop to the ground when the temperature falls. They might look dead, but never fear, it’s just their frigid – and kind of funny – dormant pose they adopt while trying to stay warm.

LEELA: Well, thank you so much for that –whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: Anytime, Leela. Nice to have you back in fine health and super-fast speed.

LEELA: You’re telling me. So, Mama. Give me a few reasons someone might use a drone.

MAMA: Umm, maybe for photography? Like, at weddings or sporting events? And farmers even use them to spray pesticides over their fields.

LEELA: Never mind as a toy. I mean, it would be cool to fly one. But you I believe can’t imagine what one selfless woman has been doing with her drone in England.

MAMA: Ummmm…

LEELA: Here’s a clue.

KINDNESS CORNER STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Kindness corner. Cool. They did what? Seriously? What? How cool is that! No way! Cool.”

LEELA: Yes, using a drone just for good. Here with this story about a dog-loving British woman with a drone is our South England correspondent Jackson Hosking.

MAMA: Well, take it away, Jackson!

JACKSON: Thanks, you guys.

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

Or… is it a superwoman-drone?

Yes, Erica Hart is a dog lover that’s been called a “real life superwoman” for using her excellent drone-operating skills to rescue animals!

It’s almost like an action movie.

First, she hears of a lost pup.

Then she fires up her drone, sends it into the air and stealthily tracks down the pooch.

Finally, she tells the desperate, eager owners where their beloved pup is and suggests the best spot to meet it without scaring it away.

She’s saved over 200 pups in 7 years.

That’s like 30 in one year or 3 every single month! Impressive.

And she does it for free. Even though she has to put petrol in her car to find a pooch or even pay to recharge or repair her drone.

She says the comments on social media about her efforts make her go to bed with a smile.

The world could really do with more people like her, don’t you think?

But I’m not gonna drone on about it. Get it?!

In the south of England, I’m Jackson Hosking, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Nice one, Jackson! Your story last week was good too – but you really surprised us without using a pun at the end. I’m glad you’re back to your “punny” self!

MAMA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for us this week.

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Well, this story takes the saga of missing luggage to a whole new level, let me tell ya.

MAMA: Oh, man. Missing – or worse, lost – luggage is no fun, I can tell ya.

LEELA: Well, missing your bathing suit or your favorite t-shirt for days is nothing compared with this, let me tell ya. Cue the music, Mama.


LEELA: Once upon a time ago – just the other day – a woman in the South American country of Bolivia went on a flight. With her cat.

But the government-owned airline, BOA, wouldn’t let her hold the cat in a carrier.

Oh, no, they said the tabby cat must go in the hold of the plane – with the luggage.

But when the plane landed, her pet was nowhere to be found!

Poor woman. I can’t even imagine how she felt.

Well, the whole country is now following this story, which has prompted criticism of the state airline.

So, it wasn’t just airport authorities trying to find Tito, The Cat – but firefighters were brought in too.

But that’s not all.

Even an “interspecies communicator” was asked to help – in other words, an animal psychic!

Yes, Bolivian authorities have enlisted the help of a psychic to communicate with the cat, somehow across the mystic airwaves of psychic energy, I guess?

But jokes aside, sadly, Tito has yet to be tracked down. So maybe all cat-lovers should send Tito and his human some good cosmic energy in hopes of a reunion.

MAMA: Maybe the English drone lady should hop on a plane and go help.

LEELA: Sure. As long as she takes it as carry on!

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/oddly-enough/psychic-investigators-search-missing-cat-captivates-bolivia-2023-01-13/

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – Sunday, January 22, is the Chinese New Year, also called the “Spring Festival,” the date of which changes every year because it’s based on what?

The lunar calendar, as in the cycles of the moon, or specifically, the first spring of the new year.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Before the Chinese New Year is a custom called the “sweeping of the grounds,” in other words a big clean – which is thought to get rid of what?

Bad luck

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – This will be the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit, which symbolizes what?

Luck, peace and prosperity

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – An Australian woman breaks world records by running 150 marathons in a row, every day. How long is a marathon?

26 miles (almost 42 kilometers)

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – From what country is the original marathon said to have taken place?

Ancient Greece

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first…

MAMA: We have to play catch up on the amazing reviews you’ve been leaving all over for us. We’ll do two each week until we catch up.

LEELA: Yes, thank you Asha Thakkar who wrote, “I love your show, Leela and Lindy (sic) you are such a good pair to keep up this awesome show.”

MAMA: Why thank you VERY much. And also, to “See yay you” who wrote – and I’m paraphrasing here a bit, “I just started listening and I really love it and I’m only on my second episode.” Gosh, you guys –

BOTH: (Sings) Thank you, thank you, thank you!

MAMA: Really, not only do these words keep us going, but reviews also help others find us. So, they mean a TON.


LEELA: So, what are YOU waiting for? Why not join in and leave a review?

MAMA: We’ll read it out loud if you do. (Eventually we do get through them all, promise.)

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!