Category Archives: World

World News

NASA picks 6 companies to build deep-space habitats

NASA has selected six US companies to develop deep-space-habitat prototypes.

Straight out of a science-fiction story, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants to build a safe place for humans to live as we spread beyond Earth.

“NASA is on an ambitious expansion of human spaceflight, including the Journey to Mars, and we’re utilizing the innovation, skill, and knowledge of both the government and private sectors,” Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems, said in a statement.

The selected partners are:

— Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, Nev.
— Boeing of Pasadena, Texas
— Lockheed Martin of Denver, Colo.
— Orbital ATK of Dulles, Va.
— Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems of Louisville, Colo.
— NanoRocks of Webster, Texas

Each company has up to 24 months to develop ground prototypes and/or conduct concept studies. The models will be used to support integrated systems testing, human factors, and operations testing, as well as help define overall system functionality.

NASA intends to spend an estimated $65 million in contract awards, covering work in 2016 and 2017.

“The next human exploration capabilities needed beyond the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule are deep space, long-duration habitation and in-space propulsion,” Crusan said. “We are no adding focus and specifics on the deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth.”

Last week, NASA celebrated the Mars Rover’s fourth anniversary with an online game, cleverly called “Mars Rover Game.” Available to play via the Web or on an Android or iOS handset, the free title lets users control the Rover, gaining points for every resource you scan on the Red Planet.

By pcmag.com

Parents of Two Benghazi Victims Sue Hillary Clinton

Parents of two of the four Americans who were killed in the Benghazi attack in 2012 filed have a lawsuit Monday against Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, alleging recklessly handling of classified information contributed to their deaths.

The case has been filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch USA on behalf of Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, for allegedly wrongfully causing the death of their sons as well as for defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit suggests that Clinton’s use of a private email server contributed to the deaths of Smith and Woods, adding that terrorists were able to “obtain the whereabouts of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and thus the U.S. State Department and covert and other government operations in Benghazi, Libya and subsequently orchestrate, plan, and execute the now infamous September 11, 2012 attack.”

“Having used a secret private email server that we now know was used to communicate with Ambassador Christopher Stevens with confidential and classified government information, and which we also now know was likely hacked by hostile adversaries such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea aligning with terrorist groups, it is clear that Hillary Clinton allegedly negligently and recklessly gave up the classified location of the plaintiffs’ sons, resulting in a deadly terrorist attack that took their lives,” Klayman said in a statement announcing the suit.

In addition to the wrongful death and negligence charges named in the suit, the parents also claim that Clinton defamed them in statements to the media, according to court documents.

“During her campaign for President, Defendant Clinton has negligently, recklessly, and/or maliciously defamed Plaintiffs by either directly calling them liars, or by strongly implying that they are liars, in order to protect and enhance her public image and intimidate and emotionally harm and silence them to not speak up about the Benghazi attack on at least four separate occasions,” Klayman wrote in his complaint.

NASA and Curiosity Celebrate Four Years On Mars

Four years ago today, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity made one of the most dramatic and technical landings in the history of space exploration.

On the night of August 5, 2012, a rocket powered sky crane lowered the car size Curiosity onto the Mars red dirt using cables, then flew off and intentionally crash-landed a safe distance away.

Curiosity team members had modeled this novel technique repeatedly using computers, but it had never been tested fully here on Earth, let alone employed on the surface of another world.

Still, everything worked perfectly at crunch time, and Curiosity soon began exploring the interior of Mars’ 96-mile-wide Gale Crater. The discoveries came fast: The rover found that the area near its landing site harbored a lake-and-stream system long ago, showing that at least some parts of the Red Planet could have supported microbial life in the ancient past.

“It was just an early home run that kind of took the pressure off, and allowed us to expand on that [discovery] for the next few years,” Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, told the media.

Judge Says Amina Al-Jeffery Must Be Allowed To Return Home

Amina Al-Jeffery, the Swansea woman who claims her father has kept her locked up against her will in Saudi Arabia must be allowed to return to Britain, a judge has ruled.

Amina Al-Jeffery, 21, who was born and brought up in the UK, was taken to Jeddah in 2012 by her father, Mohammed, who said he did it to “save her life”.

Mohammed Al-Jeffery has denied the allegations at the High Court.

But Justice Holman said she had been “deprived of her liberty” and her father must facilitate her return.

Mohammed Al-Jeffery, who has dual nationality, says her father took the action against her will after she “kissed a guy”.

Delivering the court order, Justice Holman said Mohammed Al-Jeffery “must permit and facilitate the return of Amina if she so wishes to Wales or England and pay the airfare” by 11 September.

The judge said the fact that Amina Al-Jeffery was born and brought up in Britain until she was almost 17 was a “very significant factor”.

Her lawyer, Anne-Marie Hutchinson QC, said she has been unable to take instruction from Amina Al-Jeffery, who sent her emails in December 2015.

The case is being heard at the Family Division of the High Court in London

She said she had been “physically abused” and there were times when she had not been allowed to leave her room, meaning she had to use it as a toilet.

She described having her head smacked against the wall.

Mohammed Al-Jeffery denied his daughter wanted to return to England or Wales.

He said he put up a barrier partition to stop her running away because he was concerned for her welfare, which was taken down on the advice of the authorities.

He said he wanted to make sure Amina Al-Jeffery was safe and not being mistreated.

The court was told that in April he instigated legal proceedings against his daughter in Jeddah “seeking parental control over his child for the purposes of caring and supervision”.

However, legal documentation said the “two parties agree to a reconciliation”.

But Justice Holman said that meant if “she were to run away the police, far from offering her protection from her father, would put her in prison”.

Justice Holman said: “If Amina chooses to remain voluntarily in Saudi Arabia she must of course adhere to the law and culture of that society but the current constraint is denying to her the ability to be British and to live in Britain.

“It is true that she is currently present and habitually resident in Saudi Arabia, but that is due to her obedience to her father in 2012. She did not travel there of her own free will.”

He said Mohammed Al-Jeffery “voluntarily chose to live for many years in Wales, to education and bring his children up here… and to accept the constraints of the legal system of England and Wales”.

The court was told Mohammed Al-Jeffery’s wife, from whom he is not estranged, and several of his children continue to live in the UK.

Swansea West MP Geraint Davies has written to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to demand immediate action over the case.

The former Swansea schoolgirl has been in touch with friends in the UK and asked them to contact the British Embassy to inform them of her situation, and has also sent a picture of what she claimed was the caged room her father had kept her in.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We are providing assistance to a woman in Saudi Arabia.

“This has included visiting her and assisting her to speak to her lawyers in the UK as part of an ongoing legal process.”

$400 Million Airlifted by US to Iran as Detained Americans Released

The U.S. government airlifted the equivalent of $400 million to Iran this past January, which occurred as four detained Americans were released by Tehran.

The cash flown to Iran consisted of euros, Swiss francs, and other currencies because U.S. law forbids transacting American dollars with Iran.

The cash transfer was supposed to be the first installment paid in a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a failed 1979 arms deal dating from just before the Iranian Revolution.

State Department spokesman John Kirby denied the cash transfer was done to secure the release of the four Americans, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine; Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose case had not been publicized before the release.

“The negotiations over the arms deal settlement and were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” Kirby said in a statement. “Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side.”

“The funds that were transferred to Iran were related solely to the settlement of a long-standing claim at the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal at The Hague,” Kirby’s statement concluded.

Since the cash was airlifted, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. Tehran has also detained dual-nationals from France, Canada and the U.K. in recent months.

“Paying ransom to kidnappers puts Americans even more at risk,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said in a statement. “While Americans were relieved by Iran’s overdue release of illegally imprisoned American hostages, the White House’s policy of appeasement has led Iran to illegally seize more American hostages.”

Barack Obama Will Announce His Supreme Court Nomination Today

Today, I will announce the person whom I believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

As President, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a Justice and one of the most important decisions that I — or any president — will make.

I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time and deliberation to this decision. I’ve consulted with legal experts and people across the political spectrum, both inside and outside government. And we’ve reached out to every member of the Senate, who each have a responsibility to do their job and take this nomination just as seriously.

Please join me in the Rose Garden at 11:00am Eastern for my announcement.

This is a responsibility I do not take lightly. In considering several candidates, I held each to three principles that reflect the role the Supreme Court plays in our democracy.

First, a Justice should possess an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law. There is no doubt this person will face complex legal questions, so it is imperative that he or she possess a rigorous intellect that will help provide clear answers.

Second, a Justice should recognize the limits of the judiciary’s role. With a commitment to impartial justice rather than any particular ideology, the next Supreme Court Justice will understand that the job is to interpret the law, not make law.

However, I know there will be cases before the Supreme Court in which the law is not clear. In those cases, a Justice’s analysis will necessarily be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment.

Therefore, the third quality I looked for in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook. It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly-changing times. In my view, that’s an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes.

Today at 11:00am Eastern, I’ll introduce you to the judge I believe meets all three of these standards.

I’m confident you’ll share my conviction that this American is not only eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote.

In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders.

President Barack Obama

P.S. If you’re looking for the latest on my Supreme Court nominee and the confirmation process in the Senate, check out @SCOTUSnom on Twitter. You’ll find all the facts and up-to-date information there.

Kate del Castillo Is Wanted By Mexican Authorities For Questioning About El Chapo Connections

Mexican authorities want to question actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo about Penn’s interview with drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a senior Mexican law enforcement official stated.

Penn held a secret meeting with Guzman in October in a mountainous Mexican jungle, Rolling Stone reported. The interview took place three months after Guzman made a dramatic escape through a tunnel under his shower in a Mexican prison.

Kate del Castillo is now wanted by Mexican Authorities for questioning about El Chapo connections.

19,000 Civilians Die In Iraq Since January 2014

Nearly 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October 2015 — a toll the United Nations calls “staggering” in a new report.

The report, released Tuesday, outlines the horrific impact Iraq’s ongoing conflict is having on its civilian population.

The numbers are mind-boggling. In the 21-month period:

At least 18,802 civilians were killed, about half of them in Baghdad alone.

Another 36,245 were wounded.

About 3.2 million people were internally displaced, including a million school-aged children.

The actual figures could be much higher, the report said.

Iran Sanctions Lifted With Nuke Deal Which Has Already Been Broken

The IAEA says Iran has completed all the necessary steps in an agreement aimed at reining in its nuclear program, clearing the way for the removal of some sanctions.

Iran has various obligations under the nuclear agreement. It must reduce its level of uranium enrichment, dramatically reduce the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges and agree to unfettered international inspections.

But not all nuclear-related sanctions will be rescinded immediately — that won’t happen for about 10 years, should the deal hold. But Iran will be able to sell its oil again on world markets and its banks will be able to connect to the global system.