China’s Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin writing system, dies aged 111.

Zhou Youguang was born in 1906 during the Qing Dynasty. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

On 14 January 2017, Zhou Youguang passed away in Beijing at age 111. He was the father of Pinyin, a writing system that turns Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet. It was created by Mr. Zhou and a Communist party committee in the 1950s. The system has increased literacy rates in China and changed how the language is taught. Before the introduction of Pinyin, more than eighty percent of Chinese citizens could not read. Mr. Zhou later passionately opposed a number of China’s communist leaders and wrote several books criticizing the Chinese government.

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Ivory Coast announces deal to end standoff with mutinous soldiers.

Lt.-Cols. Issiaka Ouattara [left] and Cherif Ousmane arrive at the airport to speak with mutinous soldiers, in Bouake, Ivory Coast, on Friday. The government has said it has reached a deal to end the standoff. (Image courtesy of Reuters)

On 13 January 2017, Ivory Coast announced that they had resolved a conflict with mutinous soldiers in Bouake. The soldiers wanted better wages, bonuses, and living conditions, costing over one hundred fifty million dollars. During negotiations, gunfire was reported at several military bases and mutinous soldiers took control of major roads in Bouake. This is not the first time a mutiny has happened. The Ivory Coast has had ten mutinies since 1990 and has not gained full control of military.

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ISIS, Iraqi forces battle for control of Mosul University.

Iraqi special forces take up positions inside the Mosul University complex on Saturday. (Image courtesy of Associated Press)

Iraqi forces have taken more than half of Mosul University and have about one third of the entire city. Soldiers have been facing strong resistance with sniper and small arms fire. The mission to retake Mosul started in October and ISIS is slowly getting pushed back. The Islamic State is also getting attacked by the US-lead coalition, who bombed supply routes and helped take out snipers at Mosul University. Furthermore, air support and artillery are being used more freely because Iraqi forces are no longer fighting residential areas. Despite the push to retake Mosul, ISIS still has a firm grip on the city’s western half and government forces are expected to face heavy resistance.

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Deadly attack in Turkish nightclub leaves 39 dead.

An injured woman being carried away from the crime scene. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

On New Year’s Eve, a gunman open fired in a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 39 people and wounding an additional 69. From the victims of the attack, 24 were foreigners, including a Canadian woman. The gunman was seen by some survivors and has been identified as a man who walked in wearing a ‘father Christmas’ costume. In light of a recent spike in terrorist attacks in Turkey, many political figures are urging an increase in security. The attacks have been condemned internationally, and have been called “an act of savagery” by the White House. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the gunman himself is still on the loose.

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Scientists have developed a gyro-like material made of graphene. (Image courtesy of CNN)

MIT researchers develop revolutionary material.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new material that could be one of the strongest materials existing today. Using computer modeling, the researchers have developed a 3D version of graphene, which is only about 5% the density of steel but approximately 10 times stronger. Although graphene was discovered and produced around 15 years ago, this is the first time it has been put into a gyro-like 3D form. This revolutionary material can be used in architecture, engineering, and infrastructure, and even in sustainable projects.

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