London Zoo on Wednesday carried out its annual weigh-in as it sought to keep track of more than 17,000 animals in its care.

Ten-week-old penguin chicks and 80-year-old tortoises were among a huge variety of animals that had their vital statistics recorded at the zoo in London's Regents Park.

Each measurement is recorded in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), a database shared with zoos all around the world, helping zookeepers to compare important information on thousands of endangered species.

"With different behaviours, personalities and traits to take into consideration, zookeepers use ingenious tactics to entice the animals in their care to stand up and be measured," said an official from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).


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Working 55 hours or more per week is linked to a one third greater risk of stroke compared to a 35-40 hour work week, according to research published Thursday.

Based on a review of 17 studies covering 528,908 men and women followed for an average of 7.2 years, the increased stroke risk remained once smoking, alcohol consumption and level of physical activity were taken into account.

The study, published in The Lancet, found that compared with people who logged a standard week, those working between 41 and 48 hours had a 10 percent higher risk, while for those working 49 to 54 hours, the risk jumped by 27 percent.

Working 55 hours or more a week increased the risk of having a stroke by 33 percent, the study showed.

The long work week also increased the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 13 percent, even after taking into account risk factors including age, sex, and socioeconomic status, the study showed.

In looking at the link between long hours in the work place and heart disease, Mika Kivimaki, a professor of epidemiology at University College London, and colleagues analysed data from 25 studies involving 603,838 men and women from Europe, the United States, and Australia who were followed for an average of 8.5 years.

The underlying causes of stroke and heart disease are complex, involving a mix of genetic and environmental factors.

But the researchers suggest that physical inactivity, high alcohol consumption, and repetitive stress all enhance risk.

"The pooling of all available studies on this topic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and cardiovascular disease risk with greater precision than has previously been possible," Kivimaki said in a statement.



Britain and France were to announce a new "command and control centre" Thursday to tackle smuggling gangs in Calais, as Europe grapples with its biggest migration crisis since World War II.

Under a deal to be signed by Home Minister Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, British teams will be deployed to bust smuggling gangs and also reduce nightly attempts by desperate migrants and refugees to break into the Channel Tunnel.

But in an interview with AFP, the head of the Red Cross slammed the "indifference" of governments across Europe that has allowed a continental crisis to take hold.

"What will be the saturation point? When will everybody wake up to see that it is a real crisis?" Elhadj As Sy, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in Geneva.

His comments came as a barrage of alarming statistics showed that hundreds of thousands of migrants -- many fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria -- are pouring into the European Union, with no end in sight.

The new deal for Calais includes extra French policing units, additional freight searches, and making the railhead at the Eurotunnel entrance more secure through fencing, security cameras, flood lighting and infrared detection technology.

It also provides 10 million euros ($11.2 million) over two years to speed up asylum applications and boost humanitarian aid in the northern port city.

Some 3,000 people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia are camped in Calais, hoping to get to Britain where many have family and work is thought easier to find.

- Record highs -

The numbers trying to reach Britain are a tiny fraction of those entering other European countries, particularly Germany, which said this week it expects a new record 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015 -- far more than the 500,000 initially expected.

Cazeneuve was due to travel to Germany on Thursday evening to discuss the issue, which ChancellorAngela Merkel has warned could become a bigger challenge for the European Union than the Greek debt crisis.

EU border agency Frontex on Tuesday reported a record high of 107,500 migrants at the European Union's borders last month.

And the number of migrants arriving in debt-crippled Greece is accelerating dramatically, with nearly 21,000 landing on the overstretched Greek islands last week alone, the United Nations said.

Red Cross chief Sy said the only way to stop the traffickers was to increase legal means of migration.

"It's Greece today, it could be another entry point tomorrow," he said. "The more legal room you have (to migrate), the less room you will have for criminal activity."

The EU has approved 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of funding to help member states cope with the flood of migrants, but Sy insisted the response so far "is nowhere near the scale of the problems that we are seeing."



Seals and porpoises are becoming a common sight in the Thames Estuary and further upstream, survey results published on Thursday show.

A total of 2,732 marine mammals were spotted by members of the public in the river between 2004 and 2014, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said in a report.

Harbour seals were the most commonly sighted marine mammal, with 1,080 animals reported, while 333 grey seals were also recorded during the ongoing survey.

Another 823 unidentified seals were also spotted over the decade-long period while 49 whales, 398 harbour porpoises, 46 dolphins and three otters were also seen, the survey revealed.

The majority of sightings were of individual animals, but in September 2014 100 seals were spotted at Greenwich and in November 2014 30 pilot whales were spotted near Clacton-on-Sea.

A northern bottlenose whale famously swam up the Thames past the Houses of Parliament in 2006 but failed to survive.



A court in Britain dropped a controversial extradition case against Rwanda's intelligence chief on Monday, leaving him free to return home.

General Karenzi Karake was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Spain in June and had been on bail but the case was dismissed following a hearing at London's Westminster Magistrates Court.

After the arrest at London's Heathrow airport, a Spanish judicial source said Karake was accused of "crimes of terrorism" linked to the killing of nine Spanish citizens in Rwanda in the mid-1990s.

British police said the 54-year-old was arrested over alleged "war crimes against civilians".

Karake's defence lawyers and prosecutors in the case gave different reasons for why the general, a key figure in the regime of President Paul Kagame, had been freed by the court.

"The general has been freed unconditionally after the Spanish authorities conceded that the general has committed no offence that could be prosecuted in both England and Spain," a statement from Omnia Strategy, the firm representing him, said.


Omnia Strategy was founded by Cherie Blair, wife of Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair, whose Africa Governance Initiative has advised Kagame. Cherie Blair also led Karake's legal team.

But a Spanish judicial source told AFP that the judge in the case believed "the UK was not competent to hear such offences committed outside British territory."

The Crown Prosecution Service, which oversees prosecutions in England and Wales, said the case was dismissed because "the relevant laws on the conduct alleged in this case do not cover the acts of non-UK nationals or residents abroad."



Military personnel are Tuesday preparing to defuse an unexploded World War Two bomb which prompted the evacuation of hundreds of families in east London.

The bomb which was discovered at a building site in Bethnal Green at around 12:45pm on Monday, forced the evacuation of 150 people from nearby homes and businesses.

Families were forced to spend the night at a local school after the 500lb device was discovered at Temple Street.

Tower Hamlets Council extended an exclusion zone around the bomb from 100 to 200 metres, leading to major traffic delays as several key roads were closed.