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First cotton from far side of the moon displayed in China.

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A first ever sprout of cotton seeds on the far side of the moon.

According to China’s state television, photos sent back by its Chang’e -4 luna probe on Tuesday shows that cotton seeds carried by the probe have sprouted.

The Chang’e-4 project had officially shifted to the scientific exploration stage days before.



A team of scientists from the Chongqing University in southwest China sent a small biological payload aboard the probe, which landed on the lunar surface on Jan. 3.

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Weighing below three kilograms, the test payload includes six organisms including seeds of cotton, potatoes, Arabidopsis and rapeseeds, as well as fruit fly pupa and yeast.

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The latest photos show that the cotton shoots are growing well. This is the first plant shoot that grows on the moon after experiencing severe environmental tests such as low gravity, strong radiation and high temperature.

“Although it is a biological payload, it laid a foundation and technological support for our next step, that is, to build a lunar base for living,” said Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the biological experiment payload, Chang’e-4 lunar mission.
The screening of biological species in this experiment involves very strict requirements.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials also claim that due to the extreme conditions of the lunar surface, animals and plants should be able to withstand high temperatures, freezing cold, radiation and be anti-interference.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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