In the news

Political disturbance and armed conflict in the Middle East since 2010 have had the unintended consequence of making the air cleaner.

Researchers say that in countries like Syria and Iraq, levels of air pollutants have fallen dramatically.

This new study used data from the spacecraft to see how economic, political and military activity has impacted levels of pollutants in and around the Middle East over the past decade.

Date: 2015-08-24

China plans to let its main state pension fund invest in the stock market for the first time, the country's official news agency, Xinhua, has reported.

Under the new rules, the fund will be allowed to invest up to 30% of its net assets in domestically-listed shares.

China's main pension fund holds 3.5tn yuan ($548bn; £349bn), Xinhua said.

The move is the latest attempt by the Chinese government to arrest the slide in the country's stock market.

Date: 2015-08-24

The Greek government has confirmed that banks will be closed all week, after a decision by the European Central Bank not to extend emergency funding.

In a decree, it cited the "extremely urgent" need to protect the financial system due to the lack of liquidity.

Cash withdrawals will be limited to €60 (£42; $66) a day for this period, the decree says.

Date: 2015-06-29

Revelations about the US National Security Agency's spying have provoked global outrage. But government snooping is nothing new.

Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote in his famous treatise The Art of War: "Enlightened rulers and good generals who are able to obtain intelligent agents as spies are certain for great achievements."

Date: 2015-06-24

Greece has a "political and moral duty" to reach an agreement with creditors over its debt crisis, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said. But he said Thursday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers was unlikely to bring an immediate solution. In return for more funding, creditors want further reforms from Greece. But the ruling Syriza party is resisting those demands and, with talks deadlocked, fears are growing that Greece may default on its debts.

Date: 2015-06-18

The scandal surrounding corruption within world football's governing body, Fifa, has focused fresh attention on the workers who have died building stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. The figure of 1,200 deaths is often cited. But it could be higher than that. Living and working conditions for many migrants in Qatar are appalling. Long hours in the blazing heat, low pay and squalid dormitories, are a daily ordeal for thousands - and they cannot leave without an exit visa.

Date: 2015-06-06
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