NASA suspects asteroid Psyche is core of planet that never fully formed, models ‘metal world’ ahead of 2022 mission

Scientists using a supercomputer have created 2D and 3D computer models of the pockmarked asteroid Psyche, revealing that it may be the metal core of a failed planet.


Ahead of NASA’s 2022 mission to Psyche, which has been dubbed the ‘journey to a metal world,’ researchers wanted to gather as much intel about the asteroid as possible, including its composition. 


By simulating asteroid impacts which could have created the vast craters on the space object’s surface, scientists have deduced that Psyche, the largest asteroid in our solar system’s main belt, is actually “like a big metal sponge.”










“Psyche is an interesting body to study because it is likely the remnant of a planetary core that was disrupted during the accretion stage, and we can learn a lot about planetary formation from Psyche if it is indeed primarily metallic,” said Wendy K. Caldwell, one of the lead researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Measuring and modeling the asteroid’s scars improve our understanding of metallic asteroids, and help us better distinguish how they form and traverse the universe relative to their icy and rocky counterparts.


By recreating what they believe to be the exact impact angle, the team could make educated guesses as to its composition, as metals deform and fragment after impact in a specific way, especially when compared and contrasted with silicates which are also commonly found in asteroids. 


The results of the team’s simulations corroborate the current theory that Psyche could be made up of large amounts of Monel, a potentially extraterrestrial alloy found previously in the Sudbury crater in Canada.





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Belarusian police use LIVE FIRE against protestors overnight, 1 person injured

One person was shot as Belarusian police fired live rounds at a crowd in the city of Brest near the Polish border as protests continue to engulf the country after Sunday’s election.


A group of “aggressive” young men, armed with metal rods, assaulted law enforcers in the southern city overnight, a police spokeswoman said.


The officers fired warning shots in the air but when it failed to have an effect on the attackers, they shot to kill in order to “protect their own life and health.”


One person was injured in the incident, Olga Chemodanova confirmed, without expanding on their current condition.


People were reportedly leaving flowers on a pavement marked by bloodstains that were left by the wounded on one of the central streets of Brest.


The statement appears to be the first time that Belarusian law enforcement has confirmed the use of live fire against demonstrators.


Up until now, the police have mainly relied on rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and flashbang grenades to disperse the crowds. Protestors have responded by tossing stones, Molotov cocktails and other objects at officers, and even ramming police with their cars.


Belarusian police have been blamed for using excessive force during the unrest, with numerous videos online showing officers in full riot gear beating up protesters with batons while they were already down on the ground and not resisting. Shocking footage on Tuesday showed a special forces officer threatening people with a grenade in capital Minsk.





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Belarusian law enforcement officers detain a man during a rally in Minsk, Belarus August 11, 2020 © Reuters / Stringer
Belarusian SWAT threaten bystanders with GRENADE after collaring teen in viral VIDEO




Journalists were also assaulted and arrested, despite having all the proper credentials and wearing gear that unmistakably identified them as press.


According to the spokeswoman, more than a thousand people were detained across the country overnight. That brings the overall number of arrests since the start of protests to more than 6,000.


Some 50 demonstrators sought medical assistance following the latest night of rioting, and 14 law enforcers were also injured, with some of them requiring hospitalization. Among these were five officers who were run over by cars in various parts of the country.


Chemodanova said that 17 criminal cases have been launched against demonstrators who attacked the police.


Angry crowds took to the streets across Belarus after the results of Sunday’s election showed incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, who had been running the country since 1994, winning another term with 80 percent of the vote. His main rival and united opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who got only 10 percent, insisted that the vote was rigged and that she had been robbed of her victory.





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Police vehicle rams barricades setup during a rally following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 11, 2020. The opposition rejected official election results handing President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide re-election victory. © REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Clashes & arrests across Belarus as post-election turmoil enters 3rd night (VIDEOS)




However, she has since left for Lithuania and has urged protestors not to come out onto the streets and to protect their lives.


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Mongolian man dies of BUBONIC PLAGUE amid growing concerns over potential outbreak

A Mongolian man has died from bubonic plague, the country’s Health Ministry has announced, rekindling fears that the nation could experience a large-scale resurgence of the disease.


The 42-year-old man, from Khovd province in western Mongolia, succumbed to the illness on Tuesday night. The Health Ministry said that the victim had purchased two dead marmots, ground squirrels which are known to carry fleas that spread the disease, shortly before his death. 


Hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, but many view the animal as a delicacy and dismiss the associated health risks. So far this year, 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of bubonic plague have been registered in the country. Last month, a 15-year-old boy died of the disease. 


In July, Mongolia quarantined an entire region after identifying two people with symptoms of bubonic plague. The country’s National Center for Zoonotic Diseases has reported that 17 of Mongolia’s 21 provinces are at risk of an outbreak. 





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Mongolia warns of bubonic plague outbreak as SEVENTEEN provinces bordering Russia are deemed at risk




However, the threat to neighboring countries such as Russia is almost non-existent. The disease is not transmitted from person to person, nor is it contagious. It spreads from one animal to another through fleas. Vladimir Nikiforov, the chief infectious diseases specialist at Russia’s Federal Biomedical Agency, recently described the plague as “absolutely no threat.”


If left untreated, the plague is highly deadly. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headaches, and vomiting. 


In the 14th century, the plague and its variants, then known as the Black Death, killed 200 million people worldwide. Nowadays it is far less prevalent, with typically only 650 cases recorded each year globally.


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Dancing queen & no-nonsense spokesperson: Maria Zakharova’s 5 years as Russian Foreign Ministry’s tongue-in-chief (VIDEO)

In the five years since she became the first woman to serve as the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova has become a household name internationally, ruffling quite a few feathers, and dividing opinion.












Zakharova has quickly become known for pulling no punches in her daily briefings, as well as on social media.


Likewise, the spokesperson, whom the BBC once included on its list of the world’s top 100 inspirational and influential women, has not been shy to showcase her life outside the press room, with a video of her performing a traditional Kalinka folk dance in front of dozens of dignitaries at the Russian-ASEAN summit in 2016 becoming an instant viral hit.



Foreign Ministry Official Spokesperson Maria Zakharova makes a selfie during a briefing in Svetlogorsk. © Sputnik / Vitaly Nevar




‘War of puns’ over Syria  


Zakharova does not hold back when it comes to defending Russia’s foreign policy interests, whether it’s Syria, Ukraine, the Skripal saga, or the infamous Russiagate. When decrying remarks by then-US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner in February 2016, who urged Russia to “put up or shut up” over Syria’s truce, Zakharova was having none of the undiplomatic figurative speech, coming back with: “Mark had better order his own colleagues to shut up, if such an idiomatic style of communication is common among American diplomats.”  


‘Stop spreading lies and fake news’


Zakharova has never been a fan of US mainstream media, especially those peddling the now-debunked Russiagate narrative.





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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova © Mikhail Voskresenskiy
‘Stop spreading lies & fake news,’ Russian FM spokeswoman tells CNN reporter




When asked by a CNN crew about spying allegations against former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak after a briefing in Moscow in March 2017, she told a CNN reporter to his face: “Come on, stop spreading lies and fake news. This is good advice for CNN. Thank you,” before walking away.


A poem for John Kerry



US Department of State Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, her by Russian counterpart Maria Zakharova together with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. © US Department of State




Zakharova is also known for having a soft spot for poetry. And, during a briefing in May 2016, she used poetry as a diplomatic tool. Responding to a question about intensified telephone contacts between her boss, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and then-US state secretary John Kerry, she recited a slightly altered version of a poem by Robert Burns.


“His heart is in Moscow. His heart is not there. 


“His heart is in Moscow, chasing a bear. 


“Chasing not grizzly, but Kremlinese. 


“His heart is in Moscow, wherever John is.”


Dancing queen


Aside from her tongue-in-cheek remarks, Zakharova is perhaps better known for her dance moves. While attending the 58th Brass Band Festival in Serbia in August 2018, she was filmed moving to the grooves of Balkan music.


Being a versatile dancer, Zakharova later saddled the beat of the Causcian traditional dance, ‘Lezginka,’ at a youth forum in North Caucasus a year later.






But, probably, her most famous performance still remains the fiery rendition of the Russian folk dance, ‘Kalinka.’ 



Maria Zakharova dances during the reception in honour of heads of the delegations at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi in 2016. © Reuters


 


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3 killed & 110 arrested after alleged anti-Muslim FB post sparks riots in Bengaluru, India (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

A reportedly derogatory Facebook post led to violence in the streets of Bengaluru, India, with police using tear gas to disperse rioters. Three people were killed in the clashes and a curfew has been imposed.


The chaos was sparked by an inflammatory social media post about Prophet Muhammad shared by a relative of a local lawmaker, according to Indian media. Protesters on Tuesday night surrounded the lawmaker’s home and set cars on fire. A police station was also attacked and set ablaze. 









Police used tear gas and baton charges to clear the mob out of the area. The chaos resulted in three deaths and dozens of injuries. Bengaluru police said that they had arrested 110 people in connection to the riots, and urged the public to cooperate with law enforcement and maintain peace in the city. The individual responsible for the Facebook post has also been detained.


Police announced that a curfew has been imposed in the surrounding neighborhood. 


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Baghdad summons Turkish ambassador after cross-border strike on Kurdish rebels kills 2 Iraqi commanders

A Turkish drone strike that killed two senior Iraqi commanders has triggered a harsh reaction in Baghdad, with the government scrapping a high-level defense meeting and summoning Ankara’s ambassador to rebuke the attack.


The Iraqi Foreign Ministry called on the Turkish ambassador on Tuesday to “inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country’s attacks and violations,” and voice “a strong protest” over the drone strike, which killed a general and a brigadier in the country’s Border Guards in Iraqi Kurdistan, along with the driver of their vehicle. A visit by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was also canceled following the attack, which was confirmed by the Iraqi military.


“A Turkish attack using a drone targeted a military vehicle of the Border Guards in the Sidekan area and caused the death of the commander of the Second Brigade, the commander of the Third Regiment… and the driver at the wheel,” Iraq’s security media cell said in a tweet.





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Iraq calls Turkey’s incursion a provocation, demands complete withdrawal of troops




The two commanders were meeting with members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the time of the attack, two Iraqi security sources told the Associated Press, while the mayor of Sidekan, a town north of Erbil, noted they had been establishing new outposts in the Kurdish-majority region.


Though Ankara has yet to publicly address the high-ranking casualties in the strike, the country’s Defense Ministry reported that it had “neutralized” two PKK fighters in an “air operation” over northern Iraq on Tuesday night. Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist organization and has clashed with the group intermittently since the 1970s, launching frequent strikes both in its own southeastern region and in northern Iraq, where the group is based.


The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has summoned the Turkish ambassador on at least two other occasions this year over similar air raids on PKK targets in the northern border region, repeatedly slamming the operations as violations of Iraqi sovereignty. Turkey, for its part, maintains that both Baghdad and regional Kurdish officials are not doing enough to stem PKK attacks launched from the Iraqi side of the border, boasting of hundreds of airstrikes on the group in recent months.





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© Reuters / Thaier Al-Sudani
Iraqi military sets up border posts to prevent Turkish advance as Ankara targets Kurdish rebels




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Clashes & arrests across Belarus as post-election turmoil enters 3rd night (VIDEOS)

Belarusians angry with the outcome of Sunday’s presidential election, which the opposition denounced as rigged, have taken to streets for the third night in a row, facing off against police deployed en masse to quell the unrest.


Arrests have been reported as law enforcement moved to disperse protesters in the Belarusian capital, which has been gripped by violence since it was announced that the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was reelected with 80 percent of the vote.





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Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in the town of Maladzechna, some 70 km northwest of Minsk, on July 31, 2020.
‘Not a single life is worth what’s happening now’: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya says she left Belarus of her own accord




Loud bangs have rung out in Serebrianka borough of Minsk, as law enforcement clashed with demonstrators who attempted to block the roads with makeshift barricades earlier in the day.












Similar scene played out at Kamennaya Gorka, in the outskirts of the city. Sounds of explosions were heard in the neighborhood as riot police scuffled with opposition supporters.









The protests have been marred by violence from both sides, but videos documenting local law enforcement’s crackdown on protesters have quickly gone viral.





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Belarusian law enforcement officers detain a man during a rally in Minsk, Belarus August 11, 2020 © Reuters / Stringer
Belarusian SWAT threaten bystanders with GRENADE after collaring teen in viral VIDEO




One of the most chilling episodes captured on video showed a police officer apparently threatening to detonate a grenade in order to deter bystanders from interfering with the arrest of a young man.






As the Belarusian capital descended into chaos, there have been multiple reports of foreign and local journalists falling victim to the heavy-handed tactics by the law enforcement.


In an incident on Tuesday, AP news agency photographer Sergei Grits was reported to be attacked by a group of uniformed men without insignia, who were quoted threatening to break his camera. The apparent law enforcement officers also seized a memory stick from a local journalist as they swooped on the group.






Protests have swept through other Belarusian cities as well. Footage from Brest, near the border with Poland, showed demonstrators attacking riot police using pepper spray. 






Opposition supporters took to the streets after Lukashenko’s landslide was announced,  claiming that his main rival and united opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was robbed of victory. She officially received 10 percent of the vote.


The first two days of riots saw one person killed, dozens wounded and more than 5,000 arrested. Police have used tear gas, flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds, while the protestors were tossing stones and Molotov cocktails at law enforcement. There were also videos of officers being rammed by cars.


On Tuesday, Tikhanovskaya addressed her supporters from Lithuania – where she arrived overnight – asking them to “not to go out on to the squares… not to risk your lives.” She insisted that leaving Belarus was her own decision and she wasn’t pressured by authorities to do so. Lukashenko earlier claimed that the post-election protests were masterminded from abroad, blaming Poland, the UK and Czech Republic. Warsaw and Prague have denied the accusations.


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Belarusian SWAT threaten bystanders with GRENADE after collaring teen in viral VIDEO

As protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election rage on in several cities, video footage has emerged showing the local riot police apparently deploying some heavy handed tactics against teenagers.


In a video widely shared on social media on Tuesday, two members of Belarus’ OMON tactical police can be seen restraining a young man, possibly a protester. The officers manhandle the suspect, and as bystanders complain, one officer tugs on the pin of a grenade. 






The detainee is eventually dragged away and bundled into an unmarked van, before being sped off to an uncertain fate. The Belarusian news portal TUT.BY, whose logo appears on the video, is currently unavailable amid reports of massive internet outages.


Lukashenko’s re-election, which Minsk says he won on Sunday with 80 percent of the vote, has been condemned by the opposition as fraudulent. Mass protests are a rare occurrence in Belarus, but the election drew crowds into the streets, where they were met with rubber bullets, tear gas, and flashbang grenades. 





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Riot police move a car barricade erected by protesters in Minsk, Belarus August 10, 2020.
One KILLED during massive protests in Minsk as demonstrators clash with Belarus police




Authorities have accused the protesters of taking their instructions from abroad, particularly the Czech Republic, Poland, and the UK. Lukashenko has said he won’t allow a coup to take place on his soil. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has left the country for Lithuania, a decision she says she made of her own free will, but one that came after an alleged assassination attempt against her. The murder plot was allegedly intercepted by the country’s security service, the KGB.


Police say they’ve confiscated Molotov cocktails and improvised explosives from protesters, a claim given weight by the death of a demonstrator in Minsk on Monday, when an explosive device detonated in his hand before he could throw it at police officers.





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People attend a rally following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus August 11, 2020. © REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko; FILE PHOTO Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko © REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Lukashenko: Short-term victory, long-term defeat




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