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Ukraine Mine Blast, Boston Trial, Roman Smog

AT LEAST 32 KILLED IN EASTERN UKRAINE MINE BLAST
An explosion believed to be gas-related at the Zasyadko coal mine in rebel-held Donetsk, Ukraine, has killed at least 32 people, local officials said Wednesday. Reuters reported some 70 miners were working in the mine at the time of the blast, and that dozens more people are still trapped underground and unaccounted for, and a rescue operation is underway. At least 160 people have already been evacuated from the mine, according to RT. The blast is not believed to be related to clashes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists. Mikhail Volynets, a mine union official, said there had been no fighting in the area in recent days. Zasyadko is said to have one of the region’s better-equipped coal mines. But in Nov. 2007, it also suffered Ukraine’s worst mining accident, when 101 people were killed, the BBC reports.

U.S., IRAN RESUME NUCLEAR TALKS
Just hours after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a divisive speech at the American Congress (Photo above: Yin Bogu/Xinhua/ZUMA) criticizing Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. and Iranian Foreign Ministers John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif began a third day of nuclear talks in Switzerland on Wednesday morning. Both parties hope to “work out a framework deal by late March,” the Iranian news agency IRNA reports.

  • Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday “will make it harder for the Obama administration to sell the potential deal back home,” Reuters explains.
  • The Israeli leader said such a deal would guarantee Iran the means to acquire the atomic bomb, putting the U.S., Israel and other countries at great risk.
  • However, Iran has always argued its civil nuclear program has no weapon-related purpose, claiming it has peaceful ambitions such as generating electricity.

10 MIGRANTS DIE IN MEDITERRANEAN
At least 10 people died when their boat overturned in the southern Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe, Italian coast guards said Wednesday. The boat was reportedly carrying about 130 migrants and capsized 50 miles north of Libya. All the other people on board were rescued by a coast guard ship. Last month, more than 300 people died in similar conditions.

ON THIS DAY
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“Sweet Home Chicago” … since this day in 1887! Get ready for the four factoids in your 57-second shot of History.

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING TRIAL TO BEGIN
The trial is set to begin today for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old surviving brother of the fraternal duo accused of perpetrating the 2013 Boston marathon bombings that killed three and injured at least 260. The elder brother Tamerlan was killed in shootout with the police four days after the attack. According to The Boston Globe, the U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. told the 12 chosen jurors that the trial could last up to four months. Tsarnaev faces 30 charges, including 17 that could lead to the death penalty.

RUSSIAN SECURITY SERVICES CLAIM TO HAVE NEMTSOV MURDER SUSPECTS
The director of Russia's Federal Security Service said Wednesday that an investigation into the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov had identified several suspects, Reuters reports.

CHILEAN VOLCANO ERUPTS
The Villarrica volcano, one of the most active in southern Chile, erupted Tuesday, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people from the region.

SYRIA’S NUSRA FRONT COULD LEAVE AL-QAEDA
Leaders of Syria's Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al-Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, Al Arabiya reports.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
Pope Francis has been surprisingly progressive on such issues as gay rights. But so far he's taken the hard line on denouncing drugs. That could change if he sees that legalization is the best chance for reducing violence, writes El Espectador’s Rodrigo Uprimny: “Decriminalization, which doesn't mean a free-for-all but a strictly controlled and regulated market, is one way of confronting the abuses without giving way to a prohibition's vicious effects, like trafficking. If Pope Francis wants to avoid Argentina ‘going the Mexican way,’ there is an obvious solution: Legalize drugs.”
Read the full article, And If The Pope Called For Drug Legalization?

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


3,600
At least 3,600 historical landmarks in Rome could be threatened by air pollution, an Italian study has found. Across the entire country, the figure could rise up to 42,000.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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