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Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to developers of lithium-ion batteries

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John Goodenough of the US, Britain’s Stanley Whittingham and Japan’s Akira Yoshino Wednesday won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the development of lithium-ion batteries, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

“This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles…(and) can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society,” the Nobel Prize jury said.

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“Lithium batteries have revolutionized our lives since they first entered the market in 1991,” it said, adding they were “of the greatest benefit to humankind”.

The three will receive the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament.

Last year, the honor went to US scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter for developing enzymes used for greener and safer chemistry and antibody drugs with less side effects.

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Arnold was just the fifth woman to clinch chemistry’s most prestigious honour since Marie Curie was honored in 1911.

This year’s Nobel prize season kicked off on Monday with the Medicine Prize awarded to Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza, and Britain’s Peter Ratcliffe.

Peace Prize on Friday

They won for research into how human cells sense and adapt to changing oxygen levels, opening up new strategies to fight such diseases as cancer and anaemia.

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On Tuesday, the Physics Prize honoured Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles and Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for research on how the Universe evolved after the Big Bang, and the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system, known as an exoplanet.

The Literature Prize will follow on Thursday, with two laureates to be crowned after a sexual harassment scandal forced the Swedish Academy to postpone the 2018 award, for the first time in 70 years.

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Some names creating a buzz ahead of this year’s literature prize are Canadian poet Anne Carson, Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Romanian poet and novelist Mircea Cartarescu and Polish writer and activist Olga Tokarczuk.

On Friday the action moves to Norway where the Peace Prize is awarded, with bookies predicting a win for Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg on betting sites such as Ladbrokes.

The Economics Prize will wrap up the Nobel prize season on Monday, October 14.
(AFP)

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First test of Virgin Orbit rocket fails to accomplish goal

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The first test launch of a rocket that is released from a jumbo jet at 35,000 feet and then propels itself into orbit to deploy a satellite failed on Monday, the Virgin Orbit company said.

"The mission terminated shortly into the flight. Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base," Virgin Orbit's Twitter account reported as the test was underway off the coast of California.

The plane released the rocket cleanly, but the latter developed trouble of unknown origin after igniting its first-stage engine, the company said.

Founded by British billionaire Richard Branson in 2012, Virgin Orbit wants to offer a quick and flexible launch service for operators of small satellites, weighing between 300 and 500 kilos (600 to 1,00 pounds), a market which is currently booming.

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Trump adviser’s ‘repugnant’ lack of concern for human life slammed by ethics expert

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On Monday, President Donald Trump's economic adviser Kevin Hassett appeared on CNN to urge the economy to reopen, saying, "Our human capital stock is ready to go back to work."

White House adviser Kevin Hassett: "Our human capital stock is ready to go back to work." #HumanCapitalStock pic.twitter.com/Yl9KwJf6KP

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 25, 2020

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Trump uses Memorial Day to attack Biden and recycle old lies about his coronavirus response

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NYT: "At Least 430,000 People Have Arrived in the United States on Direct Flights From China"

President Donald Trump used the occasion of the Memorial Day holiday to recycle old, debunked lies about his likely Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

In a tweet Trump made several accusations, none of them are true.

Sleepy Joe Biden (mostly his reps.) went crazy when I banned, in late January, people coming in from China. He called me “xenophobic” & then went equally “nuts” when we let in 44,000 people - until he was told they were American citizens coming home. He later apologized!

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