Weekly news update. Weekly update just for you.



  1. China has launched three astronauts into orbit to begin work on the country’s new space station. The three men are going to spend three months aboard the Tianhe module some 380km above the Earth. It will be China’s longest crewed space mission to date and the first in nearly five years. The crew successfully docked with the space station just over seven hours after the launch.
  2. A diamond believed to be the third largest ever found has been put on display in Botswana. The stone weighs 1,098 carats was shown to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, two weeks after the diamond firm, Debswana, discovered it. The huge rock is slightly less heavy than the world’s second-largest diamond which was unearthed in Botswana in 2015. Botswana is the largest producer of diamonds in Africa.
  3. The International Energy Agency is predicting a major surge in CO2 emissions from energy this year, as the world recovers from the pandemic. Total energy emissions in 2021 will still be lower than in 2019, but CO2 will rise by the second largest annual amount recorded. The use of coal in Asia is expected to be key: global demand is up by 4.5%, taking it close to the global peak seen in 2014.. However, renewable energy is also booming, with green sources to supply 30% of the electricity this year.
  4. A red supergiant in the constellation of Orion, darkened in 2019, early 2020. This led many to speculate that it might explode. But a team using the Very Large Telescope in Chile says the cause was a giant dust cloud between us and the star. Close to Earth, relatively speaking, at a distance of about 550 light-years, Betelgeuse is what’s known as a semi-regular variable star. It naturally brightens and darkens over a period of roughly 400 days.
  5. The Paraceratherium linxiaense, lived 26.5 million years ago, weighed 21 tonnes, equivalent to four large African elephants. The creature’s head could reach 7m to graze treetops, making it taller than a giraffe. These findings were concluded from fossils discovered in Gansu Province. Published in Communications Biology, scientists stated that the analysis of the fossils found near a village in 2015 pointed to an entirely new species that was different to other known giant rhinos.
  6. Plastic from take-out and convenience food is littering rivers and oceans – but straws are not the worst offenders, according to a new study. Scientists analysed global inventories cataloguing more than 12 million pieces of litter found in and around rivers, oceans, shorelines and the seafloor. They found eight out of 10 items listed were made of plastic. And 44% of this plastic litter related to take-out food and drinks.

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