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NASA looks for life on Mars and the lead in space race with China

Issued on: 30/07/2020 – 18:45 NASAs Perseverance rover began its journey to Mars on Thursday with a successful launch from Floridas Cape Canaveral. The ambitious mission will be NASAs first to look for signs of past life on Mars and follows Chinas own rover mission to the red planet earlier this month. Advertising Read more Perseverance carries a range of instruments to analyse rocks for the chemical signatures of life and is due to touch down on Mars in February 2021. Its target is a 250-metre-deep crater called Jezero that more than 3 billion years ago was the site of a vast lake. Scientists believe it may hold traces of past microbial Martian life. The €2.3bn ($2.7bn) rover will not only analyse the surface itself but also take and store samples to be collected by a future mission to Mars, and brought back to Earth for study. “Mars used to be covered in water, at least the northern hemisphere of Mars was two thirds covered in ocean,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine t..

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Trump tweets about delaying US election over unsubstantiated mail-in vote fears

Issued on: 30/07/2020 – 17:53 US President Donald Trump questioned Thursday if the presidential election should be delayed, tweeting unsubstantiated fears that a rise in mail-in voting due to Covid-19 could lead to fraud. The Constitution makes no provision for delaying elections, the rules for which would require an act of Congress to change. Advertising Read more Trump is for the first time floating a “delay” to the November 3 presidential election, as he makes unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting will result in fraud. The dates of presidential elections – the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year – are enshrined in federal law. The United States' Constitution makes no provisions for a delay to the presidential inauguration due on January 20, 2021. Still, the mere suggestion of the delay was extraordinary in a nation that has held itself up as a beacon to the world for its history of peaceful transfer of power. Trump tw..

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Brazil opens air borders, as death toll surpasses 90,000

Issued on: 30/07/2020 – 11:54Modified: 30/07/2020 – 12:08 Brazil has opened its doors to foreign visitors, hoping to revive its tourism economy devastated by lockdown. Brazils death toll from Covid-19 surged past 90,000 in recent days, while infections continue to soar across Latin AmeRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] france24 [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Troops to deploy in three more US cities as federal forces begin Portland withdrawal

Issued on: 29/07/2020 – 20:54 The US Justice Department said on Wednesday it would send dozens of law enforcement officials to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit to combat violent crime, expanding the deployment of federal agents to major cities under a programme promoted by President Donald Trump. Advertising Read more The move follows similar deployments to Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico under what is known as Operation Legend, an initiative launched to address rising crime in some cities as unrest swept the nation after George Floyds death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Federal forces deployed in the US city of Portland, rocked by weeks of clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement, will start pulling out of the city on Thursday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf indicated, meanwhile, that an agreement had been reached for federal forces in downtown Portland to give way to local l..

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Doctor in viral video retweeted by Trump believes US government run by ‘reptilians’

Issued on: 29/07/2020 – 08:12 A Houston physician who praised hydroxychloroquine as a miracle coronavirus cure in a viral video retweeted by President Donald Trump blames gynecological problems on sex with evil spirits and believes the US government is run by "reptilians". Advertising Read more Stella Immanuel's viral speech has drawn attention to a little-known group calling themselves "America's Frontline Doctors" who appear to exist to promote the common antimalarial drug in the fight against COVID-19. "Nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure — it is called hydroxychloroquine," Immanuel exclaimed Monday as she stood on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington at a so-called "White Coat Summit" of likeminded physicians. Early on in the pandemic, scientists were eager to find out whether hydroxychloroquine's antiviral properties would make it effective in real-world patients with SARS-CoV-2. So far, though, all the major clinical trials that hav..

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Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine to ward off Covid-19, contradicting health officials

Issued on: 29/07/2020 – 04:50 President Donald Trump groused on Tuesday about medical expert Anthony Fauci's high approval ratings and joked that "nobody likes me" as he struggles to improve his standing with voters for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Advertising Read more "It can only be my personality," said Trump. Fauci, an infectious disease expert who is on Trump's coronavirus task force, is one of the most trusted people in government and many Americans listen to his advice diligently on how to protect themselves from infection. Trump, on the other hand, has drawn criticism over his handling of the pandemic, putting him in jeopardy of losing the Nov. 3 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. The subject of Fauci came up at a news conference where Trump defended his support for malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a hedge against the virus. Trump said he felt the drug worked "in the early stages." Most public health experts say hydroxychloroqui..

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Gold chalks up record highs amid fears over coronavirus spread

Issued on: 28/07/2020 – 14:06 Gold briefly chalked up another record Tuesday before easing later in the day as the dollar clawed back earlier losses, while equity markets struggled to hold on to gains with fears about the coronavirus pandemic mounting. Advertising Read more With worrying new spikes in infections in Asia and Europe—on top of the already-high new US cases—forcing governments to impose strict containment measures, the global economic outlook remains clouded, putting the brakes on a months-long stocks rally. The virus uncertainty descending on trading floors, combined with China-US tensions, sent gold soaring nearly 30 percent and on Tuesday it hit another record of $1,981.27, smashing the previous days all-time high, but it later pared the advance to sit lower for the day. But observers say $2,000 could be broken as early as this week, with focus on the Federal Reserves next policy meeting, which is tipped to see it unveil more easing measures to support the w..

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Trump’s national security adviser tests positive for Covid-19

Issued on: 27/07/2020 – 16:52 President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has tested positive for the coronavirus — making him the highest-ranking official to test positive so far. Advertising Read more President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has tested positive for the coronavirus — making him the highest-ranking official to test positive so far. That's according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss it by name. The White House confirmed that O'Brien has mild symptoms and “has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site,” adding that: “There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President" and that the "work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted.” The news was first reported by Bloomberg News, which said OBrien came down with the virus after Read More – Sou..

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Body of civil rights icon John Lewis crosses Alabama bridge in solemn farewell

Issued on: 27/07/2020 – 08:34 In a deeply symbolic tribute, a lone caisson drawn by two black horses on Sunday slowly carried the body of John Lewis across the Alabama bridge where in 1965 a policeman fractured his skull during a protest that helped forge his reputation as a fearless civil rights leader. Advertising Read more The procession across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the city of Selma came on the second of six days of solemn commemorations for the revered rights activist and 17-term Georgia congressman, who died of cancer on July 17 at age 80. It also came in a year when “Black Lives Matter” protests against police brutality have brought thousands onto US streets, underscoring the still-raw depths of the countrys racial history. The procession on a warm and sunny Sunday morning was saluted by a line of Alabama state troopers—a starkly different reception from what Lewis received in the March 7, 1965 march in Selma, when a trooper beat the then-25-year-old to the gro..

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Hurricane Hanna batters Texas coast already reeling from Covid-19

Issued on: 26/07/2020 – 06:50 Hurricane Hanna pummeled the south Texas coast on Saturday night with howling winds and a surging sea that threatened a broad area already contending with an intense spike in coronavirus deaths. Advertising Read more Hanna is the first hurricane for the 2020 Atlantic storm season, which is expected to be unlike any other in recent memory. Authorities will have to contend with sheltering and evacuating people while also maintaining social distancing protocols and other pandemic restrictions. By nightfall, Hanna's blistering winds were ripping up the Texas coast near Corpus Christi. A deadly storm surge was expected to hit a 300-mile area of the shoreline, from the town of Sargent in the north to Port Mansfield in the south, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The NHC forecast that Hanna would lose steam as it moved inland across Texas and northeastern Mexico overnight into Sunday. But the storm could dump upward of 18 inches of rain i..

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