News In Focus: From New Horizons To A Probing Scout

News In Focus: A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

Science: After a nine-year, three-billion-mile journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back high-resolution photographs of Pluto on Tuesday morning.

This is the first time humans saw the detailed face of what was once considered the ninth planet (now officially a dwarf planet), which includes a rugged surface dotted with ice mountains.

New Horizons is not only the machine of the moment. It also carries the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered the dwarf planet 85 years ago.

NASA has put together this mission recap, with an intro by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking:


UK: 20-year-old Mhairi Black roused a roar of applause in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

In her maiden speech, the youngest Member of Parliament since 1667 attacked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for cutting the housing benefit to young people.

“Now, when the Chancellor spoke in his budget about fixing the roof while the sun is shining, I would have to ask on who is the sun shining?” she said.

Black also appealed for unity between the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP) against the Conservatives.

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Lang, when complimenting Black, cautioned MPs that they should show their appreciation by means other than a clap of hands.

It is a tradition that MPs do not clap their hands in the House of Commons.

Black, a member of the SNP, defeated Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander in an election last May while still being a student at Glasgow University.

Here’s Black’s maiden speech in full:


US: The Obama administration struck a deal with Iran on Tuesday, offering to lift oil and financial sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

“This deal shows the real and meaningful change that American leadership and diplomacy can bring — change that makes our country and the world safer and more secure,” the President told Americans.

The 109-page agreement is under Congressional review for the next 60 days.

The President’s deal has received criticism from skeptics who believe that the agreement would empower rather than contain Iran’s nuclear capability.

But Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that attempts to block the successful implementation of the deal.

For more, here’s Obama talking about the deal:


Books: Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman was published on Wednesday, after a hiatus of more than 50 years since the release of her all-time classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

The long-awaited book, published by Harper Collins, continues the story of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who, now in her mid-20s, returns to her childhood home after living in New York for several years.

Go Set a Watchman has been another publication sensation. It tops Amazon’s best-seller list for Tuesday, with To Kill a Mockingbird closely following.

How good is Lee’s second novel? Well, our review of it can be found here…



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Lead-In Image: NASA