Some of the top news stories from around the world.
Beijing’s first red alert
A red alert over the smog levels in Beijing was called for the first time last week, closing schools, roads, and factories. The municipal air quality index rated “hazardous” by United States standards – a level at which people should not set foot outdoors. In the past, the government hesitated to call red alerts despite even more hazardous conditions, so many international organizations stated that this was a sign of changing attitudes amongst the Beijing authorities, according to the New York Times.
Trump calls for ban on Muslim travel into the United States
In a recent campaign press release, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslim travel into the U.S. The ban was suggested to be in place “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” according to the press release. Many of Trump’s prospective voters have taken to social media to stand behind this recent proposal.
Hidden portrait discovered underneath Mona Lisa
French scientist Pascal Cotte discovered a hidden portrait underneath the infamous DaVinci piece, the Mona Lisa. His digital reconstruction of this hidden portrait shows a woman who looks quite similar to the “Mona Lisa,” however, she doesn’t have her notorious smile or her eyes directed at the viewers. According to BBC, some art historians are calling for the renaming of the “Mona Lisa” in the wake of Cotte’s discoveries, considering it would nullify the common belief that Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, a merchant’s wife.
First test tube puppies are born
The first successful attempt to create puppies through in vitro fertilization came to fruition in July with the birth of seven “test tube” puppies – five of which were pure beagles and two of which were beagle-cocker spaniel mixes. The struggle to successfully perform a canine in vitro fertilization had been happening since the mid-1970s. Now, the pups are five months old and healthy, researchers say.
Taliban attacks in Kandahar
On Dec. 8, Kandahar Airfield, a major American military and intelligence operations base in Afghanistan, was attacked by Taliban suicide bombers. This was the third insurgent attack of the day in Kabul. Another 50 were killed in a Taliban attack at a market bazaar and a school near Kandahar airport, according to CNN.
Climate Conference held in Paris
Increased urgency and optimism has been marked at this year’s Climate Conference in Paris. More than 180 nations submitted plans explaining how they would address climate change in their own countries in the lead up to Paris, according to TIME. However, disagreements over key issues still remain, including questions about gathering the funds for the $100 billion aid promised to developing nations for climate change initiatives.