Eight things you need to know right now

The Syrian Government has approved humanitarian access to seven besieged areas. Photo / Getty Images
The Syrian Government has approved humanitarian access to seven besieged areas. Photo / Getty Images

Your wrap of the world stories that broke overnight.

1. The Syrian Government has approved humanitarian access to seven besieged areas where people are starving. The United Nations says aid convoys are being prepared.

2. The death of US Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia is becoming even more of a political circus, giving rise to conspiracy theories. A judge in Texas has ruled the justice died of natural causes and his family insisted on no autopsy. But presidential candidate Donald Trump described the circumstances as "unusual" while talking to conservative radio host Michael Savage who called for an autopsy. A former head of criminal investigations for the Washington police William Ritchie said he was stunned no autopsy was performed.

3. Prince William has made a speech which British media are interpreting as supporting Britain's role in the European Union. A referendum is expected to be held on the issue mid-year. Speaking at the Foreign Office, William said that Britain's tradition of international cooperation was essential to its security.

4. China is to relocate nearly 10,000 people to make way for a giant telescope with the aim of searching for intelligent life in the universe. The 500m-wide telescope in Guizhou is expected to be operational this year. People living within 5km will be relocated, receiving US$1800, to prevent interference with its electromagnetism.

5. Prosecutors in Germany say human error by a train controller was to blame for the train crash in Bavaria that killed 11. They say an area controller opened the rail track to two trains and tried to warn the drivers. The 39-year-old is expected to be charged with manslaughter.

6. Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died in a Cairo hospital aged 93. The Egyptian was the first Arab to hold the job but also the first to serve only one five-year term. He took office in 1992 and was criticised for the UN's failure to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He also opposed Nato's bombing campaign in Bosnia. During his time the number of peacekeeping missions rose.

7. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned by magistrates investigating a long-running scandal that false accounting allowed him to exceed spending limits in his 2012 campaign. Sarkozy is considered likely to run for president in 2017. It was not clear whether he would be charged.

8. The Guardian reports that a new map could provide directions for a virtual trip on Mars. Ordnance Survey is using Nasa data to create the map on Flickr covering seven per cent of the planet's surface.

- NZ Herald

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