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


Science: Physicist David Reitze of the U.S. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the detection of gravitational waves, in vindication of a phenomenon Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

Gravitational waves are extremely difficult to detect as they are extremely weak, and, for a long time, scientists did not have the technology to build machines sensitive enough to detect these tiny ripples in space-time.

The discovery concluded half a century’s search for the elusive cosmological vibrations many scientists doubted would ever been detected.

“This was truly a scientific moonshot, and we did it, we landed on the moon,” David Reitze said.

The gravitational waves were said to be caused by two black holes colliding into each other some 1.3 billion years ago.

For more on the phenomenon, we go to PBS Digital Studios:


Hong Kong: About one year after the Umbrella Revolution, when tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens occupied the central business district for 79 days in protest of police suppression of peaceful demonstration, the city was again in chaos.

On the first night of the Year of the Monkey, a riot broke out in the busy quarter of Mong Kok, a popular rendezvous spot for the city’s grassroots community.

This time, the feud was over an unannounced operation by hygiene officials to clear the unlicensed cooked food stalls — activities that have been tolerated for many years during the annual festival period.

Loud protests of angry bystanders attracted the interference of police, and soon the dispute broke into riots. Protesters set fires on trash and hurled bottles and bricks at police officers who retaliated with steel batons and pepper spray.

According to the New York Times, 48 police officers had been hurt, many hit by glass bottles and other objects. Forty-seven men and seven women, ranging in age from 17 to 70, were arrested on charges that included assaulting the police, resisting arrest, and other related crimes.

As we wish everyone a peaceful new year, we go to the lighter facts for the Lunar New Year. Here’s some interesting facts about the Year of the Monkey, courtesy of ARIRANG NEWS:


Syria: U.S., Russia, and more than a dozen other countries met in Munich on Thursday to negotiate a truce to the civil war in Syria.

As part of the ceasefire agreement, which will be in force within a week, humanitarian aid will be delivered to besieged areas across the country in the next few days, the Guardian reports.

All parties have agreed that peace negotiations should resume in Geneva as soon as possible.

According to the Independent, the five-year conflict has killed more than a quarter-million people, created Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II and allowed ISIS to carve out its own territory across parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.,

For more on the talks, we go to USA Today:


Finance: Chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) Janet Yellen spoke before Congress last week.

The key highlights from her two-day semi-annual meeting:

* America faces the possibility of an impending economic downturn. “There is always some chance of recession in any year,” Yellen said, according to CNBC. “But the evidence suggests that expansions don’t die of old age.”

* It’s too soon to say whether the Fed would raise interest rates in March.

* And the central bank is studying whether negative interest rates would ever be introduced, if needed.

For more, we present another report by USA Today:


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Gravitational Wave Art courtesy of posteriori /