National briefs Oct. 18

Accidental baby swap discovered 12 years too late
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare come true: finding out the child you’ve been raising is actually the result of an accidental swap at the hospital. Two families in Kopeisk, Russia are suing a hospital for five million roubles ($158,300) after they discovered that their daughters had in fact been given the wrong name tags in the maternity ward, the BBC reported. When ex-husband of mother Yuliya Belyaeva refused to pay alimony for their daughter on the grounds that she did not resemble him, they ordered DNA tests which revealed the girl was not related to either parent.  Too much time has passed since the incident for the families to legally be able to press criminal charges against the hospital staff. Neither child wants to leave their home, but will visit their biological parents from time to time. 

Putin the scuba-diver
A Vladimir Putin-led diving expedition which resulted in the discovery of two Greek urns earlier this week is being ridiculed by the Russian independent media as yet another photo op for the  Russian prime minister. According to the Guardian, Putin found two amphorae while scuba diving on the floor of the Black Sea and was praised for his findings by the state-controlled media. Conversely, a sarcastic editorial from the Novaya Gazeta newspaper pointed out that Putin was diving at a depth of two metres in a place archaeologists had been combing for two years. Critics hypothesized the urns were planted there for the prime minister to find in an attempt to boost his popularity before elections in December and March.

Impressive, this story is
The people at the root of modern language probably spoke like Yoda, according to a recent study published by two linguists. Merritt Ruhlen and Murray Gell-Mann, co-directors of the Santa Fe Institute Program on the Evolution of Human Languages, used a language family tree to trace the relationships between languages of the world. They found that a language spoken by an East African people is the common source of the more than 2,000 modern languages in existence, CBS reported. That original tongue used a subject-object-verb word order instead of the subject-verb-object word order common to English – instead of saying “I like you” they would say “I you like,” a pattern which is similar to that of the diminutive green Jedi master. The researchers also found a pattern in how words are re-ordered as languages branch off and evolve, but remain unsure as to why such changes occur.

She must be new around here
A New Mexico woman has been arrested and charged with criminal solicitation after asking to buy weed on Craigslist. According to the Toronto Sun, 29-year-old Anamicka Dave posted an ad on Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section which said that she was new to Albuquerque and “looking for Mary Jane.” Officers posing as sellers arranged to meet her through text messages and arrested her in a parking lot. The police sergeant in the area expressed his surprise that someone would actually advertise for weed online.


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Concordia University’s new president sworn in

Judith Woodsworth offically became president and vice chancellor of Concordia University on Nov. 17. An installation ceremony was held during the morning fall convocation at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier at Place des Arts in front of current graduates, alumni and faculty, as well as 20 university representatives from across Canada.


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