US defence chief Mattis visiting South Korea and Japan

US defence secretary James Mattis is in South Korea on the first foreign trip by a senior official in the Trump administration. Mr Mattis is expected to use the visit to reassure Seoul of continuing US commitment to security deals in the face of threats from North Korea. While campaigning, Donald Trump accused South Korea…

Ants use Sun and memories to navigate

Ants are even more impressive at navigating than we thought. Scientists say they can follow a compass route, regardless of the direction in which they are facing. It is the equivalent of trying to find your way home while walking backwards or even spinning round and round. Experiments suggest ants keep to the right path…

Gambia crisis: Jammeh given last chance to resign as troops close in

West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh a final opportunity to relinquish power after Senegalese troops entered The Gambia. Mr Jammeh has been given until noon on Friday to leave office or be forced out by UN-backed regional forces. Troops have been told to halt their advance until the deadline passes. The Economic Community of…

Donald Trump’s mother: From a Scottish island to New York’s elite

Image copyrightMIRRORPIXImage captionBy 1934 Mary Anne MacLeod had become a glamorous New Yorker. This photo, was taken on the steps of a Long Island swimming pool Donald Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born and brought up on the Hebridean island of Lewis but emigrated to New York to live a very different life. Mary…

Cobra fang club: The rising popularity of Kenyan snake farms

When Makau Kioko crouches down to grab an Egyptian cobra the visiting audience always watches on with trepidation. If the 53-year-old gets his timing wrong – and he is playing with split seconds – he is going to get bitten by one of Africa’s most venomous snakes. Mr Kioko wears protective gloves for his regular…

Warming world harming insects’ reproduction, says study

A warming world harms insects’ ability to reproduce, which could have long-term consequences, scientists warn. UK researchers also found that insects in northern latitudes were more vulnerable than their southern-dwelling cousins. The team added that many insects were unable to move great distances while they are juveniles. Therefore, they are at risk from a warming…

Kabul bombings: Dozens dead after twin blasts near Afghan parliament

Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionIt was the deadliest attack in Kabul for several months At least 30 people have been killed and 80 wounded in twin bombings near the Afghan parliament in the capital Kabul. The blasts, part of a wave of attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, took place during rush hour as staff were leaving the…

Jeff Sessions, US attorney general nominee, denies KKK sympathies

Media captionLive: Senator Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing Trump elected Ethics concerns swirl around Trump team What do the Trump tweets reveal? When presidents and spies fall out Full coverage President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be the new attorney general has denied sympathising with the Ku Klux Klan, in a tough Senate confirmation hearing. Alabama Senator…

CYGNSS Hurricane Mission Measures “First Light” Science Data

NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) constellation of eight spacecraft made its “first light” measurements of the ocean surface on Jan. 4, 2017. Measurements were made by one of the eight spacecraft, and mission scientists plan to activate the science instruments on the other seven in the near future. Direct measurements are made of…

Iran’s ex-President Rafsanjani dies at 82

Iran’s ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a dominant figure in the country’s politics since the 1980s, has died at the age of 82, media say. Mr Rafsanjani had suffered a heart attack, the reports said. He served as president from 1989 to 1997 but lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he ran again in 2005. Although…

Deadly icy spell grips much of Europe, including Greek islands

Image copyrightEPAImage captionSnow falling in the Greek city of Argos Icy temperatures across Europe have left more than 20 people dead and blanketed even the Greek islands and southern Italy in snow. Italy saw ferries and flights cancelled and schools in the south are expected to close on Monday. Turkey has also been badly affected….