The Euro continues to fall in Europe
Deflation continues within the Eurozone’s 19 countries. Prices are 0.6 percent lower than they were a year ago. Much of it has to do with the costs of energy and food. Disregarding energy and food prices, inflation continues at about 0.5 percent. During the week of Jan 19, the European Central Bank announced controversial plans to begin quantitative easing. Signs of deflation should support the ECB’s decision, economists say. The Eurozone’s financial instability has been troublesome for countries who peg their currencies to the Euro. Late last year, Switzerland introduced a negative interest rate and decoupled the franc from the Euro, allowing the franc to rise. During the week of January 26, 2015, Denmark’s Central Bank cut its interest rate twice to -0.5 percent. Denmark has no current plan to unpeg the krone from the Euro.
Russian and American break balloon record
Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia and Troy Bradley of the United States set a world record in a helium balloon. The two pilots set off from Japan on January 25 and landed in the sea off the Baja coast of Mexico. To break the record, the Two Eagles Balloon needed to stay aloft for about 138 hours, 45 minutes and travel about 5,260 miles. The team says that it had achieved “six days, 16 hours and 37 minutes” and 6,646 miles. The record must now be verified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
Italian scientists study chickens’ number sense
Italian scientists have found that chicks can understand numerical quantities. The paper, published in the journal “Science,” said that baby chickens map numbers spatially, similar to humans. Humans have a “mental number line,” in that when picturing the numbers 1 to 10, most place 1 on the left and 10 on the right. Newborn chicks also associate smaller amounts with the left, and larger amounts with the right.
Details of Australian hostage crisis revealed
Glebe Coroner’s Court in Sydney heard the details of how the Sydney Siege of December 15, 2014 ended. Coroner Jeremy Gormly SC told the court that hostage-taker Man Haron Monis shot the owner of the Lindt café, Tori Johnson, in the head. Seconds after the execution, police stormed the café, firing 22 shots. At least two police bullets or bullet fragments hit Monis in the head and killed him; 11 others hit his body. Police bullets or bullet fragments hit three of the hostages, including barrister Katrina Dawson, who died soon after from the wounds. Dawson “was struck by six fragments of a police bullet or bullets, which ricocheted from hard surfaces into her body,” said the coroner.