Winter Olympics 2018

Blood test detects common cancers

BALTIMORE -- A blood test can detect the presence of eight common cancer types, long before symptoms of the disease arise. CancerSEEK detects tiny amounts of DNA and proteins released into the bloodstream from tumours.

In blood samples from 1,005 patients with eight types of tumours the test detected between 33% and 98% of cases, depending on the tumour type. The sensitivity was 69% or higher for ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, and oesophagal cancers -- all types that are difficult to detect early.

Russian doomsday torpedo confirmed

MILITARY -- A key U.S. nuclear weapons document confirms the existence of a Russian long-range nuclear torpedo capable of rendering large areas of enemy coastlines uninhabitable for generations.

Mutation lowers potency of flu vaccine

LONDON -- Genetic changes, known as antigenic drift, during vaccine production in chicken eggs resulted in flu shots that failed to protect against the H3N2 virus strain.

Trump’s first-year successes

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has presided over the most buoyant economic conditions of any recent U.S. president in his first year, but his unpopularity could prevent him from capitalising on it in November’s midterm election.

World’s most powerful rocket debut flight

CAPE CANAVERAL -- SpaceX is planning to attempt the first launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket around the end of this month. The long-delayed inaugural launch is a demonstration mission.

Turkey plans military offensive in Syria

CONFLICT -- A U.S. plan to form a 30,000-strong, Kurdish-led border security force in Syria has infuriated Ankara, which threatens to launch an offensive against Kurdish militia forces in Syria’s Afrin region.

Chinese investment in Pakistan

POLITICS -- Beijing’s investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has soared to $62bn since 2013, eclipsing the $33.9bn of U.S. military and economic aid to Pakistan in the last 15 years.

Philippines brace for Mayon volcano eruption

LEGAZPI -- Thousands of people have evacuated the area around the Philippines’ most active volcano as lava flowed down its crater in an eruption that scientists warn could turn explosive.

Carillion collapses after rescue talks fail

LONDON -- British construction giant Carillion has filed for liquidation. The company, which employs 43,000 people worldwide, has debt topping £900 million, and a pension deficit of £587 million.

U.S. travel warning to five Mexican states

MEXICO CITY -- Rampant crime and gang activity in Mexico prompted the U.S. State Department to issue its most stringent travel advisory, warning tourists to completely avoid five Mexican states.

Mar 4: Countdown to new Italian government

ITALY -- The general election will pit a centre-right coalition against populists and a divided left, with polls suggesting a hung parliament and prolonged uncertainty in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

Democrats seek candidate with charisma

WASHINGTON -- Democrats desperate to beat Donald Trump in 2020 are turning to celebrity power, with names touted including Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Elizabeth Warren, heroine of the liberal community.

President Trump’s first year in office

WASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump’s first year ends there is no Mexican wall, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Russia remains active.

North Korean defector numbers slump

NORTH KOREA -- Fewer than 100 North Koreans a month defected to South Korea in 2017, the lowest figure since 2001, as both Pyongyang and Beijing tighten controls on the movement of people.

Battle looms for rebel-held Syrian province

IDLIB -- Syrian government forces and allied militiamen are advancing on the largest remaining rebel-held territory, forcing thousands of civilians to flee toward the border with Turkey.

Will North Korea compete in Winter Olympics?

NORTH KOREA -- The reopening of a long-closed border hotline with Seoul has raised the possibility of North Korea sending a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

Mar 18: MotoGP World Championship 2018

MOTOGP -- The 2018 season once again commences in Qatar, ending in Valencia on Nov 18. Thailand’s Chang International Circuit has been added to the calendar, which this year will take in 19 road circuits.

Feb 3-Mar 17: Six Nations Championship 2018

RUGBY UNION -- The northern hemisphere’s premier tournament gets underway, with 2017 champions England aiming for a record third consecutive title, starting with Italy in Rome.

Feb 8-25: Over 200 Olympic medals to be won

PYEONGCHANG 2018 -- The Winter Olympic Games in South Korea will see 222 medals awarded, with Snowboard Big Air, Mixed Doubles Curling and the dramatic Mass Start Speed Skating among new events.

Jan 22-Nov 28: Copa Libertadores 2018

SOCCER -- South America’s premier club competition kicks off, with 19 teams facing play-off rounds for the final four coveted places in this season’s group stage, which begins on February 27.

Jan 12-28: Handball European Championships

HANDBALL -- The biennial EHF European Men’s Handball Championships take place in Croatia, with 16 teams competing to be crowned champions. Croatia open the tournament against Serbia in Split.

FIFA unveil World Cup match ball

SOCCER -- FIFA have unveiled the official match ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Adidas Telstar 2018, a modern interpretation of the iconic Telstar ball that featured in the 1970 and 1974 Finals.

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