Chatter: Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Europe




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Need to know:

Aung San Suu Kyi will leave Myanmar for the first time in 24 years.

Suu Kyi, who is expected to visit the UK and Norway in June, spent years under house arrest until she was released in late 2010 as part of the country's continuing transition from military to civilian rule.

The Nobel laureate previously refused to leave Myanmar - even to visit her dying husband in England - for fear the ruling military junta would prevent her from returning home.

By agreeing to travel abroad, Suu Kyi, who recently won a seat in parliament, is showing her confidence in the country's political reform process under President Thein Sein, after nearly five decades of oppressive military control.

Want to know

India hopes to join a select group of countries with long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (no, not you North Korea). 

Indian defense officials are planning to test fire the locally developed Agni-V, which has a range of more than 3,000 miles - meaning it would be capable of carrying nuclear warheads as far as Beijing.

The Agni-V (Agni means "fire" in Hindi) is expected to be launched this week from the eastern state of Orissa.

Analysts say it will strengthen India's nuclear deterrence - provided, of course, the launch goes better than North Korea's embarrassing failure last week.

Dull but important:

NATO ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss how to fund security forces in Afghanistan once international troops have left - an increasingly pressing issue, as Australia pulls out a year ahead of schedule.

NATO has agreed to start handing over security to Afghan forces, leaving them in control from the end of 2014.

But a brazen series of co-ordinated attacks in Kabul on Sunday, that saw two Afghan soldiers killed along with 17 militants, highlights just how vulnerable the Afghan government and populace is. 

Just because:

The words “Spain” and “contagion” made history a century ago, when the Spanish flu spread around the world (as fans of Downton Abbey will recall). Spanish flu didn't start in Spain, but that's where the world realized how serious the outbreak had become.

Now, with Spain taking up a central position in Europe's economic crisis, surrounded by sickly economies, there is a clear analogy: Spain is the next country in the EU danger zone. Bond yields are rising to unsustainable levels, and unemployment is the highest in the euro zone.

Is the EU strong enough to save Spain from disaster, and stop the infection from spreading?

Strange but true:

A study at UK universities found a surprisingly simple way to improve marks: students who brought a bottle of water into the exam hall scored an average of 5 percent higher than those without water.

Researchers found that younger students who drank water could expect to see grades improve by up to 10 percent. 

It's not clear why staying hydrated during exams helps with performance, but scientists said water consumption might have a positive physiological effect on thinking functions - and it may also alleviate anxiety, which can negatively affect exam performance. So drink up.