News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories

Asia: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized to Korea last week for the use of “comfort women” by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. Later Monday, Abe called South Korean President Park Geun-hye to reiterate his apology.

Tens of thousands of Korean women were forced into prostitution by Japan during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The lack of a formal admittance of responsibility, as well as a lack of compensating victims, remained a sticking point decades after the end of World War II.

Japan offered to set up an $8.3 million fund for 46 former comfort women who are still alive – with the deal conditional upon Korea’s undertaking not to press any future claims or demands for apologies from Japan.

However, Japan’s offer seems unable to placate the entire Korean community, as hundreds of South Koreans held a sit-in on Wednesday in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul to protest the agreement.

For more, we go to this CNN report:


Archaeology: Still using the nostalgic Nokia 3310 cell phone? One may be baffled that such a design could have been around for hundred of years.

A report from conspiracy website last week suggested that archaeologists have dug up a bizarre 800-year-old tablet in Fuschl am See, Austria, which bears a striking resemblance to a cell phone.

Added to the curiosity is the ancient cuneiform inscription on the keypad-like engraving.

The excavation aroused interest among UFOlogists and conspiracy theory enthusiasts who ventured into ideas such as time travel or evidence of advanced prehistoric civilizations.

Skeptics, however, have dismissed it as a hoax.

For a look at the tablet in question, we’ve linked to the following video:


Science: The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) awarded Japan’s Riken Institute the right to name a new entry on the periodic table.

The new element, coded Element 113, was three times synthesized by Mr. Kosuke Morita of the government-affiliated Riken Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science between 2004 and 2012, and which passed the mark for being admitted into the periodic table.

The new element, provisionally named ununtrium, is highly radioactive, and eludes easy discovery due to a very short (less-than-a-thousandth-of-a-second) half-life.

Riken had proposed “japonium” for the element, but said that Morita, their lead scientist, will propose a formal name in 2016.

Morita and his team began creating Element 113 in the late 1980s, and made three successful attempts.

Here’s a piece about ununtrium, produced by Slate Magazine:


Middle East: A towering inferno greeted the advent of the New Year in Dubai, leaving 14 people with minor injuries while sending some festive-ready tourists fleeing in panic.

The celebrated 302 meter, 63-story Address Building, the 19th tallest building in Dubai, is a mixed-used complex, with residences, rentals, retail, and dining options. It also houses the luxurious Address Hotel.

Loud explosions were audible inside the burning tower just minutes before a fireworks display was to be staged at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

The fire did not halt the extravaganza or the midnight revelry.

Sky News has this report:

And to welcome in a happy and healthy New Year, we’ll leave you this week with some footage of the 2016 firework celebrations in Dubai:


Have a story that you’d like us to cover or review? Contact NewsWhistle’s Tony Church at


Lead-in image courtesy of Trong Nguyen /