Jade Rabbit awakes again
China’s troubled Jade Rabbit moon rover “woke up” again early on Friday, though the mechanical troubles that have plagued it remain unfixed, the government said. The rover, called Yutu (玉兔) in Chinese, turns dormant and stops sending signals
during the lunar night, two-week periods when the part of the moon’s surface it is on rotates away from the sun and temperatures turn extremely cold. The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said on its Web site that the rover “woke up” from its third such slumber at 6:42am Beijing time. Jade Rabbit experienced a “mechanical control abnormality” as the lunar night fell on Jan. 25, leading to fears in China it might never revive. To the country’s relief, it started sending signals again in the middle of last month.
Gunmen fire at checkpoint
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on an army police checkpoint on the outskirts of Cairo yesterday, killing six officers, state TV reported. A senior security source told state TV that two bombs found near the checkpoint had also been deactivated. The army blamed the attack on ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group, according to a military statement. There have been several militant attacks on security forces since the army overthrew Morsi in July last year and about 300 security officers have been killed. Analysts expect attacks on security forces to increase in the coming months when a presidential vote is due to take place.
Nazi soldier supporter fired
A government spokesman says the environment minister will be fired after he insisted on participating in annual commemorations of soldiers who fought in Nazi units during World War II. Einars Cilinskis, of the right-wing National Alliance, announced on Friday that he would attend today’s events in Riga, ignoring warnings from Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma. Straujuma had called on Cabinet ministers to stay away from the March 16 events, which are expected to prompt counter-protests from members of the Russian-speaking minority. Many people consider the Waffen SS veterans as heroes who fought for independence from the Soviet Union. Russians see the march as an attempt to glorify fascism.
Air quality risk to health
Air pollution in Paris has hit health-threatening levels over 80 percent higher than in London and Berlin as a sunny spell reaches western Europe, prompting the city to curb road speeds and offer free public transport. Charges were also waived for the city’s pioneering cycle and electric car-sharing schemes this week as a visible haze hung over the streets of the capital. European Environment Agency figures for Thursday showed there was 147 micrograms of particulate matter (PM) per cubic meter of air in Paris compared with 114 in Brussels, 104 in Amsterdam, 81 in Berlin and 79.7 in London. Background pollution — the outdoor air quality experienced by the average citizen — topped the 100 maximum measurable index level in Paris on Thursday, data from pollution watchdog airqualitynow.eu showed, making it the only European capital in the “very-high” level zone. The index stood at 81 in London, 76 in Berlin and 61 in Madrid.