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Showing posts from November, 2016


According to reports, NASA’s technology has helped pinpoint a 10,500-year-old lost ancient city, located beneath thick layers of the forest.

It is believed a Stone Age tribe once lived in the area and funnelled bison into narrow dead-end gullies before slaughtering them in a bloody frenzy.
Dubbed as Teledyne Optech Lidar, the device recreated a 3-D model of the surface including glass, bushes and trees.
It also has the ability to create a "bare-earth" version.
NASA has been incorporating lidar devices into missions dating as far back as the Apollo Program, and its work has helped advance the technology in ways that have paid off for many other applications.
Teledyne Optech, a company that has worked with NASA on multiple missions, designed the OSIRIS-Rex lidar as well as another used on the Phoenix lander that discovered snow precipitating in the Martian atmosphere in 2008.

The lidar imaging has 'been useful in delineating where we need to concentrate our efforts,' sa…


NASA holds a meeting to establish protocol for dealing with extraterrestrial life on Mars.

Top scientists from NASA have held a meeting with representatives for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute to ask for assistance in dealing with their ‘knowledge gaps’ when it comes to the correct handling of extra-terrestrial life forms. 
It is understood that NASA wishes to establish proper and thorough protocol for dealing with life on other planets in the event that life forms are found on the planned human visit to Mars. 

"Recent findings that are coming back from the robotic rovers we have on Mars are giving us hints that the Martian environment is not understood in detail to the level we would want, ” explains Catharine Conley, NASA’s planetary protection officer, and human beings will be more capable of examining the finer details. 
However, she says, sending human astronauts to another planet com…

Italy boosts public sector pay ahead of PM Renzi's referendum

Italy's government signed a deal with trade unions on Wednesday to hike public sector pay for the first time in seven years, just days ahead of a referendum on which Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his career.

In 2017 public workers will get a gross average increase of 85 euros per month, Susanna Camusso, head of Italy's largest union, the CGIL, told reporters after the signing.
Public sector pay has been frozen since 2009, while Italy struggled to rein in its burgeoning public debt, the highest in the euro zone after Greece's.
"We got positive answers on all the questions on the table," said Camusso, whose union is urging its members to vote 'No' in the Dec. 4 referendum over Renzi's proposal to reform the constitution.
Renzi has been campaigning hard for his reform, appearing repeatedly in talk shows, online interviews and radio programs as he tries to turn around what polls indicated was a lead for the 'No' camp when a blackout period be…

Just one Trump transition aide for U.S. spy agencies: officials

Only one member of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is dealing with the CIA and the 16 other offices and agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, four U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Geoffrey Kahn, a former House intelligence committee staffer, is the only person named so far to Trump's intelligence community "landing team," they said. 
As a result, said one senior career intelligence officer, briefing books prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the National Counterterrorism Center, and 13 other agencies and organizations are "waiting for someone to read them."
"It seems like an odd time to put issues like cyber security and international terrorism on the back burner," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Previous administrations, the official said, were quicker to staff their intelligence teams, in part because they considered intelligence issue…

Soccer plane in Colombia crash was running out of fuel: recording

The plane that crashed in Colombia virtually wiping out an entire Brazilian soccer team was running out of fuel, had no electrical power, and was preparing for an emergency landing, according to the pilot's final words.

The disaster on Monday night killed 71 people and sent shock waves round the global soccer world.
Only six on board the LAMIA Bolivia charter flight survived, including three of the Chapecoense soccer squad en route to the biggest game in their history: the Copa Sudamericana final.
"Miss, LAMIA 933 is in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel," Bolivian pilot Miguel Quiroga was heard telling the control tower operator at Medellin's airport on the crackly audio played by Colombian media.
"Fuel emergency, Miss," he added, requesting urgent permission to land.
That matched the account from the co-pilot of an Avianca plane flying close by at the time. 
He said he overheard the LAMIA plane reporting it was out of fuel and had to land.

Republicans aim to coax Trump toward House trade tax plan

Republicans in the U.S. Congress hope to convince President-elect Donald Trump to support an untested strategy of using the tax code to promote exports while slashing corporate taxes, framing it as a way to fulfill his campaign promises to restore blue-collar jobs.

The plan would be one way to help Republican lawmakers reconcile their long-standing goal of tax cuts with the often populist campaign rhetoric of Trump, who has attacked the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade deals as bad for U.S. workers.
Critics say it risks running afoul of global trade rules and increasing costs for U.S. consumers. 
Analysts also say that any export gains could be short-lived if the strategy causes the dollar to strengthen, wiping out any price advantage for U.S. products in international markets.
It is likely to undergo months of debate as part of a larger package of proposals offered in congressional Republicans’ “A Better Way” economic plan, but at least one Trump adviser alread…

Russia ready to cut oil output by 300,000 bpd in first half, as agreed with OPEC

Russia is ready to "gradually" cut its oil production by up to 300,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2017 as a part of its agreement with OPEC, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Novak said that Russia welcomes the OPEC decision and expects that other non-OPEC members will also join the deal by cutting their cumulative oil output by up to 300,000 bpd.

Novak gave no indication what is the level that Russia is ready to cut its oil output from. 
This year Russia's crude output is on track to hit a new post-Soviet high.

Ukraine prepares missile test near Crimea, angering Russia

Ukraine was due to start two days of missile tests on Thursday - a move that has angered Russia, prompting it to put its air defense forces on high alert on the annexed Crimea peninsula.

The disagreement marks a fresh escalation in tensions between the one-time allies, whose relations collapsed in 2014 after Russia seized Crimea and backed pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine says the tests in its southern Kherson region, bordering Crimea, are legitimate and will be conducted within the framework of international obligations and treaties.
"We will continue to strengthen the defense capability of our nation and continue missile tests and training," the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, Oleksander Turchynov, said on Wednesday.
Russia's defense ministry has accused Ukraine of seeking to create a "nervous situation" and put its land-based and ship-borne air defense forces in Crimea on higher alert in response, Rus…

Mosul food, water reserves dwindle as fighting cuts off supplies

The United Nations issued a fresh warning on Wednesday about the humanitarian situation in eastern Mosul where the U.S.-backed Iraqi army is locked in heavy fighting with Islamic State militants.

More than six weeks into the offensive against Islamic State's last major city stronghold in Iraq, the army is trying to dislodge militants dug in among civilians in the eastern districts, the only side Iraqi troops have been able to breach.
"The situation in eastern Mosul city close to the front lines remains fraught with danger for civilians. 
Mortar and gunfire continue to claim lives," the U.N. humanitarian coordinator's office said. 
"The limited supplies of food and water are running out, amid concerning reports of food insecurity emerging from the city."
Water was cut to 650,000 people - or 40 percent of total residents in the city - when a pipeline was hit during fighting, a local official said on Tuesday.
With winter setting in, aid workers say a full siege is d…

Senior senators want to amend Saudi September 11 law

Two senior U.S. senators said on Wednesday they want to amend a law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 attacks to narrow the scope of possible lawsuits.

Lindsey Graham and John McCain, two of the Republican party's congressional foreign policy leaders, said they would introduce an amendment to the law so that a government could be sued only if it "knowingly" engages with a terrorist organization.
"All we're saying to any ally of the United States (is), you can't be sued in the United States for an act of terrorism unless you knowingly were involved, and the same applies to us in your country," Graham said in a Senate speech.
In September, the Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA, making it U.S. law.
However, lawmakers said almost as soon as they did so that they wanted the scope of the legislation narrowed to ease c…

NATO nearing solution to continue Aegean migrant mission: UK general

Turkey will likely hand off responsibility for NATO's counter-migration mission in the Aegean Sea, averting tensions with Greece, when it takes command of a broader maritime mission in the region next year, a top British general said on Wednesday.

"Because of Turkish-Greek sensitivities ... the likelihood is that the Turkish commander will command a bit of the group, but there'll be a subset that is commanded by one of his deputies to deal with the Aegean," General Gordon Messenger, vice chief of defense staff for Britain, told Reuters.
"Having a Turkish commander in such sensitive waters is a difficult thing for the Greeks," he said.
Diplomats have said that Turkey is unhappy about NATO ships moving about in waters that it and Greece have long contested and remains worried that Greece could gain the upper hand in a dispute about a group of Aegean islands.
An end to the NATO mission, which was agreed in February, may raise concerns in the European Union about a…

OPEC in first joint oil cut with Russia since 2001, Saudis take "big hit"

OPEC agreed on Wednesday its first oil output cuts since 2008 after Saudi Arabia accepted "a big hit" on its production and dropped its demand on arch-rival Iran to slash output.

Non-OPEC Russia will also join output reductions for the first time in 15 years to help the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries prop up oil prices.
Brent crude jumped over 9 percent to more than $50 a barrel as Riyadh reached a compromise with Iran and after fast-growing producer Iraq also agreed to curtail its booming output.
"OPEC has proved to the sceptics that it is not dead. 
The move will speed up market rebalancing and erosion of the global oil glut," said OPEC watcher Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects.
Iran and Russia are effectively fighting two proxy wars against Saudi Arabia, in Yemen and Syria, and many sceptics had said the countries would struggle to find a compromise amid frosty political relations.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said ahead of the mee…