April 21, 2015

Top News Stories –

Flawless 100-carat diamond sells for $22.1 million at NY auction –
An eye-popping, 100-carat diamond, the highlight of a magnificent jewels sale in New York on Tuesday, sold for $22.1 million, Sotheby’s auction house said. The perfect classic emerald-cut D color diamond, which is about the size of a walnut and was mined by De Beers in southern Africa, was purchased by an anonymous buyer via a telephone bid. It had a pre-sale estimate of $19 million to $25 million. Gary Schuler, the head of Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, said the gem is the definition of perfection. The $22.1 million price, which includes the buyer’s premium, fell short of the $30.6 million world record price paid for a 118.28 carat white diamond in Hong Kong in 2013. Sotheby’s said only six perfect diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have been sold at auction in the last 25 years. [Reuters]

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleads guilty to threat to kill –
Phil Rudd, drummer of Australian rock band AC/DC, has changed his plea to guilty on a charge of a threat to kill, at a court in Tauranga, New Zealand. The court heard he was unhappy about his album’s launch party and asked for a former employee to be “taken out”. He had previously denied the charge. He also pleaded guilty to cannabis and methamphetamine possession. Prosecutors dropped a second threat to kill charge, relating to the former employee’s daughter. [BBC] On April 1 2015 AC/DC won their first Grammy.
[Daily Telegraph]
AC_DCAC/DC

Japan maglev train breaks world speed record again –
A Japanese magnetic levitation train has broken its own world speed record, hitting 603km/h (374mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji. The train beat the 590km/h speed it had set last week in another test. Maglev trains use electrically charged magnets to lift and move carriages above the rail tracks. Central Japan Railway (JR Central), which owns the trains, wants to introduce the service between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027. The 280km journey would take only about 40 minutes, less than half the current time. However, passengers will not get to experience the maglev’s record-breaking speeds because the company said its trains will operate at a maximum of 505km/h. In comparison, the fastest operating speed of a Japanese shinkansen, or “bullet train” is is 320km/h. (See Video of the day). [BBC]
JR-Maglev-MLX01 The SCMaglev test track in the Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

Video of the Day –

Yasukazu Endo, the head of the research centre run by Central Japan Railways, discusses the new maglev train. [Guardian]

List of the day –

Vehicle Speed records (as of April 21, 2015 – source Wikipedia)

Category Speed Vehicle Operator Date Certifying entity
[km/h (mph)]
Land speed record 1,228 (763) ThrustSSC Andy Green 15-Oct-97 FIA
Wheel-driven 775.106 (481.629) Vesco Turbinator Don Vesco 18-Oct-01 FIA
Motorcycle 605.697 (376.363) Ack Attack Rocky Robinson 25-Sep-10 FIM
Diesel-powered 563.995 (350.450) JCB DieselMax Andy Green 23-Aug-06 FIA
Electric-powered 495.140 (307.666) Buckeye Bullet 2.5 Roger Schroer 24-Aug-10 FIA
Steam-powered 225.06 (139.85) Inspiration Charles Burnett III 25-Aug-09 FIA
Wind-powered 203.09 (126.19) Ecotricity Greenbird Richard Jenkins 26-Mar-09 NALSA
Human-powered 133.78 (83.13) VeloX3 Sebastiaan Bowier 14-Sep-13 IHPVA
Solar-powered 88.8 (55.2) Sunswift IV “IVy” Barton Mawer 07-Jan-11 Guinness World Records
Radio-controlled car 325.12 (202.02) RC Bullet Nic Case 25-Oct-14 Guinness World Records
Tracked vehicle 82.23 (51.10) FV101 Scorpionreconnaissance vehicle 26-Mar-02 Guinness World Records
On ice 331.61 (206.05) Audi RS6 Janne Laitinen 06-Mar-11 FIA
Lunar rover 17.0 (10.6) Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV-003) Eugene Cernan 1972 NASA

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Other News Stories –

Armed conflicts and attacks
  • War in Somalia (2009–present)
    • A deadly explosion in a Mogadishu restaurant kills at least four people and injures ten others. (Al-Jazeera)
  • Yemeni Civil War
  • Forty armed men in camouflaged uniforms and speaking Albanian take several police officers hostage in northern Macedonia, the armed men are apparently calling for the creation of “an Albanian state”. The incident was reminiscent of an insurgency in Macedonia in 2001 when Skopje’s security forces battled rebels demanding greater rights for the former Yugoslav republic’s large ethnic Albanian minority. (Reuters)
  • Two terrorist groups, ISIS and Taliban, announce Jihad against each other. (MintPress News)
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Disasters and accidents
Law and crime

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