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Islamic State's 'caliphate' on brink of defeat in Syria

Islamic State's 'caliphate' on brink of defeat in SyriaJiya Furat said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had cornered the remaining militants in a neighborhood of Baghouz village near the Iraqi border, under fire from all sides. "In the coming few days, in a very short time, we will spread the good tidings to the world of the military end of Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. Trump has sworn to pull U.S. forces from Syria after Islamic State's territorial defeat, raising questions over the fate of Washington's Kurdish allies and Turkish involvement in northeast Syria.

POSTED FEBRUARY 16, 2019 12:19 PM

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick for sex abuse

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick for sex abuseVATICAN CITY (AP) — Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and defrocked, as calls rose Saturday for Pope Francis to reveal what he knew about the once-powerful American prelate's apparently decades-long predatory sexual behavior.

POSTED FEBRUARY 16, 2019 4:12 PM

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold

North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing coldThe Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. Kim, the son of the isolated North's founder Kim Il Sung and the father and predecessor of current leader Kim Jong Un, was born on February 16. According to Pyongyang's orthodoxy, he came into the world in 1942, in a snow-covered hut at a secret camp on the slopes of Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people, where his father was fighting occupying Japanese forces.

POSTED FEBRUARY 16, 2019 4:00 AM

Supreme Court will rule on Trump administration's effort to add question on citizenship to 2020 Census

Supreme Court will rule on Trump administration's effort to add question on citizenship to 2020 CensusThe Trump administration's controversial effort to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 Census will be decided by the Supreme Court.

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 2:52 PM

Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debris

Watch a space harpoon impale a piece of space debrisThe U.S. government tracks 500,000 chunks and bits of space junk as they hurtle around Earth. Some 20,000 of these objects are larger than a softball.To clean up the growing mess, scientists at the University of Surrey have previously tested a net to catch chunks of debris. Now, they've successfully tested out a harpoon.The video below, released Friday by the university's space center, shows a test of the experimental RemoveDEBRIS satellite as it unleashes a harpoon at a piece of solar panel, held out on a 1.5-meter boom.The harpoon clearly impales its target. "This is RemoveDEBRIS' most demanding experiment and the fact that it was a success is testament to all involved," Guglielmo Aglietti, director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said in a statement. Next, the RemoveDEBRIS team -- made up of a group of international collaborators -- is planning its final experiment: responsibly destroying the satellite.In March, the RemoveDEBRIS satellite will "inflate a sail that will drag the satellite into Earth's atmosphere where it will be destroyed," the university said a statement. This is how the group intends to vaporize the future dangerous debris it catches. SEE ALSO: Trump fails to block NASA's carbon sleuth from going to spaceHuman space debris hurtles around Earth faster than a speeding bullet, with debris often traveling at 17,500 mph, or faster. The threat of collisions is always present, though in some orbits the odds of an impact are significantly lower than others. The International Space Station, for instance, is in a relatively debris-free orbit, but even here there is the threat of "natural debris" -- micrometeors -- pummeling the space station.Other orbits have considerably more debris spinning around Earth. In 2009, a derelict Russian satellite slammed into a functional Iridium telecommunication satellite at 26,000 mph, resulting in an estimated 200,000 bits of debris. In 2007, the Chinese launched a missile at an old weather satellite, spraying shrapnel into Earth's orbit.This risk amplifies as more satellites are rocketed into space. SpaceX now has government-approved plans to launch thousands of its Starlink satellites into orbit -- perhaps by the mid-2020's, should they amass money for the pricey program. This would double or triple the number of satellites in orbit."It is unprecedented," said Kessler, NASA's former senior scientist for orbital debris research told Mashable. "The sheer number, that's the problem."Kessler has long warned about the potential of catastrophic chain reactions in Earth's orbit, wherein one collision creates enough weaponized debris to create a cycle of destruction. Designs to harpoon dangerous chunks of debris are just being tested in space today, but the technology could prove critical as Earth's orbit grows increasingly trafficked with large, metallic satellites.   WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 11:52 AM

5 killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse

5 killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouseA gunman opened fire in an industrial warehouse in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was slain.

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 6:57 PM

The 20 Most Powerful Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy in 2019

The 20 Most Powerful Crossovers and SUVs You Can Buy in 2019

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 2:35 PM

During a school lockdown, 7-year-old writes note on her arm in case she dies

During a school lockdown, 7-year-old writes note on her arm in case she diesA second-grader wrote a chilling note to her parents on her arm during school lockdown.

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 1:11 PM

Bentley Bentayga Speed: an SUV as luxurious as it is powerful

Bentley Bentayga Speed: an SUV as luxurious as it is powerfulOn Thursday Bentley unveiled the Bentayga Speed, an SUV with a top speed of 190 mph and 0- 62mph acceleration time of 3.9 seconds. Bentley celebrated its Valentine's Day by announcing what it calls the "world's fastest, most luxurious SUV:" the Bentayga Speed.

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 9:40 AM

Democrats vow to fight Donald Trump's 'unlawful' national emergency as he reveals $8bn border wall plan

Democrats vow to fight Donald Trump's 'unlawful' national emergency as he reveals $8bn border wall planDemocrats and campaign groups have vowed to fight Donald Trump’s “unlawful” national emergency declaration as he revealed plans to raid existing government funds to build his Mexico border wall.  The US president hopes to gather $8 billion through various means to construct barriers along America’s southern border, declaring at a White House press conference that “walls work 100 per cent”.  Most controversial is the $3.6 billion Mr Trump wants to redirect from existing military construction projects by using a power only available to him after declaring a national emergency. He also plans to take $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s anti-drugs fund and $600 million from money forfeited to the Treasury. A further $1.375 billion comes from legislation agreed by Congress in a compromise spending deal.    “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” Mr Trump said. He added: “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”   Donald Trump will no doubt face legal challenges  Credit: AP However there was a fierce backlash from political opponents, advocacy groups and even some Republican senators who believe the move amounts to constitutional overreach and could be defeated in the courts.  Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate respectively, issued a statement condemning the announcement.  “The President's unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation,” the joint statement read.  "This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed president, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process." The Democrats are yet to decide if they will launch their own legal action but campaign groups including Protect Democracy, a body run by former government lawyers, and the Niskanen Center, a liberal think tank, have vowed to do so.   More than half a dozen Republicans senators also publicly criticised the move, calling it a “bad idea”, a “mistake” and “unnecessary”.  Some could even join Democrats in backing a resolution blocking the declaration, though ultimately that needs the backing of two-thirds of all senators to be binding, which seems unlikely.  Mr Trump was bullish about a legal battle, predicting that his government would be sued but that the Supreme Court would eventually rule in his favour.  There is no set definition of what amounts to a national emergency, with the president able to call one when he wants. Doing so theoretically opens up more than 100 statutory powers which can be used.  However each has a strict legal definition. The Trump administration will have to prove how raiding from existing military construction budgets to build the border wall is permissible under the law.  National Emergencies | When and how they've been used in the past Mr Trump took the move after almost two months of discussions in Congress, including a 35-day government shutdown, produced enough funding for just 55 miles of border fencing.  Under the president’s new plan, 234 miles of wall made from steel bollards will be constructed along the border. Around 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border already has a barrier of some form.  None of the money will be taken from disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico or Texas, as had been speculated. It is also unclear where or when the barriers will be constructed.  A senior US official denied any dangerous precedent had been set by the move, as Democrats have claimed. "It’s not as if he just didn’t get what he wanted so he’s waving a magic wand and taking a bunch of money," the official said.  During a press conference about the announcement, Mr Trump also bemoaned the fact that he was unlikely to with the Nobel Peace Prize when discussing his upcoming North Korean summit.  The president also said that Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, had nominated him for the award, writing a “beautiful” five-page letter to the body that makes the decision.

POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2019 2:19 PM

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