Drone Champions League 2017

The drone race, Drone Champions League 2017, was held in Paris, France on June 4. Thirty-six drivers of 13 nationalities flew their drones through a tunnel under the Arc de Triomphe, followed by zipping them through an obstacle course on the Champs-Élysées (a total of 1 kilometer or 0.6 miles). The drones flew at speeds of over 100 km/h (60 mph). This is the first amongst 6 races that will be held around various cities in the globe. Flyduino KISS Racing Team was the winner.

Champs-Elysées is one of the most famous streets in Paris. At one end of the street is the Arc de Triomphe, a monument that honors soldiers who died for France.

Here is a video showing the race.

Image Credits: https://dcl.aero for the DCL Paris image, https://twitter.com/Anne_Hidalgo and https://dronefestival.paris for the drone racing image
Sources: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, https://dcl.aero, http://www.dailymail.co.uk, https://dronefestival.paris, http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com

Homo Sapiens – a new discovery

When did we humans first show up on the planet? Well, some scientists recently announced that we’ve been around on Earth longer than we had thought. Until now, most scientists believed that humans (Homo sapiens) started roaming the planet around 200,000 years ago in East Africa. However, new fossils and stone tools discovered in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, point to Homo sapiens showing up around 300,000 years ago. Not only that, Morocco is in North Africa, so we didn’t all come from just East Africa.

Here is a video about this story.

Going back in time, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans have all evolved from the same ancestors over 8 million years ago. Over time, these species separated. The hominins are the human ancestors and their relatives after they split from the rest of the apes which was around 6 to 7 million years ago. After the split, our ancestors started to learn how to walk on two feet, and by about 4 million years ago, they became 2-legged animals. Around 2.5 million years ago, they figured out how to make simple stone tools. Their bodies started looking more like ours. Their brains grew in size. A major discovery after that was being able to control fire which happened around a million years ago. We humans showed up around 300,000 years ago and are still going strong. Here is an interactive timeline showing human evolution.

Image Credits: http://www.eva.mpg.de for the skull image, phys.org and National Geographic for the image of the human evolution timeline
Sources: http://www.eva.mpg.de, France 24, http://humanorigins.si.edu, National Geographic, http://www.history.com

A couple of car races

Two of the world’s most prestigious automobile races were held on May 28. Takuma Sato, a 40-year-old Japanese, won the Indianapolis 500 (also known as the Indy 500) and Sebastian Vettel, a 29-year-old German (image), won the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monaco Grand Prix is a 160-mile (260-km) long race held in the streets of Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the Formula One (F1) series races. F1 consists of a series of races called Grand Prix held in different cities all over the world. The results of all the Grand Prix races are combined to determine the overall winner of the F1 World Drivers’ Championship. This year, there are going to be 20 Grand Prix races.

The Indy 500 was quite a close race! Sato won by 0.2011 seconds, making him the first Japanese driver to win the race. The Indy 500 is a 500-mile (800-km) long race held every year in the city of Indianapolis, United States. It is one of the oldest car races in the world and is often referred to as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. The first Indy 500 was held over 100 years ago in 1911. The Indy 500 has many traditions, but one very unique one is that the winner drinks milk after the race.

Did you know?

If you think Sato winning by 0.2011 seconds is close, this was the sixth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

Image Credits: https://twitter.com/HondaJP for Sato’s image, https://www.formula1.com for Vettel’s image
Sources: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, https://www.formula1.com

United States pulls out of the Paris Agreement

United States President Donald Trump recently announced that his country will pull out of The Paris Agreement. However, withdrawal from the deal will take a few years.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement was created to bring together all nations with a common goal of trying to fight climate change. The agreement was signed by 195 parties (193 countries, the European Union, and the Palestinian Authority). Only two nations were not part of it – Syria and Nicaragua. According to the agreement, each nation figures out what it should do to reduce its greenhouse emissions and its impact on global warming. Some of the developed countries, such as the United States, provide funds to the developing nations to help them reach their targets. Trump says that the agreement was unfair for the United States and the nation might join again under different terms.

Here is a video about the Paris Agreement, and another about Trump pulling out of the deal.

Did you know?

2016 was the hottest year ever recorded since record-keeping started in 1880. Sixteen of the seventeen warmest years that have ever been recorded have all occurred since 2001.

Image Credits: https://www.donaldjtrump.com for the image of Donald Trump
Sources: New York Times, Newsy, http://www.un.org, http://unfccc.int,  NOAA, Washington Post

Festival de Cannes 2017

The Festival de Cannes, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious film festivals, was held from May 17 to 28. The festival is held every year in the town of Cannes, France. Film celebrities from all over the world were in attendance. The highest award at the festival is the Palme d’Or (French for “Golden Palm”), which was awarded to the Swedish film “The Square”. An unofficial award is also given to the dog that has the best performance in a film. The award is called the Palm Dog. The winner this year was the poodle Bruno for his role in the American film “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).”

The Cannes film festival was first held 70 years ago, but that’s only about half as old as film-making itself. Photography, or the art of “still pictures” was invented in the 1820s. It was only in the 1890s that “moving pictures” were invented.

Eadweard Muybridge was a photographer who invented a device that influenced future inventions in movie projectors. He lived from 1830 to 1904. He was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States when he was a young man. He made a name for himself with his excellent photographs of some sites in California, USA.

Muybridge was hired by a businessman to settle a bet for him. The businessman had claimed that a horse actually lifts all four legs off the ground while galloping. Muybridge invented a technique of using several cameras to capture pictures of a galloping horse on a farm and was able to show that the businessman was right. Soon, Muybridge invented a device called a “zoopraxiscope” that could project a series of pictures and give the sense of motion.

The businessman whose bet Muybridge settled was a person called Leland Stanford, and the farm where he took his pictures is now home to Stanford University, California, USA.

Image Credits: http://www.festival-cannes.com for the Cannes film festival logo images, Stanford University for its logo
Sources: http://www.festival-cannes.com, http://ew.com, http://www.wildfilmhistory.org, https://www.britannica.com, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com, http://news.stanford.edu

Bombing in Manchester

On May 22, there was an explosion outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom. A 22-year-old British man blew up a bomb killing himself and 22 other people. More than 50 people were injured. The concert was over, and Grande had already left the stage when the bomb blast occurred. To show support to the United Kingdom, many countries lit up their landmarks in colors of the nation’s flag, known as the Union Jack.


The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. The IS is a group whose aim is to establish a state for Muslim people where strict Islamic law is followed. The group’s leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (image). He calls himself a spiritual leader of the Muslim people. The IS came out of another group in Iraq. It was well-funded and became very powerful. In 2014, the IS started taking over large parts of Iraq, and then moved on to take over parts of Syria. The group is known for being strict, harsh, and brutal. The IS has killed many people, including Muslims who don’t agree with its philosophy.


Ariana Grande (image) is a 23-year-old American singer and actress. She has cancelled her next shows which were to take place in London, the capital of the United Kingdom, and some other European cities. After the attack, she tweeted, “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”



Image Credits: http://www.imdb.com for the image of Grande, http://editorials.voa.gov for the image of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,
Sources: New York Times

Elections in Iran

Presidential elections were recently held in Iran. The current President Hassan Rouhani (image) won another term. He is 68 years old and has a degree in law. Rouhani has been the president since 2013. The President of Iran is the second-highest ranking official in the country. The highest is the country’s “Supreme Leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, since around 4000 BC. The country was known as Persia until 1935, and its official language is still called Persian. Tehran is the capital of Iran.


Did you know?

Have you read Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, or The Voyages of Sindbad, or Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves? They all come from The Arabian Nights (also known as One Thousand and One Nights) – a collection of stories that include Persian, Arabian, and Indian tales from centuries ago.

Image Credits: http://www.president.ir for President Rouhani’s image, read.gov for The Arabian Nights’ image
Sources: BBC, http://www.pbs.org, http://www.president.ir, https://www.britannica.com, CIA World Factbook

The king secretly flies planes!

The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, recently disclosed a secret. He has been working as a co-pilot on commercial flights for 21 years. He worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the national airlines of the Netherlands. He flew planes with passengers twice a month, while the passengers had no idea that royalty was in the cockpit. Here is a video about it.


Willem-Alexander became king in 2013 when his mother stepped down as the queen of the Netherlands to pass on the monarchy to him. King Willem-Alexander was the first male monarch of the Netherlands in over a hundred years. The last Dutch king died in 1890 – it had just been queens ever since. The king is 50 years old and has three daughters. Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal family.


The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four parts within it – Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten, and the Netherlands. The head of the government of the country is not the monarch, but the prime minister. The current prime minister is Mark Rutte.

The Netherlands causes confusion with its various names. It is often called Holland, which is a part of the Netherlands, but is sometimes used to refer to the country as well. The people of the Netherlands are called by a name that doesn’t resemble the name of the country at all – the Dutch. When you think about the Netherlands, some things that pop up are tulips, windmills, canals, wooden shoes, cheese, cyclists, and the painter Vincent van Gogh.

Did you know?

If you feel short in the Netherlands, there is a reason. On average, the Dutch are the tallest people in the world.

Image Credits: https://twitter.com/KLM for the image of King Willem-Alexander, https://www.royal-house.nl for the image of King Willem-Alexander and his family.
Sources: CNN, http://www.telegraaf.nl, https://www.royal-house.nl, http://www.telegraph.co.uk, http://www.dutchamsterdam.nl, CIA WorldFactbook

Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship

On May 21, Sweden won the 2017 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship defeating Canada. It was a very exciting game. The two countries were tied at 1-1, and the game went to overtime. Still a tie, and the game had to go to a shootout. Final score was 2-1.

Sixteen countries participated in the Championship games which were held in Germany and France. The tournament is held annually. Ice hockey is believed to have originated in Canada in the mid-1800s. You can watch Sweden’s march to the gold here.

Image Credits: http://www.iihfworlds2017.com and Andre Ringuette/HHOF for Sweden’s Ice Hockey team image
Sources: http://www.iihfworlds2017.com, http://www.iihf.com

Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest, an annual song competition for countries that are active members of the European Broadcasting Union, was recently held. This year, the contest took place in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. 42 countries participated. The winning song was “Amar pelos dois”, performed by Salvador Sobral for the country Portugal. This was Portugal’s first win ever. The song was in Portuguese.



Eurovision is one of the world’s largest and oldest music competitions. It started in 1956, and has been broadcast on TV every year since, making it one of the longest running television shows in the world. The participants can sing in any language they wish. The contest is held in the country of the previous year’s winner. Therefore, next year’s Eurovision will be held in Portugal.


Some of Eurovision’s contestants have gone on to become quite famous. ABBA (image) from Sweden (the 1974 winner), Céline Dion from Canada (the 1988 winner where she represented Switzerland), and Julio Iglesias from Spain (a 1970 participant) are some examples.

You can watch the winning song and Céline Dion’s winning song here.


Did you know?

Belgium’s song entries in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003 and 2008 were in made-up languages.

Did you know?

The website for Eurovision is http://eurovision.tv. The “.tv” is the country Tuvalu’s Internet domain. It was sought by many TV stations across the world. In 2000, Tuvalu’s government leased its .tv domain to an American company in return for money.

Image Credits: https://twitter.com/Eurovision for Sobral’d image, https://eurovision.tv for Eurovision’s logo image, AVRO for ABBA’s image
Sources: https://eurovision.tv, https://twitter.com/Eurovision, http://www.xpats.com, http://metro.co.uk