A mister no more: Mr. Potato Head goes gender neutral

Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister

NEW YORK — Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister.

Hasbro, the company that makes the potato-shaped plastic toy, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year.

Toy makers have been updating their classic brands to appeal to kids today. Barbie has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.

Hasbro said Mr. Potato Head, which has been around for about 70 years, needed a modern makeover.

China reportedly gave American diplomats anal COVID-19 tests

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community COVID-19 testing site in Qiaoxi District of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province.ZUMAPRESS.com

The Chinese government has used anal swabs to test US diplomats for COVID-19 – but Beijing insisted to Washington that the butt checks were made “in error,” according to a report.

“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a State Department rep told VICE World News on Wednesday.

Washington complained that the rather invasive procedure was undignified, according to the report.

The State spokesperson said Beijing had assured Washington that the tests were given “in error” — and that diplomats were exempt from the test, which was required for incoming travelers in some parts of China.

“We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past,” the rep told VICE World News, which noted it was unclear how many diplomats or their family members had undergone the procedure.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday denied Beijing had even asked American diplomats to undergo the anal tests.

“To my knowledge…China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests,” Zhao told a daily news briefing in Beijing, Reuters reported.

In an email to Reuters, a State Department spokesperson said it was “committed to guaranteeing the safety and security of American diplomats and their families, while preserving their dignity.”

Officials in China have used anal swabs to test people it considers at high-risk of contracting the illness, including residents of neighborhoods with confirmed cases as well as some international travelers, according to AFP.

Tests using anal swabs can avoid missing infections as viral traces in fecal samples or anal swabs could remain detectable for longer periods than in those from the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing, told state TV recently.

Stool tests also may be more effective in detecting infections in kids as their waste carries a higher viral load than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said in a paper published last year.

China’s National Health Commission said in an online post that in some cases, the deadly bug can be more easily detected in anal samples than in throat and nasal samples.

According to the commission’s instructions, the samples are collected by inserting a cotton swab about one to two inches into the rectum.

A traveler from Australia to China who was tested with anal swabs in September told VICE World News the procedure felt like having diarrhea.

Lionel Richie, 71, sparks shock as girlfriend Lisa Parigi, 30, is younger than his daughter

Lionel Richie, 71, sparks shock as girlfriend Lisa Parigi, 30, is younger than his daughter. Picture: Instagram

What is the age difference between Lionel Richie and his girlfriend Lisa Parigi? Is she younger than his daughter?

Lionel Richie fans can’t believe that his girlfriend, Lisa Parigi, is younger than his daughter, Nicole.

This relationship isn’t a new one – Richie, 71, has been dating Parigi, 30, for a number of years, having first been romantically linked back in 2014.

However, a recent viral tweet posted by Twitter user @kulanicool sparked a new interest in the ‘All Night Long’ singer’s relationship. “Richie with his new Bae, he’s 71 and she’s 30, love wins,” reads the tweet alongside a photo of Richie and Parigi hugging.

Their 40 year age gap soon became the topic of conversation as some people noted that Parigi is significantly younger than the singer’s 39-year-old daughter, Nicole Richie.

Lionel Richie fans can’t believe that his girlfriend, Lisa Parigi (pictured), is younger than his daughter, Nicole. Picture: Instagram/@lisaparigi

While Richie’s long-term girlfriend Parigi isn’t exactly a ‘new bae’, that didn’t stop people sending their well-wishes to the couple, with some even commenting on Richie’s looks.

“Wait Lionel Richie is 71 and still looks this handsome???? Madd,” wrote one user, while another added, “i really don’t see a problem with this, she’s grown enough to make her own decisions”.

Parigi grew up in Switzerland and is of Swiss, Caribbean and Chinese descent, according to heavy.com. She also speaks four languages fluently: German, French, Schwiizertüütsch (Swiss German) and English. 

Having previously worked in modelling, Parigi now runs a lifestyle blog called ‘Dream Design Discover’ and is the founder of lifestyle brand The Estate Collection.