SPOTLIGHT: REAL LIFE ARMAGEDDON?
The stuff of disaster films, an asteroid could strike Earth causing death and destruction in the next 200 years. Asteroid 101955 Bennu is currently barreling through space at 63,000 mph and is expected to slip through the moon and Earth in 2135. But a â€œreturn tripâ€ later that century could see the asteroid, which is larger than the Empire State building, pummeling our planet with a force 200 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The good news? Thereâ€™s only a 2,700-in-1 chance that Bennu will meet Earth. Moreover, NASA has invested in a laboratory that can map the route of dangerous asteroids in our solar system. The space agency will also launch a spacecraft to study Bennu on Sept. 8. Unfortunately, Ben Affleck or Bruce Willis will not be on said spacecraft.
If all else fails, humanity always has nuclear weapons at its disposal to stave off Armageddon.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Funeral for murdered French priest Jacques Hamel to be held in Rouen.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet foreign investors in Ankara to reassure them about countryâ€™s stability after coup attempt.
U.S. AIRSTRIKES HIT ISIS IN LIBYA
American warplanes yesterday targeted the locations of the Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte, the terror groupâ€™s last remaining stronghold in the North African country. Prime Minister Fayez Serraj requested foreign air strikes after local forces had cornered the militants to a small area of the city during months of fighting.
VENEZUELAN REFERENDUM MOVES FORWARD
Venezuelaâ€™s national electoral council accepted initial signatures gathered by the countryâ€™s opposition for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro. El Nacional reports that the opposition will now proceed to the next step of a long-drawn process, which involves collecting millions more signatures in just two days.
â€" MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Stubborn Surfer â€" Grand-Baie, 2000
TYPHOON NIDA SHUTS DOWN HONG KONG
Typhoon Nida swept through Hong Kong after making landfall in southern China, putting the city on a storm alert and shutting down the stock market. According to the South China Morning Post, Nida is the regionâ€™s largest storm this year and represents the biggest threat to the city since Typhoon Vicente in 2012.
TOXIC GAS ATTACK IN SYRIA?
Rescuers in the Syrian rebel-held town of Saraqeb said a helicopter dropped barrels of toxic gas overnight affecting 33 people, mostly women and children, Reuters reports. The rescuers, who describe themselves as a neutral group, suspected chlorine was used. Hours earlier, a Russian military helicopter was shot down near the site of the gas attack, killing all five people on board.
CRISIS IN CONGO DEEPENS
Tensions are rising in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where national elections are scheduled for late November. Rallies in support of and against the candidacy of President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate ends in December, drew tens of thousands of demonstrators over the past few days. Read more in Le Monde.
â€" ON THIS DAY
This British-Irish actor who played T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia would have turned 84 today. Remember him? Check it out, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.
â€œSheâ€™s the devil,â€ said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, referring to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
TAIWAN PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES TO ABORIGINES
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered a historic apology to the countryâ€™s aboriginal population yesterday for 400 years of mistreatment during a ceremony celebrating Indigenous Peopleâ€™s Day. Fulfilling a key campaign promise, Tsai also launched a commission for transitional justice, the Taipei Times reports.
In 2002, the third-biggest Chinese city gave developers a decade to revitalize 138 old villages as part of China's rapid urbanization. Almost 15 years later, only four have been revamped, and the last holdout residents still refuse to leave. Writing for French daily Les Echos from Guangzhou, Alain Ruello reports: â€œIn the nearby village of Xiancun, cranes that have been idle for a year and collapsed houses make the scene look like Beirut during the civil war. A barber says: â€˜It has been at least seven years since the developer wanted to level the area.â€™ On the opposite side of the street, a poster on a wall warns that blocking demolition is like being â€˜heartless towards one's parents.â€™ Still, no one pays it much attention anymore.
This is a country where more concrete has flowed in the last 30 years than all the concrete used in the United States in the 20th century.â€
Read the full article, Guangzhou, How Villages Get Swallowed Into A Megacity.
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate to 1.5%, a record low for the country. Glenn Stevens, the Bankâ€™s governor, cited slow growth and declining business investment as reasons for the new policy. Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald.
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JUNCKERâ€™S â€œLITTLE BLACK BOOKâ€
In an unusual personal revelation, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Le Soir in an interview that he keeps a â€œlittle black bookâ€ where he writes the names of all the people whoâ€™ve betrayed him. As if that wasnâ€™t bizarre enough, the 30-year-old book even has a name: â€œLittle Maurice.â€
Gas stations in many Iranian cities had trouble supplying fuel earlier in the week in what was a suspected cyberattack on the fuel distribution system. One Tehran daily on Thursday blamed Israel, which may have carried out similar acts in past years, to weaken Iran's hostile regime.
The incident reportedly disrupted the credit and debit card payments system this time, forcing users to pay cash and higher prices, the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported.
Though state officials didn't publicly accuse anyone specific, they did say perhaps this and other attacks had been planned for October, to "anger people" on the anniversary of the anti-government protests of 2019.
Khamenei, where's our gas?
Cheeky slogans were spotted Tuesday in different places in Iran, including electronic panels over motorways. One of them read "Khamenei, where's our gas?"
Iran International reported that Tehran-based news agency ISNA posted, then deleted, a report on drivers also seeing the message "cyberattack 64411" on screens at gas stations, purported to be the telephone number of the office of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A member of parliament's National Security Committee, Vahid Jalalzadeh, said the attack had been planned months ahead, and had inflicted "grave losses," Iran International and domestic agencies reported Thursday. The conservative Tehran newspaper Kayhan named "America, the Zionist regime and their goons" as the "chief suspects" in the attack.
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