Happy St Paddy’s, latest on Ukraine, help Florida manatees, slithery smuggler

Mar 16, 2022 Episode 90

Find out how St Patrick’s day began, the latest on Ukraine, Florida manatees in trouble and story of slithery smuggler

Episode Transcript

EPISODE 90 – St Patrick’s Day


OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”




LEELA: Hello and welcome to our 90th episode of Newsy Pooloozi I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and…


MAMA: And I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And, yes, we are decked out all in green, because…


LEELA: It’s Saint Patrick’s Day this week!


We’ll tell you why it’s celebrated and what this “Irish” festival has to do with green anyway (never mind a Saint who’s not even Irish)!


We’ll also give you the latest on the war in Ukraine, including a few new words to explain since you might be hearing a lot about propaganda, paramilitary and mercenaries.


Also, Florida’s beloved manatees are dying at a record rate. We’ll tell you what YOU can do to help these so-called “cows of the sea.” Hint – get the salad ready.


And, finally, a slithery thief – with the creepiest clothes on the street – has been caught in California… Listen to the end to found out why.


All that, plus the world wrap of other news, the fab facts quiz and more.


LEELA: But first, it’s time for…


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


MAMA: The big news this week is still the war in Ukraine. And we’ll give you the latest in a little while, but we thought we would kick off the episode with the other big new story – which is


LEELA: It’s Saint Patrick’s day this week – the Irish festival celebrated on March 17th every year.


MAMA: That’s right. The festival centered around the Patron Saint of Ireland who’s not an official saint, nor is he Irish and the festival that – until recently – wasn’t even a big celebrated in Ireland…


LEELA: Say whaaaaaat?


MAMA: Yep Patrick was actually a Roman Englishman.


LEELA: Uhhhh…?


MAMA: Remember, at its height the Roman Empire was so powerful it ruled all the way up to the north of England. But that didn’t stop a band of Irish thieves from raiding Patrick’s family estate in the 1st century 18th and taking the 16-year-old as a slave back to Ireland. Well, he turned to his own religion for comfort, managed to escape, studied to be a priest and returned back to Ireland to convert the pagans into Christians.


LEELA: Wow – that’s some life.


MAMA: Yes, and he was also quite progressive, or clever, about it too – keeping a lot of the Irish and pagan customs and mixing them with Christianity.


LEELA: Smart.


MAMA: Indeed. For instance, you know the bright green clover-plant with three heart-shaped leaves called a shamrock, that’s all over Ireland.


LEELA: And, they say, if you find a four-leafed clover it’s good luck! I’ve never found a four-leafed one though.


MAMA: Me neither. Well, legend has it that Patrick used the clover to explain how Christian belief that god the father, his son and the holy ghost are all one like


LEELA: Ah… the shamrock! Which today is the national symbol of Ireland.


MAMA: Yep. And Patrick is the Patron Saint, like the protector, of Ireland – even though when he was around the Catholic Church weren’t really making people saints then.


LEELA: Hmph. So he’s saint who aint!


MAMA: Fast-forward hundreds of years and the Irish Catholics decided to mark the death of St Patrick in the middle of lent.


LEELA: Lent?


MAMA: Yeah, the Catholic season of fasting.


LEELA: Which means not eating or drinking.


MAMA: Right but for Christians it usually means giving up one thing you really like 40 days before Easter. Well, that was pretty tough, so the Irish gave themselves a day off fasting in the middle of lent on the anniversary of Patrick’s death.


LEELA: That’s convenient…!


MAMA: I know, right? But that’s only half our story. Because it was actually the Irish immigrants who’d gone to America in the 18th and 19th century, settled in places like Boston, New York and Chicago, who really took the celebration to new heights.


LEELA: As in massive parades! Ba-ba-ba-da-daaaaah!


MAMA: It became a day to celebrate their culture, sing Irish songs, wear lots of green, which is the national color of Ireland and…


LEELA: Party!


MAMA: Absolutely. It became way bigger in an America than in Ireland. As our very own Boston correspondent Ari Kelly is about to tell us!


LEELA: Take it away, Ari!


ARI KELLY: Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. Hi, this is Ari Kelly, the host of At Your Level podcast. And that Kelly part. That’s my Irish last name. My dad and my grandfather, or “gee,” are both Liam Kelly’s. Is that Irish enough for you? My gee came to the US from Letterkenny, which is in County Donegal Now, I live in the Boston area where on St. Patrick’s Day people like to celebrate by drinking green, naturally flavored beverages. You may have heard of a little parade in South Boston or as we call it, “Southy” and “party a little too hardy on St. Patti’s.” I will probably wear just is green to school. As the saying goes, may your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness comes through your door.


LEELA: Thanks, Ari. I hear if you don’t wear green, you get pinched. What’s that about anyway?


MAMA: Well, according to Irish folklore, leprechauns


LEELA: Oh, the little, bearded, naughty, loner Irish fairies who wear…green and like to pinch.


MAMA: Yes. But if anyone else wears green, they’re invisible to leprechauns. So if you’re not wearing green, at least on St Patrick’s Day, you might find getting pinched!


LEELA: Ouch!


MAMA: Happy St Patrick’s Day!




LEELA: And now – we can’t avoid it and we do want to stay informed – so tell us the latest news in Ukraine, Mama.


MAMA: Well, Russia is continuing its bombardment – which is just what it sounds like, bombs and gun fire raining down – on several Ukrainian cities, with many residents hungry and sick as they hide out in bomb shelters.


LEELA: Which are mostly the underground train and subway stations, right?


MAMA: Yes. And the worry is how much and medical help they’re getting. But on the positive side the fourth round of peace negotiations have made some headway. Ukraine’s President Zelensky says the talks with Russia are beginning to “sound more realistic.”


LEELA: That’s something!


MAMA: And, get this, in a gutsy show of unity, the prime ministers of neighboring Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic took a train journey to meet Ukraine’s President Zelensky in the capital, Kyiv, while the city was under attack.


LEELA: Wowzers!


MAMA: Now, beyond that, a few words jumped out at us this week, which you might not know –propaganda, paramilitary and mercenary ever heard of those?


LEELA: Yeaaahhh – no.


MAMA: Alright, first paramilitary – let’s break it down. Para is a prefix that means alongside or besides.


LEELA: Beside the military?


MAMA: Yeah, so they’re unofficial soldiers who fight, typically, on the same side as the official military, but don’t have to follow the same rules. And then, similar are mercenaries, “soldiers of fortune” or “hired gun” – basically, soldiers who get paid to fight in a military conflict – so personal gain rather than patriotic duty.




MAMA: So a lot of people who aren’t Russians or Ukrainians have signed up to fight. Some because they believe one side is right and they wanna help and they usually are paid little or nothing. Others, like mercenaries, join a war because they’re paid a lot of money to fight.


LEELA: Not my dream job.


MAMA: No… Now let’s move on – let’s talk about Russia for a moment – there are a lot of people there who are upset by what their government is doing in Ukraine and those who simply don’t believe there’s a war at all.


LEELA: Why don’t they believe it?


MAMA: Because they’re being told a different story – they’re being told certain propaganda. Do you know what that means?


LEELA: Ahhh, no.


MAMA: Well, it’s when information from only one side of the story is given or, worse, when totally wrong information is being given.


LEELA: Ah, fake news.


MAMA: Yes, well, we called it propaganda first, but I suppose it’s the same thing. Though specifically its when it’s used to promote a political cause or point of view. What’s the word?


LEELA: Propaganda.


MAMA: So Russia puts a lot of pressure on media at the best of times. But now there’s a new criminal law that bans calling Russia’s military action in Ukraine an “invasion.”


LEELA: That’s dumb.


MAMA: Well. So most journalists are scared to say anything – except for Marina Ovsyannikova – and editor at the main state-controlled TV channel who was seen standing behind a news anchor, holding an an anti-war sign, which said: “No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”


LEELA: Whoa. What a cool woman


MAMA: Well, she was questioned by police for 14 hours without an attorney present.


LEELA: Yikes. And she has two kids, right?


MAMA: Mmmhmm.


LEELA: Scary. Please tell me you have a happy take in your Ukraine update?


MAMA: I do indeed. From England. Let’s go to our correspondent Jackson Hosking for the details.


JACKSON: The British are opening up their homes to refugees. Nearly 44,000 homes in fact.


That’s how many people signed up in JUST five hours to a new government scheme called Homes for Ukraine.


Each host household housing will be offered £350 (that’s around $500 dollars) a month for doing so.


Even though they aren’t expected to provide food and living expenses for the refugees. Though they can if they want.


The government said there’s no limit to how many Ukrainians could enter the UK under the visa sponsorship scheme.


LEELA: Thanks, Jackson.


MAMA: Yes, that’s really awesome – Jackson. Keep us posted on how that goes. We’ll want a full report!


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: A high-level investigation is underway in India after it accidentally fires a missile into neighboring Pakistan. It says there was a “technical malfunction” during a maintenance check-up and that it was taking the matter “very seriously.” Pakistan is demanding a joint investigation.


Remember the man with heart disease who was the first person to receive a genetically-modified pig heart two months ago? Well, sadly the historic transplant in the US state of Maryland wasn’t enough to save him, though doctors say it’s not yet clear precisely what caused his death.


In the UK a seven-year-old schoolboy called Callum is making history becoming the first person to present a petition to the Scottish parliament. He’s hoping to ensure that every child in the country be given reusable water bottles to replace the single-use plastic bottles that are given out nearly every week.


And finally, you heard it here first… The yellow and black Joro spider that’s as wide as your fist is spreading across the eastern states of America. Yes, hear all about the creepy-crawly  in our Episode 75 – and find out where they came from and if they’re headed your way!




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


MAMA: You’re most welcome. And now it’s time for…


NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s the call of nature. Get on your safari suite. Or squeeze into your scuba gear, your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling!”  


MAMA: And she needs our help more specifically manatees do.


LEELA: Otherwise known as the “cows of the sea.” Mooooo. Actually, I don’t know what sounds manatees make

MAMA: Well, you’re about to find out.


LEELA: They’re so ugly, they’re cute.


MAMA: Yes, the super big sea mammals, that look a lot like fat seals but with squashed square faces –are sending out the SOS.


LEELA: For more on the story, let’s cut across to Lani Power, who knows a thing or two about manatees.


LANI: Thanks, you guys. I saw a lot of manatees a couple years ago at a spring in Florida! It was amazing!


Manatees, also known as Sea Cows, aren’t doing so great right now, mostly because their main food source, sea grass, is in short supply.


We have rising temperatures and increased pollution and fertilizer levels to blame for that.


Luckily, wildlife workers from off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida have come to the rescue!


They’ve teamed up with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Power and Light to construct a temporary feeding station in the path of the manatee’s migration route! That way they could just throw their food – mostly lettuce – into the water as the manatees swam by!


Armed with romaine and butter leaf lettuce, the workers have fed the manatees over 25 tons of leafy greens! That’s 50,000 pounds or 22,000 kilograms!!


Talk about a huge salad bar!


As a result, around 350 cows of the sea are visiting a day, with up to 800 on a busy day!


And guess who funded this project? If you said ordinary people like you or me, you’re right!


Since you can’t feed manatees directly, many people donated to the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, raising 10,000 dollars in less than a month! How cool is that?!


In Florida, I’m Lani Power reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Super cool. Thanks a lot for that report, Lani.


MAMA: Yeah, may they can organize for the leftover lettuce from all those all you can eat salad buffet bars to go to the manatees


LEELA: 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: OMG. I’m not doing this story. Aaaah! Creepy. Creepy.


MAMA: What? Let me see that? Oh… that’s… ewwww…. I mean, when we say we like to leave you with an oddball story, this would be about as odd as it gets.


LEELA: Not odd insane! I mean I thought the cactus smuggler from New Zealand was wacky, but this is downright bonkerbrains! I can’t even…


MAMA: Come on, Leela you got this. You can do it. Give us the news.


LEELA: OK. I can. Cue the music and I’ll pull myself together.




LEELA: Once upon a time, just a few days ago, a 30-year-old US man was driving from Mexico to California.


At the border crossing, officers thought something was not quite right when they were inspecting his truck.


Oh, and were they on to something, for sure.


Agents found 52 live reptiles tied up in small bags


To be precise that’s nine snakes and 43 horned lizards, which by the way look like baby dinosaurs! I’m gonna have nightmares


And they were not just in this man’s truck – but in his jacket!


And in his pants including the groin area which in case you didn’t know, means they were near his underpants!



Yes. He was arrested for smuggling – as some of the species are considered endangered. Guess he was hoping pocket some money for the slithery things in his pocket.


You could say he slithered up to the border but he rattled away in chains.


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 – It’s St Patrick’s Day this week a celebration of being Irish and marking the death of Ireland’s patron saint. Who wasn’t actually Irish… What was his nationality?

Roman Englishman.


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – St Patrick’s day falls in the middle of what fasting holiday that Catholics practice?



MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – While Russia continues its bombardment against Ukraine, not everyone in Russia believes it is happening because of Russian state propaganda. What’s propaganda?

It’s biased or fake news meant to promote a political cause or point of view.


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Some people are signing up to fight in Ukraine because they believe in defending the country. But what is the name of people who fight in a war for personal gain like money.



MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Florida’s beloved manatees are dying at a record rate – because rising sea temperatures and increased pollution is destroying their main food source, sea grass. So what are they being given to eat instead?


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…We have to announce the winners of our great DIY.org give-away.


MAMA: Yes, we teamed up with the video training platform to produce a series on


LEELA: “How to be a Podcaster”


MAMA: And to celebrate we giving away annual memberships.


LEELA: Congrats to Ashtyn, would like to learn how to crochet, twins Ayansh and Anvika who want to learn to cook and sew.


MAMA: And also to Anuska who wants to learn about maps. Love that. And more twins –


LEELA: Amaira and Anaira – who want to learn public speaking.


MAMA: Well, the membership codes will be whizzing their way to you soon – enjoy learning!




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