This Week in the World

Antidepressants and bloodthinners shown to slow brain-tumour growth
On Sept. 24, the medical journal Cancer Cell published a report that shows tricyclic antidepressants can help limit the growth of cancerous brain tumors. This research – conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – showed that when given to lab mice, tricyclic antidepressants, in combination with blood thinners, caused brain cancer cells to self-destruct. The treatment slowed the process of tumor development, but it did not stop or reverse the effects. The institute says a whole host of secondary studies need to be completed before trials on humans will be considered.

Volkswagen under fire after diesel vehicle scandal
Sept. 26, Switzerland announced that it would be halting the sale of Volkswagen diesel vehicles. This decision followed the announcement that software within the vehicles allowed for pollution controls to be engaged in order to pass emissions tests and then turned off for everyday driving. This decision by the country came after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed that nearly half a million diesel Volkswagen vehicles in the U.S. were furnished with the software. It is estimated that the company will face up to $18 billion in fines.

Potential complete meltdown at Fukushima
Japanese researchers monitoring the Daiichi nuclear power plant since April have said Fukushima’s reactor number two could have suffered a complete meltdown. By monitoring muon particles in the reactors, the scientists suspect that there is a zero to 30 per cent of the original capacity of nuclear fuel left. The team did note, however, that more research needed to be conducted in order to determine if fuel had penetrated the reactor. Researchers at the University of Southern California are saying that the initial Fukushima disaster could have been preventable, as critical backup generators were installed in low-lying areas of the plant.

Hajj Stampede death toll rises
The annual Hajj, a yearly pilgrimage made by Muslim men, has seen a death toll of 769 – with another 934 wounded – as of Sept. 26. Approximately 300 Iranians remain unaccounted for. The deaths occurred as a result of a stampede. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded an investigation into the event during a United Nations speech. This was in response to the pardoning of Saudi Arabian authorities by the country’s grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz. Saudi Arabian Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said an investigation will be initiated.

French airstrikes on ISIS training camp
On Sept. 27 it was announced that an ISIS training camp in Syria’s Deir al-Zour was destroyed in a bombing raid. The raid was carried out by the French military, who joined the campaign after news that the group was training for attacks on Europe. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that the raid was an act of self defense and that France “will strike any time [their] national security is at stake.” This is the first air strike by France against ISIS in Syrian airspace, as the country had previously maintained to confine attacks to Iraqi airspace.

Super-typhoon Dujuan hits Taiwan
Dujuan super-typhoon hit Taiwan Monday, killing two and injuring hundreds.The storm began Monday, shutting down schools and the stock market as well as blocking roads due to flooding and mudslides. The high winds, torrential downpour and massive waves of the storm still leaves almost half a million people without electricity. More than 12,000 people were evacuated from their homes, with at least 3,000 in temporary shelters. The typhoon was intially forecasted as a super-typhoon, being downgraded to a moderate-typhoon while it moved across the island. It’s expected that the scope and radius will continue to weaken.

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