>Russia banned from Olympics
The World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, on Monday announced that it banned Russia from all major global sporting events for the next four years, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, after accusing Moscow of falsifying data from an anti-doping laboratory.
WADA said Russia has 21 days to appeal the ban. The Russian Olympic Committee called the sanctions "illogical and inappropriate".
Russia has consistently denied all the accusations and signaled that it will appeal the ban to a sports arbitration court.
Even if the bans are ultimately enforced, Russian athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under the Olympic flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".
>World's lightest dessert
Artisans at London-based design studio Bompass & Parr teamed up with scientists at the Aerogelex laboratory in Hamburg, Germany, to transfer the properties of the world's lightest solid material into an edible dessert.
With an air content of 95%-99.8%, aerogel is recognized as the lightest solid in the world, so it made sense for designers to try and emulate the making-of process of aerogel to create the world's lightest dessert.
They began by making a hydrogel of egg white that was then cast in a mold before being submerged in a bath of calcium chloride and water.
The liquid in the meringue gel was replaced with liquid carbon dioxide, which can be transformed into a gas in a process known as super-critical drying.
Finally, the gas is removed from the end product, leaving behind only the skeleton of the original gel.
In this particular case, the final product is a meringue dessert that consists of 96% air and weighs only one gram.
>CPI rises 4.5% in November
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.5% year-on-year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. The growth rate, which was up from 3.8% in October, was the highest so far this year.
Food prices grew 19.1% year-on-year last month, up from 15.5% in October, while non-food prices gained 1%, 0.1 percentage point higher than in October.
Pork prices rose 110.2% year–on-year last month, while vegetable prices saw a 3.9% increase from a year ago.
The CPI in urban and rural areas posted a year-on-year growth of 4.2% and 5.5%, respectively.
In the first 11 months of the year, consumer prices on average rose 2.8% from a year earlier, the bureau said.
>Volcanic eruption off NZ
A volcano off the New Zealand coast erupted Monday with a towering blast of ash and scalding steam as dozens of tourists were exploring its moon-like surface, killing five people and leaving eight others missing and feared dead, authorities said.
Helicopter crews landed on White Island despite the danger and helped evacuate the dozens of survivors, some of them critically injured.
Hours after the disaster, authorities said the site was still too dangerous for rescuers to search for the missing.
But aircraft flew over the island repeatedly, and "no signs of life have been seen at any point," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The missing and injured included New Zealanders and tourists from the US, China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia, the prime minister said.
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