March 10th, 2012
08:28 PM ET

Brazil: Sunbathers save stranded dolphins

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By , GlobalPost

Finally, some good news: around 30 dolphins were safely returned to sea after washing ashore on a Brazilian beach.

The mammals were saved by the quick thinking of beachgoers at Arraial do Cabo, in Rio de Janeiro state.

According to Gerd Traue, who caught the incident on camera, the dolphins appeared at 8:00 AM on March 5.

His video (below) shows the pod dragged closer and closer to shore, seemingly by a strong current, until the animals lie stranded on the beach itself. Thrashing their bodies and making high-pitched squeals, they become stuck in the wet sand and are unable to swim back out to sea.

People approach, at first unsure of what to do, but soon cooperating to drag the dolphins back into the water by their tails. FULL POST

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Topics: Animals • Latin America
Why debt crisis keeps France waiting for Chinese pandas
November 8th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

Why debt crisis keeps France waiting for Chinese pandas

By , GlobalPost

Among the less predictable effects of the European debt crisis is the delay of a crucial Chinese loan to France.

Paris had hoped to get hold of one of Beijing's most valuable resources: not a hefty credit facility, but two giant pandas.

The two governments had planned to finalize the deal last week, French Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told Agence France Presse.

But the panda negotiations had to take a back seat to a different type of loan, she said:

"Things were very far advanced. Unfortunately because of the Greek crisis, the sovereign debt crisis, the emergency G20 summit, there was no time for the final discussion between President Hu Jintao and President Sarkozy."

The highly endangered giant panda holds such symbolic value for China that all lending arrangements must be approved at the highest level, Kosciusko-Morizet explained.

She recently returned from a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, southwest China, which will provide the pandas to be loaned.

A specially-built enclosure is awaiting them at Beaval Zoo in central France.

Kosciusko-Morizet is hopeful the deal will be finalized by letter in the coming weeks, global financial crises permitting.

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Topics: Animals