By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate 


Europe colder than the Arctic

Europe is being engulfed by a cold spell, seeing temperatures plummet and leaving cities scrambling to shelter the homeless from the freezing weather, while places north of the Arctic Circle are seeing warm winters. Temperatures in Britain reached lows of negative five degrees Celsius while Northern Greenland had highs of six degrees Celsius. Scientists believe the warmer Arctic winters are part of a trend connected to colder European weather. Storms that increase temperatures in the Arctic by blowing in warm air from the Atlantic in turn weaken the “polar vortex” that keeps cold air in the Arctic, which can blow over Europe, causing the cooling. Scientists fear that future warm weather trends will melt the polar ice caps, flooding coastlines.

With files from The Toronto Star.


Afghan president offers talks to Taliban

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is seeking dialogue with the Taliban “without preconditions” in exchange for the Taliban recognizing the Afghan government and obeying the law. The group has refused to talk to the Afghan government in the past, seeking only direct talks with the US. Ghani’s previous peace offers with the group did not stop Taliban attacks, but he now offers the possibility of recognizing the Taliban as a legitimate political party. The offer for talks arrive as fighting intensifies and America increases its assistance to the Afghan government. Ten of thousands have died since the war began in 2001.

With files from BBC News.


IOC removes ban from Russia

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has removed its ban against Russia after the country was prohibited from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics over doping. The statement from the IOC confirmed that two Russian Olympians tested positive for doping, but after no further failed drug tests, the ban on the Russia Olympic Committee could be lifted. 168 Russian athletes competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics as “neutrals” and could not display national colours or the Russian flag.

With files from The Guardian.


Scientists find huge penguin colony on Antarctic islands


A colony of over 1.5 million Adelie penguins have been found by NASA satellites in the remote Danger Islands on the northern tip of the Antarctic. The area is treacherous for humans to visit even in the summer, and the penguins were only spotted after significant patches of excrement was detected in satellite images. Using drones and Deep Neural Networks, an estimate was produced for the number of penguins. Adelie penguins numbers are falling in the other areas of the Antarctic due to the polar ice melting from climate change. Ecologists are now looking to investigate the reason why the Adelie penguin population has remained uncharacteristically stable.

With files from CTV News.