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Chatter: Bo Xilai wife trial ends just after 7 hours

Gu Kailai trial ends, Agent Orange clean-up in Vietnam, Mars rover discovery and Olympic erection scandal.
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Need to know:

The murder trial of Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, concluded today behind closed doors in the eastern city of Heifei. The blockbuster trial is expected to produce a murder conviction for the wife of the populist politician Bo Xilai, whose fall from grace has sent shockwaves through the communist party. Despite there not being a shred of evidence made public, Chinese state media has said that the allegations are "irrefutable and substantial."

Gu Kailai is accused of poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood with the help of the family's butler. The reasons behind the killing remain shady but reports say there were "economic disputes" that put the two at odds

Bo Xilai has so far not been charged but has been stripped of all his official positions. His supporters say that the trial is a sham in order to remove him from power.

Want to know:

The US and Vietnam announced yesterday that they would work together to begin a massive clean-up of Agent Orange. The toxic defoliant was used by the United States during the war in Vietnam and is estimated to have killed 400,000 Vietnamese and lead to half a million birth defects. The herbicide has also become a part of the food chain in Vietnam's forests causing deforestation and massive changes to the ecology in the region.

The clean-up will take about four years at a cost that is expected to reach $43 million. Though the move is welcome, some speculate that the US is using the aid to forge closer ties with Vietnam as disputes in the South China Sea heat up.

Dull but important:

NASA scientists are amazed at how similar Mars looks to the Mojave desert with rolling dry mountains and a thick, dusty haze. The rover has settled into the Gale crater and has been sending photos home that make pictures on your Blackberry look hi-res.
 
The photos suggest a gravel surface with a hard material just below. The rover is slowly making its way to Mt. Sharp - a hill in the middle of the crater that scientists believe has signs of past water flow.

Just because:

The Libyan interim National Transitional Council handed over power yesterday to the newly elected assembly in a historic transition of parliamentary authority. The change occurred almost a year after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. This marks the dissolution of the NTC, which was formed after the revolt.

The new body held its first meeting last night and is expected to choose a speaker this week. Despite the transition to the democratically-elected assembly, fighting is still commonplace among rebel groups all over Libya. There is also violence in the country's capital with a car bomb exploding this week in front of the offices of the military police.

Strange but true:

US bronze medallist rower, Henrik Rummel, is fending off allegations that he got a little too excited about his medal win while standing on the podium. Footage clearly shows the outline of his member through his tight shorts while he receives the medal with his team. After the incident Rummel told Gawker: "If I did have one, you can bet I would've tried harder to cover it up with the flowers."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-bo-xilai-wife-trial-begins-secret