By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate 


Stephen Hawking dies at age 76

Stephen Hawking, world famous physicist, died peacefully at 76 years of age in the city of Cambridge where his former college honored him with its flag at half mast. Hawking had been diagnosed with wasting motor neurone disease at age 21 and remained wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. He was involved in research about space, relativity, and sub-molecular quantum theory. Hawking was also known for his bestseller, A Brief History of Time. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” said his children in a statement released following his death.

With files from Reuters.


Everest clean-up campaign begins

A clean-up campaign to airlift 100 tonnes of garbage at Mount Everest has begun. On the first day of the campaign, 1,200 kg of rubbish was collected and flown to be recycled in Kathmandu in Nepal. The campaign is focused on items that can be recycled with local guides, or Sherpas collecting the waste and the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee coordinating the effort. Much of the garbage consists of empty beer and food containers, old trekking tools, and oxygen bottles. Along with the garbage, clean-up crews will have to deal with human biological waste, which had become a health hazard in 2015. Over 100,000 people visited Everest in 2017.

With files from BBC News.


Canada to send troops to Mali

Canada will deploy soldiers and helicopters to Mali for approximately a year as part of a UN peacekeeping mission. Through a direct request, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UN have asked Canada to send peacekeepers to take over for a German transport and medical team. Up to 162 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali since 2013, making the region the most deadly for peacekeepers. It is not clear how many soldiers Canada will send to Mali, but government officials report that a commitment to rotate Canadian troops out of Mali after a year of service has been guaranteed. Canadian peacekeeping was a key promise made by the Liberal government.

With files from CBC News and Deutsche Welle.


African countries sign huge trade deal

African officials signed the biggest free trade deal since the beginning of the World Trade Organization, which creates an African market of 1.2 billion people involving a gross domestic product of over $3.4 trillion. The aim of the deal was to boost trade within the continent and to decrease the export of commodities which can have volatile market prices. The deal is to be active by the end of 2018, but the number of countries required to make the deal is still undetermined. Concerns remain due to Africa’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, not yet signing the deal, and the possibility of citizens from the poorer nations migrating to the larger economies.

With files from AP News.