This week in the world: January 15, 2015

German newspaper attacked after publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Two men have been arrested in Hamburg, Germany in connection with an arson attack on the tabloid newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost that reprinted satirical cartoons from the French publication Charlie Hebdo. According to police, the assailants threw rocks and an incendiary device into the basement of the offices of Hamburger Morgenpost early on January 11th. The publication has confirmed that none were injured in the attack, but that some files were destroyed from the archives. While police cannot confirm that this crime is directly associated with the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, other German newspapers and magazines were placed under police protection after the attack.

NASA scientists develop volcano-diving robot

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California have developed a new robot designed to explore and record information within volcanoes. The robot was specifically designed to be able to withstand the extreme temperatures of fissures and craters within volcanoes that would prove inaccessible by mankind. Nicknamed “VolcanoBot1,” the robot completed its first mission in the inactive Kilauea volcano of Hawaii in May 2014. Carolyn Parcheta, a post-doctoral employee at the laboratory who contributed to the robot’s inception, believes that the information recovered by the missions will benefit knowledge of current volcanic processes on Earth, as well as in future NASA missions across the galaxy.

Grabar-Kitarovic becomes first woman president of Croatia

Securing 50.5% of the vote, opposition leader Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has been elected President of Croatia over incumbent Ivo Josipovic. Grabar-Kitarovic narrowly defeated Josipovic in the voting results, as Josipovic received 49.5% of the votes in a turnout of 58.9%. A former foreign minister and assistant to the NATO security general, Grabar-Kitarovic is a member of the Croatian Democratic Union. The presidency has been under power of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia member Josipovic since 2010. Under her new role, Grabar-Kitarovic will act as head of state and commander-in-chief of the Croatian armed forces during her five-year term. A parliamentary election is suspected likely to follow later in 2015 for the republic to elect a new prime minister and cabinet.

Nusra Front takes claim over suicide bombing in northern Lebanon

A suicide bomb attack in a small coffee shop in the Lebanese city of Tripoli has left at least seven dead and more than 30 injured after the blast took place on January 10th. The Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda, the Nusra Front, released a statement saying that the attack was in vengeance for the Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon, while sources confirm that two men from Tripoli orchestrated the attack. Tensions between the Alawite minority and Sunni Muslim majority have been rising over the past several years, intensified by the neighbouring Syrian crisis. The last outburst between Sunni militants and government troops struck in October 2014, when eleven soldiers, five civilians and two-dozen militants were killed in Tripoli.

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