News of the world December 4, 2015- December 10, 2015

011Researchers in China have unveiled a car that can be controlled simply by the mind, according to a Reuters report. A research team from Nankai University in Tianjin helped developed the car, which is the first of its kind. The car works by capturing EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from the driver’s brain. It comes with 16 sensors to convert these signals into commands to drive the car. The driver needs to wear brain signal-reading equipment following which one can control the car to go forward, backwards, come to a stop, lock and unlock vehicles without actually moving their hands or feet. It took two years for the researchers to develop the driverless car and was built with an initial idea of helping disabled people who are unable to drive.
— Reuters

 

012Thousands of people have been flooded out of their homes or left without power after Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in parts of the UK. In Cumbria and Lancashire more than 43,000 homes are suffering from power cuts, while an estimated 5,200 homes have been affected by flooding. The weather has claimed two lives in Cumbria and the Republic of Ireland. David Cameron said the flood defences in Cumbria ‘were not enough’ and some people might not be home for Christmas. Storm Desmond lashed parts of Northern Ireland, north Wales, southern Scotland and especially north-west England over the weekend, and more heavy rain is expected this week. Record-breaking amounts of rain fell in Cumbria, the worst-hit county – prompting the county to declare a major incident.
— BBC

 

013For the fourth straight year fewer Americans are struggling to pay medical bills, according to a major government survey released Tuesday. Most of the progress has come among low-income people and those with government coverage. The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of people in households that faced problems paying medical bills decreased by 12 million from the first half of 2011 through the first six months of this year. Most of the improvement happened in the last two years, coinciding with the big coverage expansion under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The results from the National Health Interview Survey are for people under age 65, since virtually all seniors are covered by Medicare.
— AP

014Only 30 per cent of Russian air strikes in Syria target the Islamic State group while the rest are against opposition forces not affiliated with the jihadists, a senior US official said on Wednesday. ‘The Russian air strikes in Syria, primarily, are not attacking (IS),’ Brett McGurk, US president Barack Obama’s special envoy for the international anti-IS coalition, told a news conference in Baghdad. Russia began carrying out strikes in Syria on September 30 in support of its longstanding ally president Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is locked in a civil war with fractious opposition forces. The conflict, which began in March 2011, has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced millions of others.
— AFP

 

015Much of the Chinese capital shut down Tuesday after Beijing’s city government issued its first red alert for pollution, closing schools and construction sites and restricting the number of cars on the road. Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection warned that severe pollution would affect the Chinese capital for several days, starting Tuesday morning. According to the US Embassy in Beijing, the air quality index stood at 250 Tuesday morning, classed as ‘very unhealthy’ and 10 times higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels.
— CNN