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20170223

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The story about the murder of KIM Jong-Nam at KLIA2, the budget airline terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, is, like so many things involving North Korea these days, becoming bizarre. Malaysian police want to interview a NoKo diplomat: the North Koreans say that's not going to happen. Then the NoKo press agency, KCNA, started its own PR campaign saying "The biggest responsibility for his death rests with the government of Malaysia". See http://www.pleasebeinformed.co....

But the story just keeps getting bigger as this BBC report shows.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-...

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It amuses us the Belgium's University of Liege named a project in its astronomy department after beer-making monks. It says of itself "TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) is a project driven by the Origins in Cosmology and Astrophysics group (OrCA) at the Department of Astrophysics, Geophysics and Oceanography (AGO) of the University of Liège (Belgium). " OK, so it's funny. But what isn't funny is that it's been studying a star, which it's named "TRAPPIST-1." Obviously, by definition, it's outside our own solar system (our star is the sun, or Sol) so it's far, far away. First, they found four planets orbiting the star, and now they have found three more. What's exciting about them is that they are a similar size to earth and three of them are in the so-called "habitable" zone of distance from their sun. That means they may have water and if they have water they may have life and... well, you get the drift. Getting there will be a monumental challenge, if anyone were to even try. And there's another problem: their star is dying: it's older than our sun and it's significantly cooler which is why the habitable zone is closer to its surface than in our own solar system. And, unlike the slogans on the side of removal vans that say "distance no object," in this case it is: 40 light years to the star.

http://thema.ulg.ac.be/spatial...

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The tie up between Nissan-Renault and Mistubishi is so new the ink isn't dry on the deal, yet. Singapore's Competition Commission only issued its approval on in the first week of this month. But already, Carlos Ghosn is completing his move to his next big challenge, having pulled both Nissan and Renault from the brink of disaster, he's eased himself out of his position at Nissan and as of today moves to head Mitsubishi. But he still has a handful of senior titles and the FT says "The reshuffling of the roles leaves few people in doubt that the 62-year-old will remain in full command." Like both Renault and Nissan, Mistubishi makes perfectly decent cars but they've lost their flair. Ghosn has a tendency to bring style, engineering audacity and a healthy dose of business reality with him. Nissan was the sick-man of the Japanese motor industry when Ghosn brought it into the Renault group with a complex cross-holding. Now it outperforms Renault.

https://www.ft.com/content/4ec...

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"Mr Netanyahu knows these formulations like the back of his hand. Mr Netanyahu also knows he has torpedoed each of them, often at five minutes to midnight, often by changing the goalposts, to the enduring frustration of both Republican and Democrat Administrations" - Kevin Rudd, former PM of Australia during Netenyau's visit as part of an almost-world tour.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-...

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There is a fabulous sub-text going on around the world. Late last year, then US President Obama passed a law that said that companies would be criminally liable if the contaminated streams. On 3rd January, a congressional review reversed it and, last week, that reversal was put before Donald Trump, who had become President in the meantime. He signed it.

The New Zealand Government has announced that it plans to make 90% of New Zealand waterways "swimmable" (in terms of water quality) by 2040.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/...

But that news is dwarfed by news from China. In recent years, there has been a series of plans announced to clean up the rivers and progress has been made but given the very low base, there is still a massive problem. But it is a problem that the government is not only prepared to tackle but also to demonstrate why it's necessary, even when that demonstration might be embarrassing, such as the death of an endangered white dolphin in Guandong. First reports are that the animal got lost and swam into a freshwater river where it died, an occurrence that researchers have noted in elderly dolphins.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

But there's good news, too. "Water diversion in N China revives former wasteland"

http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

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