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Australian woman spends hundreds to save pet goldfish

An Australian woman shelled out hundreds of dollars to save her pet goldfish after the fish accidentally swallowed a large pebble and started to choke.

>> Read more trending stories

The pebble became lodged in Conquer the ranchu goldfish's throat after the fish accidentally ate it from his tank, Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services said Thursday in a Facebook post.

In images shared by the veterinary service, the black rock can clearly be seen inside the fish.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); = id;  js.src = "//;version=v2.7";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Recently our patients have been keeping us particularly busy! Just last week we had a client with a fishy problem!...Posted by Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Conquer's owner, 21-year-old Emma Marsh, told The Courier Mail that she took her 1-year-old pet to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services in Greenslopes, Queensland, after she saw him choke.

"I treat fish like they're any other pet," she told the newspaper.

Veterinarians put an anesthetic into Conquer's water to keep him asleep as they examined him.

"He was making excessive mouth movements trying to dislodge it," veterinarian Emma McMillan told The Courier Mail. "If we did nothing he would have starved to death."

McMillan removed the pebble, which was about 8 or 9 millimeters long. Conquer is only about 5 centimeters long, the vet said.

The fish was kept overnight for recovery and was released back to Marsh.

The ordeal cost Marsh $500 ($376 USD) -- $100 ($75 USD) for the emergency consultation and $400 ($301 USD) for the anesthetic and overnight stay, according to The Courier Mail.

"So far (he) has stayed out of any more trouble," according to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services.

The Great Barrier Reef is dying

The Great Barrier Reef is dying, and tourists from all over the world are rushing to see it while there's still time.

Nearly 70 percent of people who visited the reef in 2015 said they made the trip to Australia to witness its beauty before it's gone.

>> Read more trending stories  

Almost half of the reef's coral has vanished over the past three decades, thanks to warming ocean temperatures, invasive species and coastal development.

This year, the reef suffered the worst coral bleaching in recorded history. One study estimated over 90 percent of the reef has been affected. 

The Australian government thought the reef's dire state would drive tourists away, but it's done the opposite. That's great news for the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, but it could be bad news for the reef itself.

This phenomenon is called last-chance tourism, and it happens all the time at vanishing destinations, like the Maldives and Galapagos Islands.

Researchers fear it could make the reef's plight even worse. 

One of the study's authors wrote in The Conversation, "There's a vicious cycle at play here: tourists travel to see a destination before it disappears, but in so doing they contribute to its demise, either directly through on-site pressures or ... through greenhouse gas emissions."

But a reef scientist told Motherboard the impacts of tourism are actually "overwhelmingly positive."

"The greater the value of Great Barrier Reef tourism, the easier it is to justify government investment in reef management," said reef scientist Peter Mumby.

And the reef might already be seeing those positive effects. A new video from early September showed at least part of the reef has almost fully recovered from coral bleaching.

7 things to know now: Clinton pneumonia; Dolphins players kneel; 'basket of deplorables'; Arquette dies

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Clinton stumbles at ceremony: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stumbled and appeared to go limp as she left a  9/11 anniversary remembrance ceremony in New York City Sunday. Clinton stumbled as she attempted to get into a van and had to be held up by three  people. According to her campaign,  she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and on Sunday became overheated during the ceremony. A short time after the incident, she emerged from her daughter Chelsea’s apartment in Manhattan and waved to the crowd there, saying she was OK.

2. Not standing for the anthem: Fans are criticizing four players for the Miami Dolphins who chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem Sunday. Some say that the decision by linebacker Jelani Jenkins, wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Arian Foster and safety Michael Thomas was a particularly poor one in light of Sunday’s  anniversary of the terror attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raised a fist during the anthem Sunday, as did New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty prior to their game. The moves have come in the wake of San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the playing of the anthem.

3. Explaining the ‘basket’: Hillary Clinton on Saturday backtracked comments she made at a fundraiser Friday saying that at least half of Donald Trump’s supporters could be lumped into “the basket of deplorables.” Clinton said the “basket” contained people who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” Clinton partially walked back the remarks on Saturday after they became public, saying, “ Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that's never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ -- that was wrong.”

4. Dancing with the Stars: Ryan Lochte, along with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Amber Rose and Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady from “The Brady Bunch”) are among the cast of the next season of “Dancing With the Stars.” The latest installment of the dancing competition is set to begin Monday at 8 p.m. ET. Also set to put their dancing shoes on is Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Marilu Henner and Vanilla Ice.

5. Arquette dies: Alexis  Arquette, a transgender actress and sibling of David Arquette and Patricia Arquette, died Sunday. Arquette, who had roles in “Pulp Fiction,” “Bride of Chucky,” and who starred as a Boy George impersonator in “The Wedding Singer,” was 47. Arquette had surgery to transition  to a woman in 2006.  No cause of death was released.

And one more

Savvy Shields, Miss Arkansas, was named Miss America Sunday night. Shields bested 51 other contestants in the annual pageant, where she performed a jazz  dance. Shields was asked a question about Hillary Clinton during a portion of the competition and replied, "If you're trying to be leader of the free world, everything you say and do matters and all of your actions are held to a higher standard. Both of the contestants have done a good job, but they also need to watch what they're doing."

In case you missed it

It's 15,000 dominoes and 25 hours of work. Amazing!

110 people got stuck in cable cars during a trip to the French Alps

Views of Mont Blanc in the French Alps are stunning. But views of Mont Blanc while you are stuck in a cable car about 12,000 feet in the air probably seem a little less stunning.

>> Read more trending stories

That was the view for 110 people trapped in cable cars Thursday afternoon. Some passengers were rescued by helicopter that day, but others had to stay in the cars overnight until it was safe enough for the rescue team to get them.

The cars stopped working after cables got crossed. NPR reports officials think strong winds might have caused the cable issue.

The last of the passengers were rescued safely Friday morning. 


9/11 victims might be able to sue Saudi Arabia

Victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks may soon be able to sue Saudi Arabia over the country's alleged roles in the incidents.

The House is expected to vote on a bill — called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act — that would prevent countries accused of having ties to terrorism from invoking sovereign immunity in court.

>> Read more trending stories

Currently, a law allows foreign countries to be sued if they are officially considered a state sponsor of terrorism, but Saudi Arabia doesn't have that designation.

This new bill passed the Senate in May, but the White House strongly urged against it and indicated President Barack Obama won't sign it if it makes it to his desk.

The concern is that it could damage the U.S.' relationship with Saudi Arabia and create a dangerous situation for American officials overseas.

If the legislation is approved, other countries could pass similar legislation, opening up the potential for American officials to be sued in a foreign court.

Saudi Arabia is also threatening to sell $750 billion in U.S. treasury securities if the bill passes, which could be bad news for the economy.

But supporters say the threat is just a bluff and that the bill would mean Saudi Arabia's alleged role in the 9/11 attacks could be examined further.

There's no proof any Saudi Arabian official was involved, but it's long been speculated that the attackers were supported by the government.

Gary Johnson: 'What is Aleppo?'

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is getting a lot of attention for his answer to an interview question.

"What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?" Mike Barnicle said.

"And what is Aleppo?" Gary Johnson asked.

Johnson was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," discussing his presidential race, when Mike Barnicle, a recurring guest, asked questions on foreign policy.

>> Read more trending stories  

But Johnson wasn't quite sure what the seasoned journalist was referring to when he asked about Aleppo.

"Aleppo is in Syria," Barnicle said. "It's the epicenter of the refugee crisis."

Johnson caught his bearings with an "OK, got it," but it was too late. The hosts of "Morning Joe" dug in.

Joe Scarborough asked if Johnson thought foreign policy was "so insignificant" that it's OK for a presidential candidate to not know "what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important"?

The city of Aleppo has seen some of the worst of the Syrian crisis. It's become a war-torn battleground in the country's civil war and a nexus of the refugee crisis.

Some are saying Johnson's run is doomed after this misstep. Johnson reportedly said after the interview that he was "incredibly frustrated" with himself.

The campaign has since released a statement. Johnson explained when he was asked about Aleppo, he thought of an acronym, not the Syrian conflict. The statement says, in part: "I blanked. It happens, and it will happen again during the course of this campaign."

UK to build a border wall near Calais, France

The United Kingdom's immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, has confirmed plans to build a "big new wall" in the French city of Calais to prevent refugees and migrants from entering the U.K.

>> Read more trending stories  

The structure, dubbed "The Great Wall of Calais" by local outlets, will be about 13 feet high and run for more than a half-mile along both sides of the main road into the city's port.

The wall will be extra security in addition to a fence that already lines the road.

The move is the U.K.'s latest attempt to tighten border security in Calais, which is a popular place for migrants to enter the country illegally.

Currently, many refugees hop onto the back of cargo trucks heading into the U.K. and hope that no one discovers them. Officials believe the wall will help stop that from happening.

Hundreds of people have compared the U.K.'s plan to Trump's proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border.

But Britain's wall is significantly smaller than what Trump has in mind, and many argue that the need for better border security in Calais is necessary for the safety of its residents.

Still, critics have condemned the project as a waste of taxpayer money and is "morally wrong."

A spokesperson for the U.K. Home Office told Fox News they expect the wall will be completed by the end of the year.

Afraid of clowns? You're not alone.

They didn’t start out to scare anyone.

Clowns have held a favored, albeit slightly outcast place throughout history – first, as comic relief to those in power, performing magic tricks, pranks or slapstick routines, then, later, as entertainers to the masses.

Disturbing reports from South Carolina of people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods near Greenville, have stirred for some, fears of the white-faced figures.

>>Got a question about the news? Read more Explainers here 

The clowns we see today – doing everything from taking orders at restaurants to performing at children’s birthday parties – can trace their history back hundreds of years to entertainers often dressed in bright clothes and, in some way hiding their identities.

For many, they are a reminder of an innocent time in our recent past (think Ronald McDonald, Clarabell and Bozo). For others, they represent some of their deepest fears (think Pennywise from Stephen King’s “It,” or the clown doll in “Poltergeist”).

>>RELATED: Police will charge you if you falsely report a clown sighting

So what is it about them that terrify some of us? Could be a lot of things, according to a study by Andrew McConnell Stott, Dean of Undergraduate Education and an English professor at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. Stott has written about the clown culture from the earliest of recorded mentions of what are now called clowns to the familiar clowns of the circus and, the ones we all find scary. 

Here’s a quick look at clowning  and what about it sets some of us on edge.

The beginning of scary clowns

Early on, clowns were not generally seen as scary.  They were jesters and entertainers, but not threatening as a rule. Stott speculates in his book “The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi,” that the death of Grimaldi, seen as the “father of the modern clowns” may have been the point where people began looking at clowns through a different lens.

>>RELATED: Man with machete chases clown into the woods

According to Stott, while Grimaldi was considered one of the greatest of modern clowns, his personal life was nothing to laugh at. After enduring a difficult childhood, the death of his wife in childbirth and a son who drank himself to death, Grimaldi died a penniless alcoholic.

After Grimaldi’s death, a young  Charles Dickens was assigned to edit Grimaldi’s memoirs which painted a picture of a lonely life. It was Dickens' “The Pickwick Papers,” Stott says, that sets up a look at a tragic clown who gained laughs only at the expense of great personal pain. The passages about clowns in the book are believed to have been inspired by the tragic life Grimaldi’s son.

As Dickens advanced the theme of clowns destroying themselves from within, a clown portrayed by Jean-Gaspard Deburau, gained popularity in France. Deburau used white face paint with red lips and black eyebrows while performing. Deburau had a reputation as a sinister man and that reputation was born out when in 1836, he killed a boy by hitting him with a walking stick as the youngster hurled insults at him along a Paris street.

The clown as a dark figure would gain popularity a few years later when an Italian opera, “Pagliacci,” became popular. The opera featured a clown murdering his cheating wife on stage during a performance.

By the 20th Century, the clowns we think of today – identities concealed by makeup – were seen mostly as entertainment for children. According to Stott, it's the mask that hides the clown’s features that help to creating a sense of fear. 

“Where there is mystery, it’s supposed, there must be evil, so we think, ‘What are you hiding?” Stott said.

So, I’m scared of clowns, is there a name for that phobia?

Yes, there is. It’s called coulrophobia  which means the excessive fear of clowns.   

Am I the only one scared of them?

Nope. Not by a long shot. Should you ever feel that way, click here for a forum for those who, as the name implies, dislike clowns - The mission statement for the website: “ is the official website for people who are afraid of, or just plain hate, creepy, evil clowns. A perfect site for people suffering from coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).”

What can I do to overcome my fear of clowns?

Clowns are people who dress up in costumes, smear makeup on their faces and act silly. Mental health officials say seeing a person being transformed into a clown could help some realize the clown is a persona a person assumes. Some circus offer opportunities to help ease fears by allowing customers to see their clowns put on the makeup  (click here)

Types of clowns

There are three traditional types of clowns – the White-face, Auguste and The Character. White-face is what you think it is, a clown with white face makeup; Auguste is a zany clown with a flesh tone makeup base, and a character clown is a clown that can be any character, such as a cowboy, a doctor or a policeman.

Famous people scared of clowns

It’s true that celebrities are just like us, especially if we are terrified of Bozo. Here are a few celebrities who prefer not to be around clowns:

• “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe,

• Actor Johnny Depp

• Rapper P. Diddy who is said to have had a “no clown” clause in one of his contracts with a venue where he was to perform 

• Comedian Carol Burnett

• Professional chef Anthony Bourdain

'IT' returns

The movie “It,” based on a book by Stephen King, is being remade into a move, set to hit theaters one year from today. The movie features an evil spirit that takes the form of a clown who lures children to a sewer then eats them.

In at least one case, there was speculation that the sightings of clowns trying to lure children into the woods in South Carolina was a viral stunt to publicize the movie.  There has been no evidence of someone being that stupid.

Sources: The Smithsonian Magazine;; The Associated Press; All About Clowns  

$1.7B to Iran: Just how much money is that?

On Tuesday, the Obama administration acknowledged a cash payment of $1.7 billion made to Iran in January of this year, payment of a debt, the White House said, that was decades old.

The payment, according to The Associated Press, was made entirely in cash, using non-U.S. currency. The controversy over the payment has come as government officials admitted that the $1.7 billion installment came on the same day as four Americans being held in Iran were released – leaving critics to suggest the money was ransom.

>>Got a question about the news? Read more Explainers here 

President Obama denied any connection to the release of hostages, saying the money was owed Iran from assets frozen in the 1970s.

How and why that much paper money was delivered on pallets to the country has baffled some. The administration says  it was done so because the U.S. government does not have a currency exchange system set up with Iran. 

So what does it take to deliver $1 billion to a foreign country?

Obviously, it depends on the denomination of the bill.  The report says the money was paid in cash, using non-U.S. currency, but since our frame of reference is a dollar bill, let’s use those dimensions to take a look at just how much paper was delivered to Iran. (Note: The Euro, which was mentioned in the report as part of the currency delivered, is roughly the size of a U.S. dollar bill).

Here are some numbers, using a U.S. $100 bill (which has the same dimensions as a $1 bill) as a measure.

First, some base numbers: A packet of $100 bills (imagine a stack of bills wrapped by a paper ban) is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Each bill is 2.61 inches by 6.41 inches, making the area of a bill 16.7301 square inches.  A billion dollars in $100 bills would weigh 22,000 pounds, and be more than 1,100 cubic feet of paper.

Ok, now some comparisons.

  • A $10,000 stack of $100 bills can fit in your pocket.
  • If you have $100,000,000 (one hundred million), you will need a standard wood pallet.
  • When you hit $1 billion, you’re talking real money – and area. You would need 10 crates of $100 bills to make up a billion dollars.  For the latest Iranian payment, nearly double that – 17 crates.
  • If stacked, the $1 billion in $100 bills would be 10,000 feet tall – imagine 10 Eiffel Towers stacked on top of each other.
  • It would take 16 weeks to count the $1 billion in $100 bills if you can count one bill per second.

What if you used $1 bills?

  • If you just stacked the $1 bills – one billion of them – they would go up 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles. 
  • The area covered by 1 billion $1 bills would measure 4 square miles. This would cover an area equal to 2,555 acres. A football field is roughly one acre.
  • The length of 1 billion $1 bills laid end-to-end measures 96,900 miles. This would extend around the earth almost four times. So if we are talking about the January payment  to Iran, it would stretch around  the earth nearly eight times.
  • If you want to spend $1 billion, you’d better get busy. If you spend $1,000 an hour, it will take you 114 years to blow through the billion dollars. 

Sources: Rutgers University;; The Associated Press

7 things to know now: Trump, Clinton at forum; 9/11 flag; Lochte suspended

1. National security forum: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton participated in a televised national security forum Wednesday with “Today” show host Matt Lauer as moderator and members of the audience asking questions. Clinton was asked by a former fighter pilot why he should trust her in the wake of her ongoing troubles with transmitting classified information. Trump praised Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president was a better leader that Barack Obama.

2. Russian jet: A Russian jet fighter came within 10 feet of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane near the Black Sea Wednesday, in an encounter American military officials called “unsafe and unprofessional.” The Russian fighter at first maintained a 30-foot distance from the U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft, but eventually flew closer to the plane in the 19-minute encounter.   

3. Lochte suspension: Swimmer Ryan Lochte, who exaggerated claims of being robbed while competing in the Summer Olympics in Brazil last month, has received a 10-month suspension from competition, and will not be allowed to participate in the 2017 world championship meet. The three other swimmers involved in the incident will reportedly be suspended from competition, too, but not for as long as Lochte.

4. 9/11 flag: The flag that was hoisted above the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center towers after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, will be placed in the 9/11 Museum in New York City Thursday. The flag  that went missing after the ionic photo of firefighters raising it at Ground Zero was shot, was found in Washington State in 2014. It’s owner donated it to the museum.

5. Exercise and alcohol: A new study is showing evidence  that exercising may “cancel out” the effect alcohol has on cancer deaths brought on by drinking. The study appears to show that exercise also lessens the risk of dying from any disease in which alcohol plays a part.

And one more

Space was anything but the final frontier for the TV show “Star Trek” when it premiered on television 50 years ago today. Only 79 episodes of the show were broadcast, but they caught on with a loyal fan base that has for half a century supported the show and all of the movies and series that have followed. Live long and prosper, “Star Trek.” 

In case you missed it

How it all started.

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