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Rocket blasts off with NASA satellite to track climate change

An unmanned Delta 2 rocket lifted off from California today carrying a NASA satellite to measure how much water is in Earth’s soil, information that will help weather forecasting and tracking of global climate change.The tiny amount of soil moisture links the planet’s overall environmental systems – its water, energy and carbon cycles – as well as determines whether particular ...

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India interest rates kept on hold

India’s central bank has kept interest rates unchanged, three weeks after it announced a surprise cut.The benchmark interest rate, or the level at which The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lends to commercial banks, is to stay at 7.75%.RBI chief Raghuram Rajan said the bank was awaiting further signs of declining inflation ahead of this month’s budget.Asia’s third-largest economy has ...

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‘Mass death sentences’ for 183 in Egypt

An Egyptian court triggered an international uproar Monday, confirming a death sentencefor 183 defendants.The defendants were convicted of murdering 11 police and two civilians in August 2013,Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency reported.Those deaths came in an attack on a police station.It followed a massive, deadly crackdown by Egyptian forces on supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy.”Today’s death sentences are yet another ...

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Most China cities fail to meet air quality standards

Only eight out of China’s 74 biggest cities passed the government’s basic air quality standards in 2014, the environment ministry has said.The most polluted cities were in north-eastern Hebei, the province that surrounds the capital Beijing.Beijing and Shanghai both failed the assessment, which was based on measurements of major pollutants.China is attempting to cut pollution but the country still relies ...

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ISIS loses battle for Kobani

Kurdish fighters have taken the Syrian city of Kobani from ISIS’ grip after 112 days of fighting with the Sunni extremist group, multiple sources said Monday. The announcement comes a day after an Iraqi official declared that Iraq’s Diyala Province had been “liberated” from ISIS. Idriss Nassan, Kobani’s deputy foreign minister, told CNN he expects an official announcement Tuesday “if ...

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Several dead as convoy ambushed in South Sudan

At least 11 people, including five journalists, were killed in South Sudan’s western region, when gunmen attacked their convoy in the country’s west, a military spokesman told the Associated Press news agency. Col. Phiip Aguer blamed the attack on Tuesday on the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army believed to be hiding in neighboring countries. Aguer said the rebels ...

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Auschwitz 70th anniversary: Survivors mark camp liberation

Some 300 Auschwitz survivors have returned to the site of the Nazi death camp in southern Poland to mark 70 years since its liberation. Some 1.1 million people, the vast majority Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945, when advancing Soviet troops liberated it. Ceremonies are under way at the site in the presence of foreign dignitaries. It is ...

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Winter storm Juno shuts down New York: City travel network shut down as freeze hits

A brutal snowstorm which forecasters are calling ‘the worst in history’ has shut down New York. Three feet of snow is expected amid 85mph gusts and blizzard conditions, and a highly unusual road curfew has been put in place. Drivers face fines of $300 (£200) or arrested for non-emergency journeys if caught. The entire New York City transit system stopped ...

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Australia asylum: Abbott says Manus Island blockade ‘broken’

Australian leader Tony Abbott says an asylum-seeker protest at an offshore detention camp has been “broken”. His comments came after guards at the Manus Island camp in Papua New Guinea (PNG) entered a compound where hunger-striking detainees had barricaded themselves in. Some asylum seekers were reportedly arrested in the operation, which came amid an intensifying week-long protest. But a campaigner ...

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India’s tiger population sees 30% increase

India says it now has almost a third more tigers than it did four years ago. Presenting the findings of the latest tiger census, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the tiger population had risen from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014. He said a number of government initiatives to streamline tiger conservation were behind the increase. India is estimated ...

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