Science 

Michael Gove's green makeover is promising, but not the revolution we need

Many of us who care for the natural world were deeply concerned when Michael Gove became environment secretary in June. Few in the teaching profession have anything positive to say about his time as education secretary, while many feared he saw the post merely as a stepping stone to revive his career – rather than an opportunity to pursue a great personal passion for the environment. But, after six months in the job, there are encouraging signs that those grave misgivings may have been misplaced. Already there has been positive…

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Science 

Chile Has Elected Former President Sebastian Pinera in a Return to the Right

The former airline magnate previously governed Chile from 2010 to 2014 More (SANTIAGO, Chile) — Billionaire former president Sebastian Pinera easily won Chile’s presidential runoff election Sunday, moving the world’s top copper-producing country back to the right in the footsteps of other Latin American nations. Pinera got 54.6 percent of the votes to 45.4 percent for center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, with nearly all the ballots counted. Analysts had expected a much closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the campaign for several weeks. Guillier conceded a…

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Top Stories World 

Guatemala’s trans indigenous beauty pageant is about more than just a pretty face

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE Aquetzali B’e Noj, a 26-year-old drag queen from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, wears a long skirt and a woven huipil, a blouse typical in Guatemala’s indigenous communities. For her, drag is a way to express her identity. Being indigenous, or native Guatemalan, is a major part of that. “I choose to wear my typical indigenous clothing when in drag to show that it’s not bad to do so. I’m not doing it to make fun…

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Lifestyle 

Hampshire district crowned best place to live in the UK for fifth time running

Even the weather in Hart, north-east Hampshire, is better according to the Halifax annual quality of life survey. The region, centred around the town of Fleet, is described as “a step back in time”. It has 84 square miles of woodland and the county’s largest freshwater lake. Residents of the area enjoy better health, longer lives, higher earnings and a lower crime rate than most of the rest of the country. Its villages include Church Crookham, dating back to the Domesday Book, Hartley Wintney through which the River Hart flows,…

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Space 

SpaceIL making final fundraising push for lunar lander mission

WASHINGTON — SpaceIL, the Israeli team in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, says it needs to raise $7.5 million in less than a week in order to complete its lander and retain its launch contract. The nonprofit organization says it has identified $22.5 million of the $30 million of total funding it needs to raise to complete and launch its lunar lander in the form of matching funds, but those funds are contingent on raising $7.5 million by Dec. 20, the end of the Hanukkah holiday. “We’ve made good…

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Top Stories World 

Merkel tries to cling to power as coalition talks STALL

The German Chancellor is desperately trying to cling to power and has admitted she wants to reignite the grand coalition with the SPD.  But Mrs Merkel has been weakened by heavy election losses to the far-right and then by the collapse last month of talks on a three-way alliance. Now Mrs Merkel is pinning her hopes on the SPD for a fourth term as chancellor and to avoid new elections. In a major blow, the SPD said its wants to take a further two days to decide if they even…

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Science 

The Biggest Controversies From Betsy DeVos' First Year

From school choice to campus sexual assault More Before she was even sworn in as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos emerged as one of the most controversial members of the Trump Administration. Her confirmation required a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after every Senate Democrat and two Senate Republicans voted against her. In the months since, like many others in the Trump Administration, DeVos has set about rolling back Obama-era policies, from Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault to regulations on for-profit colleges. She quickly found support…

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Top Stories World 

Putin’s TAKEOVER: Russia expands naval base in Syria as Moscow eyes Middle East and Africa

The plans for the base at Tartus on the coast of Syria would allow the facility to accommodate bigger warships. Currently the base is classed as a ‘repair and replenishment’ facility and can only deal with four vessels at any one time. But dredging work and new piers would make space for up to 11 warships, as well as Russia’s largest battlecruiser, the nuclear-powered Pyotr Velikiy. Tartus is Moscow’s only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union, and the warm waters of the Mediterranean would give Russian ships access…

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Space 

Blue Origin flies next-generation New Shepard vehicle

NEW ORLEANS — Blue Origin said it carried out a successful test flight of a new version of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle Dec. 12. In a statement issued about 11 hours after the flight, the company said that the “Mission 7” suborbital test flight of New Shepard, using a new propulsion module and crew capsule, went as planned. “Today’s flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success,” Bob Smith, chief executive of Blue Origin, said in a statement. “It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation Crew Capsule as…

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Top Stories World 

School CANCELS Christmas service so non-Christians are protected from ‘preaching’

The traditional service was cancelled because not all their pupils are Christians, the primary school revealed. The head teacher of Gribskolen, Marianne Vederso Schmidt, said: “We took the decision because we have children who are not Protestant.” In a post informing people of the decision, Ms Schmidt suggested that the decision may have been overdue with education laws banning “preaching” in schools. Gribskolen is a primary school in the Danish town of Graested, which is the hometown of the Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, whose centre-right coalition has rallied against…

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