While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 14

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Guests await the beginning of a news conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at the Department of Energy headquarters to announce a breakthrough in fusion research on December 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. The officials announced that experiments at the National Ignition Facility at the LLNL achieved 'ignition,' where the fusion energy generated equals the laser energy that started the reaction for the first time ever, a major advancement that may produce bountiful clean energy in the future. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP) Getty Images via AFP

Nuclear fusion is here. Making it viable will take a while longer

After more than 50 years of false starts, nuclear fusion is finally taking a resolute step closer to becoming the world’s newest energy source.

The United States Department of Energy on Tuesday announced that scientists at a laboratory in California managed for the first time to generate more electricity from a fusion reaction than they needed to trigger it.

The historic breakthrough raises the prospect that someday – perhaps decades from now – the global economy will be run on carbon-free electricity generated by the very process that powers the sun and stars.

It is a stunning moment for a technology that has failed for nearly half a century, and it comes as leaders of the world’s 10 biggest economies and dozens of smaller countries have pledged to transition to clean energy sources.


European Parliament strips Eva Kaili of VP role

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The European Parliament removed Greek MEP Eva Kaili as a vice-president of the assembly on Tuesday, after she was accused of accepting bribes from Qatar in one of the biggest corruption scandals to hit Brussels.

Kaili has denied any wrongdoing, but European lawmakers have acted rapidly to isolate her, worrying that the Belgian investigation will badly dent the assembly’s efforts to present itself as a sound moral compass in a troubled world.

“There will be no sweeping under the carpet. Our internal investigation will look at what has happened and how our systems can be made more watertight,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said, as 625 MEPs voted to deprive Kaili of her VP role, with only one voting against and two abstaining.


French court convicts suspects in 2016 Nice terror attack

A French court on Tuesday ordered prison terms for eight suspects charged in the harrowing 2016 terror attack in Nice, where a suspected Islamist attacker ploughed his truck into a crowd celebrating the July 14 national holiday.

Two men were given the most severe sentences of 18 years behind bars for helping Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian resident, prepare an attack that killed 86 people and injured over 450 in a four-minute rampage on a seaside embankment in the southern city before being shot dead by police.

Judges determined that Mohamed Ghraieb and Chokri Chafroud must have known about the attacker’s turn to Islamist radicalism and his potential to carry out a terror attack, based on records of phone calls and text messages among the three in the days ahead of the massacre.


US inflation slows in November in smallest spike in year

US consumer inflation eased in November, according to government data released on Tuesday, bringing some relief to policymakers with the smallest annual increase in nearly a year.

Officials are closely eying the monthly inflation report for signs that painfully high consumer prices are definitively moderating at last, as surging costs of living force households to dip into their savings.

The consumer price index (CPI), a closely-watched measure of inflation, jumped 7.1 per cent from a year ago, down from 7.7 per cent in October, according to Labour Department figures.


World Cup: Alvarez, Messi steer Argentina past Croatia into final

Argentina’s Julian Alvarez scored twice and earned a penalty converted by Lionel Messi as they swept past Croatia 3-0 on Tuesday and into the World Cup final where they will face either holders France or Morocco at the weekend.

While all eyes were on Argentina captain Messi and his fifth bid to win the one major trophy eluding him, it was Alvarez who stole the show, earning the penalty and scoring once in each half including after a scintillating 50-metre run.

Messi put away the spot kick in the 34th minute, after Alvarez was brought down by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, to become his country’s all-time World Cup top scorer with 11 goals.


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