January 20, 2016

Top News Stories –

2015 was hottest year ever recorded ‘by far’ –
Blistering heat blanketed the Earth last year like never before, making 2015 by far the hottest year in modern times and raising new concerns about the accelerating pace of climate change. Not only was 2015 the warmest worldwide since 1880, it shattered the previous record held in 2014 by the widest margin ever observed, said the report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 Fahrenheit (0.90 Celsius) above the 20th century average,” said the NOAA report. “This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2015 record.” Compared to 2014, last year was 0.29 Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius) warmer, the “largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken.” [Daily Telegraph]

New evidence suggests a ninth planet lurking at the edge of the solar system –
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology announced Wednesday that they have found new evidence of a giant icy planet lurking in the darkness of our solar system far beyond the orbit of Pluto. They are calling it “Planet Nine.” Their paper, published in the Astronomical Journal, estimates the planet’s mass as five to 10 times that of the Earth. But the authors, astronomers Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin, have not observed the planet directly. Instead, they have inferred its existence from the motion of recently discovered dwarf planets and other small objects in the outer solar system. Those smaller bodies have orbits that appear to be influenced by the gravity of a hidden planet – a “massive perturber.” The astronomers suggest it might have been flung into deep space long ago by the gravitational force of Jupiter or Saturn. [Washington Post]

Video of the Day –

Australia Day Lamb 2016 | Commence Operation Boomerang

List of the Day –

National Television Awards 2016, London

Talent Show

Winner: Strictly Come Dancing

Britain’s Got Talent

The Voice UK

The X Factor

Challenge Show

Winner: The Great British Bake Off

Bear Grylls: Mission Survive


The Apprentice

Serial drama

Winner: EastEnders

Coronation Street




Winner: Peter Kay’s Car Share


Birds Of A Feather

Not Going Out


Winner: Downton Abbey



Doctor Who

New drama

Winner: Doctor Foster


Ordinary Lies


Factual entertainment

Winner: Gogglebox

DIY SOS: The Big Build

Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs

Top Gear

Live magazine show

Winner: This Morning

BBC Breakfast

Loose Women

The One Show

Drama performance

Winner: Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster)

Sheridan Smith (Black Work)

David Tennant (Broadchurch)

Aidan Turner (Poldark)

Entertainment programme

Winner: I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Celebrity Juice

The Graham Norton Show


Winner: Shayne Ward (Coronation Street)

Gemma Atkinson (Emmerdale)

Richard Blackwood (EastEnders)

Parry Glasspool (Hollyoaks)

Serial drama performance

Winner: Danny Dyer (EastEnders)

Alison King (Coronation Street)

Michael Parr (Emmerdale)

Rakhee Thakrar (EastEnders)


Winner: The Big Bang Theory

Game Of Thrones

Orange Is The New Black


Winner: The Chase


The Jeremy Kyle Show

The Paul O’Grady Show

TV presenter

Winner: Ant & Dec

Graham Norton

Mel & Sue

Rylan Clark

Impact/TV moment

Winner: Aiden Turner, Poldark

Special recognition award

Winner: Billy Connolly


Top Twitter Trends –

Worldwide USA UK
1 Unavailable #PenguinAwarenessDay Unavailable
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4 Unavailable #BachaKhanUniversity Unavailable
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6 Unavailable #MuseumSelfie Unavailable
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Armed conflicts and attacks
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March 30, 2016

Top News Stories –

Europe’s largest floating solar farm to open –
The biggest floating solar farm in Europe is being constructed on a reservoir. More than 23,000 solar photovoltaic panels are being laid on the surface of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. The farm, which will be the size of eight football pitches, is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. The energy will be used to part power a nearby water treatment works. Thames Water said construction of the solar farm, which is about eight miles (13 km) from Heathrow airport, will be completed by the end of March. The floating pontoon will be 57,500 sq m in size. [BBC]

Video of the Day –

The Largest Floating Solar Farm In Europe

Top Twitter Trends –

Worldwide USA UK
1 #MeHaceMuyFeliz D’Angelo Russell #WednesdayWisdom
2 #QuartaHumildeNoClubeSDV #WednesdayWisdom #AcademicHipster
3 #شيي_جميل_بحرف_… #1lineWed Jean Charles de Menezes
4 D’Angelo Russell #Every66Seconds #architecturemw
5 #FelizMiercoles #WorldBipolarDay 5SOS DAY
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9 #WednesdayWisdom #RightsCon #ModernCollectiveNouns
10 #كل_مغرد_يوصف_ن… #NationalDoctorsDay #MurderedByMyFather

Other News Stories –

Armed conflicts and attacks
Business and economy
Disasters and accidents
Health and medicine
  • A new study by researchers at McGill University and the University of California, Los Angeles, finds that each additional month a woman has paid maternity leave is associated with decreased infant mortalityby more than 10 percent. Researchers noted that paid maternity leave reduces stress because of the guarantee of income and job security, increases the chances for breastfeeding and other infant care, and allows a mother to seek more medical attention for herself. (UPI) (PLOS Medicine)
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration announces it has relaxed its official requirements regarding the use of the abortion drug Mifeprex (RU-486). The current guidelines were based on 1990s medical evidence. Changes include reducing the number of physician visits required by abortion-seeking women, reducing drug dosage, and allowing women to take the drug for three weeks longer — now a total of 70 days. (UPI)
  • Air pollution in Mexico City
    • Mexico City, facing the capital’s worst air-quality crisis in over a decade, issues a temporary order that all cars remain idle one day a week. Today, authorities report a pollution index of 108 (bad) after low readings during Holy Week. Vehicles will also be forced from the roads one Saturday a month. The measure will begin next Tuesday, April 5, and run until Thursday, June 30, 2016. Starting July 1, improved technology will be in place at smog-check centers where all vehicles must be tested every six months. (AP via Fox News)
International relations
Law and crime
  • A Bangladesh Court issues an arrest warrant, the second one so far, for former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and 27 opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party members over political violence, mostly petrol-bomb attacks, that occurred during anti-government protests last year that killed at least 120 people. (Al Jazeera)
  • EgyptAir Flight 181
    • A Larnaca, Cyprus, court orders that 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, who was arrested by Cypriot police yesterday, remain in local police custody for eight days to assist Cyprus’s own investigation. Mustafa faces charges of hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping, and threats to commit violence. It’s unclear if Mustafa had any explosives; the bomb belt he wore was fake, and officials are waiting for testing results on unidentified liquids found among his possessions. (AP via The Daily Courier)
    • Egypt General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek formally requests Mustafa’s extradition from Cyprus. (Reuters)
Politics and elections

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June 23, 2016

Top News Stories –

Britain has voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, defying its prime minister and confounding most analysts’ expectations. The result raises questions over the future of Prime Minister David Cameron, and over the future of Scotland within the United Kingdom. The results expose a British electorate deeply divided by age, class and geographical location. Most large urban centers elected to stay part of the European Union, particularly in London, where many local authorities delivered vast majorities for the pro-EU campaign. Polls completed before the vote suggested the young were significantly more likely to back EU membership than the old, and that poorer, less-educated voters were likelier to be Brexiters. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Wales surprised many observers by voting in favor of a “Leave” vote, with just over 850,000 Welsh voters choosing to leave the bloc, and a little more than 770,000 voting to Remain. [Newsweek] See List of the Day

Solar plane lands in Spain after three-day Atlantic crossing –
An airplane powered solely by the sun landed safely in Seville in Spain early on Thursday after an almost three-day flight across the Atlantic from New York in one of the longest legs of the first ever fuel-less flight around the world. The single-seat Solar Impulse 2 touched down shortly after 7.30 a.m. local time in Seville after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 2.30 a.m. EDT on June 20.
The flight of just over 71 hours was the 15th leg of the round-the-world journey by the plane piloted in turns by Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. [Reuters] See Video of the Day

Video of the Day –

Solar Impulse Airplane – Leg 15 – Flight New York to Seville

List of the Day –

How the home nations voted in the EU Referendum [BBC]


Leave 53.4%
15,188,406 VOTES
Remain 46.6%
13,266,996 VOTES
Counting complete
Turnout: 73.0%

Northern Ireland

Leave 44.2%
349,442 VOTES
Remain 55.8%
440,437 VOTES
Counting complete
Turnout: 62.9%


Leave 38.0%
1,018,322 VOTES
Remain 62.0%
1,661,191 VOTES
Counting complete
Turnout: 67.2%


Leave 52.5%
854,572 VOTES
Remain 47.5%
772,347 VOTES
Counting complete
Turnout: 71.7%

Other News Stories –

Armed conflicts and attacks
Disasters and accidents
International relations
Law and crime
Politics and elections
Science and technology
  • Solar Impulse 2, a plane powered only by the sun, lands safely in Seville, Spain, shortly after 7.30 a.m. local time after a flight of just over 71 hours. The 15th leg of the round-the-world journey had been expected to take up to 90 hours. (Reuters) (Reuters²)

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July 7, 2016

Top News Stories –

Marion Bartoli: Former Wimbledon champion ‘fears for life’ over unknown virus –
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says she “fears for her life” after contracting an unknown virus that has caused her dramatic weight loss. France’s Bartoli was barred from playing in an invitational event at Wimbledon this week after doctors expressed fears over her health. Bartoli, who insists she is not anorexic, says the virus is so rare medical experts have no name for it. “This is not life. I am just surviving,” said the 31-year-old. Bartoli says she can only eat organic salad leaves and cucumbers without skins, and has to wash with mineral water rather than tap water. [BBC]
Marion_BartoliMarion Bartoli

The final image sent by doomed Japanese Hitomi satellite –
A doomed Japanese satellite managed to capture a view of a galaxy cluster 250 million light years away just before it died, scientists have revealed. Launched in February, the Hitomi X-ray satellite began tumbling out of control in March when contact was finally lost. Just before its demise, scientists managed to extract data measuring X-ray activity in the Perseus galaxy cluster. Hitomi, which translates as the pupil of the eye in Japanese, was meant to spend years studying the formation of galaxy clusters and the warping of space and time around black holes. It cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars – the research was an international collaboration involving the American space agency Nasa, and teams in Japan and many other countries, including one at Cambridge University in the UK. Hitomi was lost thanks to a sensor incorrectly detecting a roll in the spacecraft. In trying to correct it, on-board systems sent the craft into a spin until finally the solar panels that powered it are thought to have broken off. [BBC]
Hitomi Perseus imageHitomi Perseus image [HITOMI COLLABORATION/JAXA, NASA, ESA, SRON, CSA]

Video of the Day –

Movie Credits from Alex Cline on Vimeo.

Other News Stories –

Armed conflicts and attacks
Business and economy
Disasters and accidents
International relations
Law and crime
Politics and elections
Science and technology
  • Scientists manage to extract one last image from the Hitomi x-ray spacecraft, which broke up last March while orbiting Earth. Before it died, the spacecraft captured an image which measured the X-ray activity of the Perseus cluster. (BBC)

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