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7 Stories to Skim: Giraffe Kisses Dying Zookeeper Goodbye

In today's lunchtime reads: a zookeeper's final farewell, your first-ever tweet, Michelle Obama's tour of China, and more.

Here are seven stories from the "Nightly News" team that caught our attention as we get ready for tonight's broadcast.

1. Giraffe Kisses Dying Zookeeper Goodbye

In one of the most enchanting, heartfelt photos of the week: a giraffe gives a final kiss to a dying zookeeper. The Dutchman, known only as Mario, worked at the zoo for 25 years and asked if he could see the giraffes one last time to say goodbye. Well, he wasn’t the only one that wanted to say farewell. When brought inside the giraffe enclosure, a giraffe came up to Mario and bestowed a kiss. “These animals recognized him,” said Kees Veldboer, founder and director of the Ambulance Wish Foundation, which organized the goodbye.

2. First Lady Michelle Obama Plays Ping Pong in China

First Lady Michelle Obama hit the streets of Beijing today, with who else as her tour guide but the first lady of China. The first lady said she was “nervous” when asked to try her hand at the ancient practice of Chinese calligraphy at a Beijing school, but earned applause for her table tennis volleys. Obama is with her daughters and mother on the trip. After the Forbidden City, the first family will travel to Xi’an to see China’s iconic terracotta warriors, and later, Sasha and Malia are in for a treat when they visit Chengdu and its famed pandas.

3. Turkey Blocked Twitter and It’s Backfiring

It’s hard to imagine life without Twitter, but unfortunately for Turkey that’s become a reality. Turkey’s Prime Minister threatened to “eradicate” the social network at a rally on Thursday, and he wasn’t bluffing. Hours later, the Turkish government shut it down and blocked Twitter throughout the country. Overnight, “#TwitterisblockedinTurkey” and “#DictatorErdogan” were top-trending hashtags worldwide, as thousands of people began to share instructions on how to get around the ban. Twitter even responded by posting tweets in English and Turkish, alerting Turkish Tweeters that they can access the service via SMS.

4. Salt an Enemy of the Fountain of Youth?

Next time you rip into that bag of potato chips you may want to think twice ... all that salt could be aging you! We have known for years that too much sodium could lead to heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure, but now scientists are linking sodium intake to cellular aging. The finding comes from a study on obese teenagers. Scientists say more research is needed, but for now, laying off the salt could keep the Botox at bay.

5. Will Your Local Starbucks Need a Bouncer Soon?

In a move to bring in more customers at night, when your craving for caffeine may be at it’s lowest, Starbucks has revealed plans to sell alcoholic beverages in thousands of locations nationwide. According to Bloomberg, fancy appetizers like bacon-wrapped dates will also be added to the menu. With an average customer spending about $5 per visit, the purchase of a glass of vino could double that number. Good for their bottom line, not so good for your budget.

6. It’s Twitter’s Birthday. What Was Your First Tweet?

Twitter is celebrating its eighth birthday today by taking millions of users back to their first tweet with the launch of a new tool, About 500 million tweets are sent every day by more than 241 million monthly active users, according to Twitter. What was your #FirstTweet? Sound off @nbcnightlynews, but let’s keep it PG, and 140 characters or less.

7. Jimmy FallonDoo-Wops With Billy Joel

Last night on "The Tonight Show," Jimmy Fallon hosted Billy Joel, one of his idols and “absolute favorites.” With the help of and iPad voice-looping app, the two morphed into a doo-woop band and sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” showcasing not only Billy Joel’s smooth voice, but once again, that Fallon can do pretty much do anything.