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Israel Ramps Up, Argentina Defaults, Post Office Meltdown

A lightning hits Calgary on Wednesday
A lightning hits Calgary on Wednesday

Thursday, July 31, 2014

As the conflict in Gaza continues, Israel announced it was calling up 16,000 extra reserve soldiers for its offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza — bringing the total of soldiers mobilized to 86,000. The BBC quotes Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying he is "determined" to destroy all militant tunnels from Gaza "with or without ceasefire."

The move comes as Israel pledged to investigate a strike on a UN-run school in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, which killed at least 16 people Wednesday. According to The New York Times, the UN’s initial assessment indicates that Israeli artillery hit the school where 3,300 Palestinians had taken refuge.

In a separate strike, Al Jazeera reports that at least 17 Palestinians were killed and 200 injured in a crowded market in the Shujayea neighborhood, an area Israel said was not included in Wednesday’s short-lived four-hour humanitarian ceasefire.

Argentina defaulted on its sovereign debt for the second time in 13 years, as last-minute negotiations for a settlement between the government and a group of bond-holders failed. Things couldn’t have come out worse, concludes Forbes. The Financial Times predicts that the default will worsen the country’s recession, trigger higher inflation and put pressure on foreign exchange reserves — which may lead to Argentina’s second devaluation this year.

Thing got pretty electric in Calgary last night.

Liberia is planning to shut down schools and several markets, and quarantine certain areas, in what The Guardian calls the “most stringent bid yet to curb” the Ebola epidemic that has raged for seven months across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

According to Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders, the outbreak is “absolutely not under control, and the situation keeps worsening."

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared a state of public health emergency in an effort to quarantine the epicenters of the disease, Reuters reports, while Ethiopia and Kenya have announced mandatory screenings to prevent the deadly virus from entering their borders.

Follow the latest developments on the Telegraph’s live feed.

After three days straight of fighting between pro-Russian rebel forces and the Ukrainian military near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the Ukrainian government has called for a one-day ceasefire to allow the Russian-led international investigative team to study the debris of the crash. The July 17 incident killed all 298 people on board. Read more from RT here.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Parliament has rejected Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's resignation that he offered last week, AP reports.

Despite a ban on sea swimming during monsoon season, at least 19 people have drowned off the coast of Karachi in southern Pakistan. According to the BBC, the bathers were celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan fasting.

Taranto's ILVA steel plant, Europe's largest, emits toxic pollution that doctors believe has long been causing cancer in young victims and sky-high infant mortality — yet it still operates. La Stampa’s Grazia Longo talked to the children, their families, and those who try to help them: “Ambra, Michele and Luca — 4, 10 and 12, respectively — tell me stories about the masks they wore to school on the few days that they were able to leave the ward and attend classes. They tell me about their fantasies and dreams and any other thoughts they immerse themselves in so they don’t think about dying: a trip to the beach, the courage to fight against a treacherous enemy. They look at me with their eyes wide open, alert, and I wonder where they find the strength to be so curious about everything.“
Read the full article: In Italy, A Steel Plant Blamed For Decades Of Child Cancer.


Think you’re having a bad day? It’s probably nothing compared to this French woman’s complete breakdown at a post office. No knowledge of the French language is required to understand the video — but you might want to turn down the volume a bit.

— Crunched by Bertrand Hauger.

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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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