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Kabul Blast, "Promising" Ebola Vaccine, One Million LPs

Preparations for New York's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC
Preparations for New York's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

Thursday, November 27, 2014

At least five people died and 30 were injured in a suicide attack on the British embassy in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, the BBC reports. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed one British citizen and mostly hit Afghan bystanders. The group’s spokesman said it had “targeted foreign invading forces.” The attack comes three days after three American soldiers were killed in a car explosion.

Preparations for New York's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade today were underway Wednesday in Central Park West, where a giant Spider-Man dwarfed a sports utility vehicle.

The streets of Ferguson, Missouri, have calmed, but in downtown Los Angeles, police arrested 130 people last night after they refused to disperse. Oakland, meanwhile, saw its third consecutive night of vandalism. According to The St. Louis Post, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon rejected calls to bring in a special prosecutor to present police officer Darren Wilson’s case to a new grand jury. The Los Angeles Times reports that some witnesses were so afraid of the police, neighbors and the Ku Klux Klan that they kept their testimonies to themselves until investigators knocked on their doors.

Meanwhile, police in Cleveland, Ohio, released the 911 call and surveillance video of Saturday’s fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The footage shows that the police officer shot him just two seconds after the car he was riding in pulled up next to the boy, who was playing with a toy gun. Read more from USA Today.

For the first time since 1996, more than a million vinyl records have been sold in the UK so far this year, with sales expected to reach 1.2 million over the Christmas holidays.

Sporadic fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, and Kiev officials are responding with a new offensive against the rebel-held regions: shutting down the banking system in those areas, AFP reports. Unable to withdraw money at ATMs or to pay with cards, at least 5,677 people are believed to have fled the region in one day, 10 times more than usual, with a majority of them heading to Russia. Meanwhile, NATO's top military commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned that a Russian military buildup in Crimea could be used to take control of the Black Sea. This came after Russia’s Defense Ministry announced the deployment of 30 military jets on the peninsula.

As Le Monde’s Marie Charrel reports, in a reversal of economic fortunes, Sweden's under-25s are leaving the high unemployment of their home country to seek more money and secure jobs in Norway. “There are thousands of young Swedes in Oslo's cafes, bars, shops and museums,” the journalist writes. “All crossed the border to find a better life here, in the country of fjords. According to the Frisch Center, the University of Oslo's economic institute, 20% of Oslo workers aged between 17 and 25 come from Sweden. There were only a handful 20 years ago. In total, Swedes represent 10% of the city's population. ‘The trend started in the 1990s and developed from 2000,’ explains Ida Tolgensbakk, a PhD student writing a dissertation on the subject.”
Read the full article, Young Swedes Flock To Norway, A Nordic Immigration Flip.

The first human trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine have shown “promising” results, scientists say. “We can call this trial an unqualified success, even though it was an early Phase One trial,” a doctor told the BBC.

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As Taiwan prepares for local elections this weekend, Reuters reports how Beijing is working in the shadows to ultimately absorb the state it sees as a breakaway province. Via an agency called United Front Work Department, which is also active in Hong Kong, China is “targeting academics, students, war veterans, doctors and local leaders in Taiwan in an attempt to soften opposition to the Communist Party and ultimately build support for unification,” the report reads. A source close to Chinese officials said that Beijing was using soft power to ultimately reach “peaceful unification.” “To attack the heart is the best,” the source said, quoting from Sun Tzu’s famous book, The Art of War.

Thailand’s Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon announced that a general election planned for next year will be pushed back to 2016, when the new constitution is expected to be ready, The Bangkok Post reports. This comes one week after the military junta said the martial law it imposed before taking power in May would not be lifted “until the country has peace and order.”

Canada joined Twitter yesterday in an attempt to show “everything that makes Canada the best country in the world,” and its first message to the tweetosphere was the best possible introduction, eh!

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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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