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Chatter: US drone strike kills top Pakistan Taliban leader

Mullah Nazir, a Taliban commander in Pakistan, is killed in a US drone attack, Myanmar's government admits to launching airstrikes against Kachin rebels, and meet Larry, the projectile-vomiting robot.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
                           
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Need to know:

A US drone attack in Pakistan has killed Mullah Nazir, a top Taliban commander.

He died along with at least five others including his deputy Ratta Khan in the attack late Wednesday in South Waziristan, intelligence sources said. Mullah Nazir, also known as Maulvi Nazir, is considered one of the most high-profile insurgents to be killed by drones.

In a separate drone strike in North Waziristan this morning, at least four people were killed. 

Pakistan has repeatedly condemned the American drone attacks as a violation of its sovereignty, and insists that most of the victims are civilians. 

Want to know:

Five men in India are to be charged with the kidnapping, gang rape and murder of a woman on a Delhi bus last month.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty. A sixth suspect is reported to be under 18, a juvenile under Indian law, and police have ordered a bone marrow test to verify his age.

The 23-year-old woman died on the weekend from injuries she sustained during the December 16 attack, an incident that sparked national outrage and brought the issue of women's safety in India into sharp relief.

Safety while traveling in cities has been an especially stubborn obstacle for women in India, as an increasing number of them join the workforce and are out later at night.

Dull but important:

Myanmar's government has admitted to launching airstrikes against Kachin rebels in the country's northern region, bordering China.

A statement from government leaders, broadcast on state television, contradicted earlier reports that the government army was not carrying out such strikes.

The United Nations voiced concern over rising violence in the 20-month conflict between rebels and government forces. In a statement a UN spokesman called on Myanmar authorities "to desist from any action that could endanger the lives of civilians living in the area or further intensify the conflict."

The strikes come after weeks of heavy fighting at outposts near the Kachin Independence Army headquarters on the Myanmar-China border.

Just because:

Switzerland is the best place in the world to be born in 2013, at least according to the Economist magazine.

The Economist Intelligence Unit used criteria including wealth, crime and trust in public institutions to determine the rankings.

The United States ranked 16th on the list, which was dominated by smaller economies mainly from Northern Europe as well as Asian city-states.

But despite being on top, Scandinavian countries lost points for their boring factor.

African, Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries were worst ranked, with Nigeria last on the 80-country list. 

Strange but true:

Meet Larry, the projectile-vomiting robot.

Larry's official title is the more dignified-sounding "humanoid simulated vomiting system," and scientists say he will help in their fight against the dreaded norovirus — one of the most infectious viruses in the world.

The robot is said to mimic a human by vomiting, helping scientists to learn how the norovirus spreads.

The BBC reported that Larry has proven the virus can spread up to 10 feet when traveling through the air via bile (and yes, there's video).

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-us-drone-strike-kills-top-pakistan-taliban-leader

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