I found the comment of this photo hard to understand:

Different ages, but cloned in Korea from the same deceased mother.

They have no father, but three mothers contributed to their birth: Missy for DNA, another for an embryo (and mitochondrial DNA), and a third surrogate mom for implantation and fetal development.

Because of their random estrous cycles, dogs are among the most difficult animals to clone.

MissyToo was full of beans. I first saw her “sister” with Lou in a canoe on Echo Lake.

They dropped by for lunch today, just as a "news" item broke of three human clones living in Eastern Europe.

I can't understand the last sentence:

  1. What exactly is "a news item"? Is it equivalent to the news itself or what?
  2. What does "broke" mean here?
  3. How does "these two dogs dropped by for a lunch" have anything similar to "a 'news' item broke of three human clones living in Eastern Europe"? I know they are both clones, but there is no further relation between them, and the connection is too weak to use "as" in my opinion. I think I might have missed something, like the meaning of the sentence or the usage of "as".
  • 1
    "News" is probably in quotes as "scare quotes" ("sneer quotes"), suggesting the writer thought that the claims about human clones living in Eastern Europe is probably false.
    – Golden Cuy
    Dec 13, 2015 at 0:09

2 Answers 2

  1. A ‘news item’ is the same as a piece of news. This part of the sentence could have been written as just as "news" broke of three human clones living in Eastern Europe, though I think it would have been less clear and less easy to read.
  2. The word ‘broke’ here is used in definition #6 here as listed in the OED:

[NO OBJECT] (Of news or a scandal) suddenly become public:

‘since the news broke I’ve received thousands of wonderful letters’

So, a piece of news became known to the public, or in other words, was published, and it was purportedly about three human clones living in Eastern Europe.

  1. This usage of ‘as’ does not indicate a comparison or similarity between the clone dogs and clone babies in the news. The ‘as’ here means ‘while at the same time’.

A news item is exactly that: an item of news, this phrase is usually used for news reports that are noteworthy.

In journalistic lingo, to break a story is to be the first to publish it.
So in your example it means as the first report of something appeared in the news.

In the sentence just as means at the same time, it is not a simile.

The author is making the point that the cloned dogs arrived at his house at the same time that the human clone news story was appearing. Strange coincidence?

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