By: Nathaniel Tok

Baghdad hit by twin suicide bombings

Two suicide bombings occurred in Iraqi capital Baghdad on Monday, killing 38 people and causing tensions as the country prepares for national elections to be held in May.

The bombers hit the Tayran Square in the heart of the city during the early morning rush hour. The first bomber detonated his vest around 6 a.m. and the second detonated as people rushed to help the wounded. More than 100 people were injured.

No one has taken responsibility for the attacks. Violence reportedly rises during election season in Iraq since 2003 when Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

With files from The New York Times and AP News.

Children kept captive in California home

A California couple has been arrested after police rescued their 13 malnourished children who were kept chained in the house. Police were alerted after a 17-year-old girl escaped the house and contacted them.

The children ranged from two to 29 years old, six were minors and seven were over 18 years old. The couple was each charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment.

Neighbors were caught unaware by the events as the family was believed to be very private and avoided social contact. It is not known why the children were held captive.

With files from Reuters and AP News.


North and South Korea to form joint Olympic team

North and South Korea will form a joint Olympics team and march together at the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games under a “unification flag.”

The women’s ice hockey team representing both Koreas is the first time a joint team was created for both parties in one sport. North Korea will send 22 athletes, a cheering team, artistic troupes, and a delegation to the international sporting event being held in Pyeongchang in February.

The North’s Olympic delegation will cross by land to South Korea, the last time the land border road was open was in February 2016. This agreement was made following a third round of talks between North Korea and South Korea.

With files from Al Jazeera and AFP News.


‘Universal’ blood test for cancer being developed

A John Hopkins University team has developed a blood test method that could detect eight common forms of cancer.

Tumors release their mutated DNA and proteins into the bloodstream, allowing the blood test, CancerSEEK, to look for mutations in genes and proteins that arise in cancer. The test has been trialled with a 70% success rate on 1,005 patients with various forms of cancer.

Experts say that the tests were promising, but urged caution as more work needed to be done, especially for proving that the test is able to detect less advanced cancers and for use in screening the general population. CancerSEEK costs less than US$500.

With files from BBC News.