While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 3 edition

North Korea confirms imminent satellite launch

North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it was planning an imminent space rocket launch – a move the US immediately condemned as “another egregious violation” of UN resolutions following Pyongyang’s nuclear test last month.

The North sent formal notifications to three UN agencies, including the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), of its intention to launch an earth observation satellite between Feb 8 and 25.

The United States, which has been spearheading a diplomatic drive for harsher, more effective sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test, condemned the launch plan.


Razor-thin victory of 0.2 percentage point for Clinton in Iowa

Hillary Clinton won a razor-thin victory over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses that kicked off the 2016 US presidential race, Democratic party results showed on Tuesday.

With 100 per cent of precincts reporting, Clinton took 49.8 per cent, against 49.6 per cent for the Vermont senator, her sole remaining challenger for the Democratic nomination.

State Democratic party chair Andy McGuire called the results “the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history” in a statement announcing the final tally.


UN ready to irradiate mosquito sperm to combat Zika virus

A new method to render male mosquitoes infertile by nuclear radiation could help reduce populations of the insect carrying the Zika virus that is linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, the UN atomic agency said on Tuesday.

Experts from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency are to meet Brazilian officials on Feb 16 to discuss how best to roll out the so-called Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) in the host country of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"If Brazil released a huge number of sterile males, it would take a few months to reduce the population, (but) it has to be combined with other methods," IAEA Deputy Director General Aldo Malavasi told reporters.


Metro Holdings group managing director, Jopie Ong, dies

The group managing director of retailer and property firm Metro Holdings, Mr Jopie Ong Hie Koan, died on Tuesday  night.

Mr Ong, who was in his 70s, had helmed Metro Holdings since 1973.

He was the son of the late Ong Tjoe Kim, who founded the Metro chain of department stores. He was also a member of the nominating and investment committees.


Genes show why bedbugs are tough suckers to kill

Bedbugs, the notorious bloodthirsty critters which tormented the residents of New York City some years ago, have become genetically wired to resist pesticides, experts said on Tuesday.

In a pair of studies published in the science journal Nature Communications, researchers described how bedbug genes have evolved to fight off the most common chemicals used against them.

The teams trawled the DNA of the common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, found in temperate climates in the United States and parts of Europe.