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Global Ideas

Through the lens

Join us as we take a look through the lens at some environmental events from around the world over the past week, including eagles that attack drones and the most active volcano in Europe.

However good they might smell sizzling in a pan of lemon and garlic, frog's leg are a controversial dish. A delicacy way beyond the French kitchens where they are most famously fried, they are big business. In 2015, the European Union imported more than 4200 tonnes of them, the majority from Indonesia, which as the main exporter of the little limbs, satisfies two thirds of global demand. But conservationists are warning that the trade, in which the amphibians are caught, skinned and de-legged, is not sustainable, and that inaccurate labelling means that some endangered species arebeing served up for dinner.

 

Concerned about drones that could launch attacks or act as inconspicuous spies, the French Air Force has trained a quartet of majestic gold eagles in the town of Stadt Mont-de-Marsan to grab unmanned aerial vehicles mid-flight. They hit the flying objects at a breathtaking speed to bring them to the ground. Oh, and incidentally, the four feathered drone-hunters are named after the heroes of Alexandre Dumas "The Three Musketeers", Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan. A sign?

 

If you happen to be in Sicily at the moment, you might have the chance to witness one of nature's true spectacles. Mount Etna has roared back to life, spitting molten ash and rock into the air and a flow of lava trickling down its slopes. But Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology says there is no danger because Etna is known to be one of the most active volcanoes in Europe.

 

There's nothing unusual about beauty pageants, unless, of course, the judging criteria include the pelvic bone structure and count Lady Gaga among their hopefuls. Just such a competition is held in the German town of Verden annually, and this year the title went to Madame, who beat two-time champion Lady Gaga to steal the show. Scratching your head? The contest is for beautiful cows not people. Cows, it seems, with imaginative names. Madame was crowned for her "beautiful udders", "well positioned teats" and her wide pelvis.

 

And last but not least, NASA has finally given us a reason to continue decimating our planet. Or not? The space organization has found seven alternative, earthlike planets that revolve around a single star known as TRAPPIST-1 and which is less than 40 light years away. Earthlike planets have been found before, but never so many at once. They are all about the size of earth and Michaël Gillon and his colleagues from the Liege University in Belgium say there could be water on their surfaces.

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