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Obama/GOP Clash On Iran, Apple Watch, Senior Sprint

Obama/GOP Clash On Iran, Apple Watch, Senior Sprint

Republican senators appear determined to derail a possible deal with Iran on the country’s nuclear program, and their decision to send a letter signed by 47 senators to Tehran has worsened tensions between the GOP and the White House, The Washington Postreports. In the letter, the senators tell Iranian officials that the next U.S. president could revoke any deal “with the stroke of a pen” and that the Congress could also modify its terms. President Barack Obama mocked the move, saying Republicans were forming an “unusual coalition” with Iranian hard-liners, who also oppose an agreement. This comes just one week after Republican lawmakers invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress against a potential deal.

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On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested his telephone — or was it Chuck Norris? Time for your 57-second shot of history.

At least 10 people, including three French Olympic athletes, died in a helicopter crash yesterday in Argentina, where the athletes were taking part in a new reality TV show, newspaper Le Parisien reports. The accident happened when two helicopters collided during the filming. The two Argentine pilots and the five French TV crew members are also among the victims. President François Hollande expressed his condolences to the families and honored the memory of athletes who “made France shine so bright.” Read more in English from CNN.


Photo above: Jini/Xinhua/ZUMA
“Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done. We need to pick up an ax and cut off his head. Otherwise we won't survive here,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said of Israeli Arabs who are disloyal to the state. Read more from Haaretz.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order yesterday declaring oil-rich Venezuela a threat to national security and slapping seven officials with sanctions, raising already high tensions between the two countries, Reuters reports. This comes weeks after President Nicolas Maduro accused the U.S. of trying to topple him amid a worsening economic crisis fueled in part by falling oil prices. The country’s foreign minister said it would respond soon to the measures.

As America Economia’s Guillermo Leon Montoya writes, as unlikely as it may sound, many of the countries we closely associate with planning and foresight are turning their attention to Colombia for inspiration on how to address the parallel problems of industry pollution, energy production and food security. “The South American country boasts enviable geographical and climatic conditions, exceptional biodiversity and above all, a varied and preponderant farming sector,” Montoya writes. Together these factors are sparking talk about what some call the ‘new economy’ or ‘bioeconomy.’”
Read the full article, Imagining An Economy Built Around Plants, Not Plastic

Simone Gbagbo, Ivory Coast’s former first lady, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for undermining state security, disturbing public order and organizing armed gangs after her husband and his supporters rejected the 2010 presidential election result, Le Monde reports. About 3,000 people are believed to have died in the violence that followed the election, won by incumbent Alassane Ouattara. Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The trial is expected to open in July.

Apple unveiled its Apple Watch yesterday, revealing that prices from the gadget range from $349 to an incredible $17,000, or as Time puts it, “an arm and a wrist.” The primo version features an 18-karat yellow gold case and is the most expensive product the company has ever offered. Yesterday’s event otherwise proved a timely occasion for the publication of more leaked documents from Edward Snowden, this time showing that the CIA has been trying for years to break the security of Apple products. Read more from The Intercept.

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In a televised address, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that pro-Russian rebels had withdrawn “a significant amount” of their heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, the BBC reports. He added that Kiev had also pulled back “the lion's share of its rocket and heavy artillery systems.” Meanwhile, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin admitted yesterday that Moscow’s plan to “return Crimea” was initiated before a referendum on the region’s self-determination was held there, but after the Maidan revolution ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.


With her laid-back attitude, angelic face and Jasmine revolution experience, Deena Abdelwahed carves a perfect image of a modern, forward-looking Tunisia. She will also make you dance. Read more about the DJ with Tunisia at her fingertips here.

Charles Eugster, an incredible 95-year-young retired dentist from the UK, set a new record for the 200-meter sprint in his age category and a fitness example for us all. Eugster broke the previous record by more than 2 seconds with an impressive 55.48 seconds. Watch his performance here.

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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