Sniffer squirrels, spy balloons, Turkey quake, seagulls-v-drones, bare Spaniard

Feb 15, 2023 Episode 138

Squirrels joins Chinese police force, spy balloons saga, quake update, seagulls-v-drones in Portugal and Spaniard bares all

Episode Transcript



LEELA: This week – updates on the earthquake and spy balloons, plus sniffer squirrels, seagulls versus drones and the Spaniard who bares it all!

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


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

MAMA: Hello, hello. I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And this is Newsy Pooloozi – the coolest pool of news and information!

LEELA: It’s busy and a pretty wacky week of world news.

First, we’ll have updates on the rescue operation after the massive quake that rocked Turkey and Syria… as well as the latest on the Chinese-US spy balloon story.

Plus, move over sniffer dogs – there’s another animal with some smell power that’s being used to sniff out drugs in China.

In Portugal it’s a case of seagulls versus drones as authorities turn to technology to help tackle their angry bird problem.

And in Spain one man takes a look at the law and realizes he’s free to walk around completely… well, you’ll just have to listen to the end here what.

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, we should really begin the podcast with the latest updates on the big news from last week as there have been important developments.

LEELA: Queue the sting, Mama.

TOP-UP TIME STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Go on give me a top up, please? It’s top-up time. Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Now? Yeah, now. It’s top-up time.”

MAMA: When we did a deep dive into last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey –

LEELA: And neighboring Syria a country already beaten down because of a civil war that’s almost 12 years old!

MAMA: That’s right. Well, when we went to publish the podcast, the death toll was at over 8000.

LEELA: Which is completely horrible.

MAMA: Well, I’m afraid to say it’s even worse as rescuers could only do so much and, well, it became clear that more like more than four times more people were buried underneath the rubble and couldn’t be saved.

LEELA: Like over 35,000 people!

MAMA: And now questions are being asked at super high levels of government about the construction of the buildings. Their building codes in Turkey meet current earthquake-engineering standards, at least on paper, but a lot of people says they aren’t always enforced in reality.

LEELA: Which some say explains why so many buildings toppled over like a house of cards.

MAMA: Well now over a hundred thirty-one people are already under investigation for constructing buildings that don’t meet right standards

LEELA: And now another top up on the other big story from last week.

MAMA: U.S. fighter jets shot down three more “airborne flying objects” including one over Michigan’s Lake Huron, which had supposedly passed over “sensitive” U.S. military sites.

LEELA: This comes a week after the massive Chinese surveillance balloon which traveled across the entire country was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

MAMA: And neighboring Canada has also shot down an object shaped like a cylinder. Floating in the sky for its part China’s foreign ministry is now accusing the US of flying high-altitude balloons over ITS airspace more than 10 times since the beginning of last year.

LEELA: You know that expression, “Big Brother is Watching You.”

MAMA: I certainly do – it comes from the famous book by George Orwell, called 1984.

LEELA: Well, maybe it’s really, “Big Balloon is Watching You.”

MAMA: You got a point there, girl. Alright – staying with China now – we have another fantastical story.







MAMA: So, we’ve all heard of sniffer dogs, right?

LEELA: Sure the dogs at airports that go up and smell everyone’s luggage and sometimes people too, trying to sniff out any thing you’re not supposed to be carrying on planes. Like plants or animals. Or more so illegal drugs.

MAMA: That’s right. Well, you’re not gonna believe what animal is being recruited for the same kind of job.

LEELA: Oh, I know the answer – and it’s totally nutty!

MAMA: You said it! The newest members of an anti-drug police squad are… squirrels.

LEELA: Cray-cray and cute as this sounds, it’s no joke.

MAMA: Yep, they’re small, agile and quick. That’s why police in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing are training six Eurasian red squirrels to sniff out drugs.

LEELA: It’s part of a national program to see if animals other than dogs can be used in drug-busting operations.

MAMA: Well, squirrels are special rodents when it comes to smell. Did you know they can smell food under a foot of snow?

LEELA: Well, if we’re sharing fab facts about these nutty creatures – did you know about a newborn squirrel, it’s only about an inch long. A-dor-a-ble! And – get this – their front, buck teeth – which are equally adorable never stop growing!

MAMA: That’s a common trait of most rodents – the word of which actually comes from the Latin word “rodere,” which means to gnaw.


LEELA: Huh! But hold on. Dogs sniff and bark to let their minder know they’ve found something. What will the little squirrels do?

MAMA: They’ll scratch their minder, of course.

LEELA: OMG. Too cute!

[SOURCE: https://www.firstpost.com/explainers/squirrels-china-sniffing-drugs-dogs-12147532.html



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: New Zealand declares a state of emergency after Cyclone Gabrielle causes huge ocean swells, widespread flooding and landslides, forcing people to evacuate their homes and leaving many stranded-on rooftops.

The Super Bowl championship of American football might be over congrats Kansas City Chiefs for defeating the Philadelphia Eagles – but now the real contest begins as people debate their favorite commercial played during the game watched by 113 million people.

The world’s most famous diamond won’t be worn by Britain’s Queen Camilla during the coronation of her husband King Charles. India has long claimed the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond as theirs and many believe the new King doesn’t want to start a diplomatic row.

And it’s official – Pat, a mouse in California, is named as the oldest mouse on Earth by the Guinness Book of World Records at nine years and 209 days old. Pretty impressive for a rodent that weighs as much as three pennies.

LEELA: I do love that wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama. It’s rather… whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity [said fast]

MAMA: Or maybe it’s just whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity.

LEELA: Oh, no, it’s definitely whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity [said too fast to understand]!

MAMA: OK, OK. Now it’s time for…

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

LEELA: So, everyone has probably heard a thing or two about Angry Birds, right?

MAMA: Sounds familiar.

LEELA: Well, I’m not talking about the video game, oh, no. But the real thing.


LEELA: So, how many times have you been at the beach and someone next to you – usually a city slicker! thinks it’s a good idea to feed the seagulls.

MAMA: Oh, yeah. Dumb move.

LEELA: Exactly. The first seagull might be cute. But soon….


LEELA: It’s like a horror movie – with a whole flock of seagulls bobbing up and down and some of them getting quite… nasty!

MAMA: Not fun.

LEELA: Well, apparently that’s what it’s like in the Portuguese city of Porto – a lot of the time!

MAMA: Yikes!

LEELA: Never fear, the drones are here.

LEELA: Yes, a plan to combat the pesky and aggressive birds is underway.

MAMA: Oh. What is it?

LEELA:  See, you can’t just take the eggs away. For a start most are in high, hard to reach places. But also, the birds would just quickly produce more eggs.

MAMA: More eggs more birds more problems

LEELA: So instead, Porto authorities are using drones to spray the nest with oil.

MAMA: Wait a minute, they using drones to spray the nest with oil?

LEELA: Yes oil, this stops the eggs from hatching, believe it or not. But the mother bird is unaware her eggs have been neutralized and goes on sitting on them.

MAMA: Oh, I see. They just took the eggs away she quickly goes to make more but instead she thinks she is hatching eggs – clever. But I’d think when eventually she finds out that would make for more angry birds.

LEELA: Well, you’d think. But it does slow down the rate of reproduction, so they’re hoping it will help. Along with making those who feed the birds pay a big fine.

MAMA: Oh, now that’s a good idea.

[SOURCE: https://www.portugalresident.com/drones-to-help-destroy-seagull-eggs-on-porto-rooftops/


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: Well, let’s say the story is a little “bare” this week. Quite literally!

MAMA: And warning… If you find the idea of someone “baring, it all” in the name of testing the law of course a bit too much then you know you can skip on to the fab facts.

LEELA: She means a kooky man from Spain who finds wearing clothes a tyranny, in other words: a cruel and unfair use of government’s power.

MAMA: Yes… this might be the most political oddball we’ve had on this podcast. Alright over to our Spanish correspondents

LEELA: Nina and Marcky Granena – take it away, guys!

NINA AND MARKY: This is the story of Alejandro Colomar, a 29-year-old computer scientist from Valencia who’s starting a revolution… A revolution against the tyranny of clothes! (muuuu hahahahahaha)

Alejandro gets lots of attention these days because, well, he walks around town naked.

It’s his freedom of expression!

He didn’t always walk around in the buff.

It all started a few years ago. He was working out in the park, and he was hot, so he took off his shirt.

But someone walking by said “Hey! You can´t do that! You can’t just take your shirt off! Get dressed!”

He was blown away “What do you mean, get dressed!?

When he got home, he looked up the laws in Spain about walking around without a shirt on in public.

“HA!” he said “Not only can I go shirtless, I can go totally naked!”

So, he tried out. He started walking around in his small village without clothes on.

“They called the police on me, tried to make me pay fines, saying I was breaking a law.”

But he wasn’t. In Spain there aren´t any laws saying you HAVE to wear clothes.

And what do people say when they see him coming their way?

“Not a lot to be honest. Mostly, they just grin and bare it!”

In Barcelona, this is Nina Granena and Marcky Granena for Newsy Pooloozy.

LEELA: Grin and BARE it.  I got that.  Good one! Thanks a lot Nina and Marky.

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/spanish-high-court-backs-mans-right-walk-naked-street-2023-02-03/]

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 – The death toll of last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in both Turkey and Syria nears 35,000 people. This comes while Syria is in the midst of a civil war that’s how old?

Nearly 12 years

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – In a twist on the phrase “Big Brother is Watching You,” both the US and China accuse each other of sending spy balloons over its airspace. What book is that phrase based on?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – In China squirrels are being used to try and sniff out drug smugglers. How big are these rodents when they’re born?

Only about an inch long

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – And the word rodent actually comes from the Latin “rodere,” which means what?

To gnaw

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A man in Spain who rejects the tyranny of clothes walks naked in the street because there’s no law saying he can’t. What is tyranny?

A cruel and unfair use of the government’s power

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, go on to our website to the Lucky Dip Blog page and you find all the quizzes there so can you test yourself in your own time, it’s 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!

MAMA: But first a huge shout out to Saffron Barns who has sent us the sweetest email ever she says…

LEELA: “I love your podcast and listen to it every night to get to sleep not that it’s boring in fact I’m listening to one now as I’m writing this I found your podcast on Ko Ko Sleep and my first episode was the pink cover Indian festivals last year and I’ve heard all of them thank you so much.”

MAMA: Aww… Thank you so much Saffron for taking your time to write in


MAMA: What about you guys come on send us the message or

LEELA: Tell your friends about us too.

MAMA: Yeah, yeah yeah, all the shacks

LEELA: OK – we’ll see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!