World News Beat

Bite-sized news from around the world

By: Nathaniel Tok

ZIMBABWE – Mugabe announced he will step down as president

The long-standing President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, announced his resignation in a letter to parliament yesterday, staying the impeachment process underway to end his rule which spanned nearly four decades. In a televised speech two days earlier, Mugabe made no mention of stepping down even after his ruling ZANU-PF party fired him on Sunday. The party had replaced Mugabe with Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former vice-president whom Mugabe had sacked earlier this month prompting the army to intervene. Mugabe’s wife Grace, who was thought to be a candidate to succeed her husband, was also expelled from the ZANU-PF. Meanwhile, crowds poured onto the streets yesterday to celebrate the end of an era. Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980.

With files from Reuters and BBC News.

UNITED STATES – Scientists use gene editing to cure disease in medical first

A man with Hunter syndrome has become the first person to be treated for a disease using gene editing. Scientists in California used an intravenous to infuse copies of a corrective gene as well as a tool to separate the DNA in the right spot into the body. Gene editing is a form of genetic medicine that permanently alters DNA, though it also carries the risk of cancer. The treatment is irreversible and tests in the coming months will show if the therapy was successful.

With files from CBC News.

JAPAN – Japanese train departs 20 seconds early, prompts apology

A Tsukuba Express train which runs from Tokyo north to Tsukuba departed the Minami Nagareyama Station 20 seconds early last week leading the company’s management to issue an apology. The train was supposed to depart at 9:44:40 but instead left at 9:44:20 according to the rail company which stated it “sincerely apologise[d] for the inconvenience.” In a statement, the company explained the conductor did not correctly check the train’s timetable resulting in the train leaving early, though it also said there were no complaints received from riders. Train punctuality is important in Japan, once prompting a politician to forgo an election after causing delays on a bullet train.

With files from BBC News and National Post.

GERMANY – UN climate talks in Germany ends with unresolved issues

Delegates at climate talks in the German city of Bonn have made progress on “technical issues” around the operation of the Paris climate agreement, but the questions about reducing carbon emissions are still unresolved. This means that next year’s climate  conference in Poland will likely have the discussion on fossil fuels at the forefront. The conference next year is seen as critical to making the Paris Agreement work when it comes into force in 2020. The officials from countries most at risk were disappointed with the lack of consensus around funding to offset increasing losses. The Paris climate agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

With files from BBC News and CBC News.