Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 |
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NASA gives all clear: Earth safe from asteroid for 100 years
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Whew, now here’s some good cosmic news: NASA has given Earth the all clear for the next century from a particularly menacing asteroid.
The space agency announced this week that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis smacking Earth in 2068.
That’s the same 1,100-foot (340-meter) space rock that was supposed to come frighteningly close in 2029 and again in 2036. NASA ruled out any chance of a strike during those two close approaches a while ago. But a potential 2068 collision still loomed.
First detected in 2004, Apophis is now officially off NASA’s asteroid “risk list.”
“A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility anymore, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a statement Friday.
Biden invites Russia, China to first global climate talks
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is including rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the U.S. hopes will help shape, speed up and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution, administration officials told The Associated Press.
The president is seeking to revive a U.S.-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish. Leaders of some of the world’s top climate-change sufferers, do-gooders and backsliders round out the rest of the 40 invitations being delivered Friday. It will be held virtually April 22 and 23.
Hosting the summit will fulfill a campaign pledge and executive order by Biden, and the administration is timing the event to coincide with its own upcoming announcement of what will be a much tougher U.S. target for revamping the U.S. economy to sharply cut emissions from coal, natural gas and oil.
The session – and whether it’s all talk, or some progress – will test Biden’s pledge to make climate change a priority among competing political, economic, policy and pandemic problems. It also will pose a very public — and potentially embarrassing or empowering — test of whether U.S. leaders, and Biden in particular, can still drive global decision-making after the Trump administration withdrew globally and shook up longstanding alliances.
The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the summit, reaching out to key leaders for what it said would sometimes be tough talks on climate matters, an administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. plans for the event.
Business as usual: Thousands cross Mexico’s southern border into U.S.
FRONTERA COROZAL, Mexico — On the day this week that Mexico imposed new measures to shut down migrant crossings at its southern border, some 1,200 made the trip at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone.
A man who helped board the migrants for the five-minute boat ride Sunday from Guatemala across the Usumacinta River knew the count because each one received a ticket.
Mexico wants to again appear cooperative, as in 2019 when, faced with tariffs from then-President Donald Trump, it deployed its newly created National Guard to slow the flow of migrants from Central America.
But the reality is it’s business as usual, with entire communities making a living off the passing migrants.
Their reasons for heading north are familiar: violence, an inability to support their families, the devastation wrought by two major hurricanes in November and egged on by rampant misinformation.
Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary dies at 104
NEW YORK — Beverly Cleary, the celebrated children’s author whose memories of her Oregon childhood were shared with millions through the likes of Ramona and Beezus Quimby and Henry Huggins, has died. She was 104.
Cleary’s publisher HarperCollins announced Friday that the author died Thursday in Carmel Valley, California, where she had lived since the 1960s. No cause of death was given.
Trained as a librarian, Cleary didn’t start writing books until her early 30s when she wrote “Henry Huggins,” published in 1950. Children worldwide came to love the adventures of Huggins and neighbors Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby and her younger sister, Ramona. They inhabit a down-home, wholesome setting on Klickitat Street — a real street in Portland, Oregon, the city where Cleary spent much of her youth.
Among the “Henry” titles were “Henry and Ribsy,” “Henry and the Paper Route” and “Henry and Beezus.”
Plan made to refloat ship blocking Suez Canal using tide
SUEZ, Egypt — The company that owns the giant container ship stuck sideways across the Suez Canal said an attempt will be made to refloat the vessel by taking advantage of tidal movements later Saturday.
The Ever Given, owned by Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, got wedged Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal, about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez.
At a news conference Friday night at company headquarters in Imabari, western Japan, Shoei Kisen President Yukito Higaki said 10 tugboats were deployed and workers were dredging the banks and sea floor near the vessel’s bow to try to get it afloat again as the high tide starts to go out.
“We apologize for blocking the traffic and causing the tremendous trouble and worry to many people, including the involved parties,” he said.
Shoei Kisen said in a statement Saturday that the company has considered removing its containers to get the weight off the vessel, but it is a very difficult operation, physically speaking. The company said it may still consider that option if the ongoing refloating efforts fail.
Dominion Voting sues Fox for
$1.6B over 2020 election claims
WASHINGTON — Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant, in an effort to boost faltering ratings, falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and other targets of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment.
Dominion argues that Fox News, which amplified inaccurate assertions that Dominion altered votes, “sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,” according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press.
“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” the lawsuit said. “… If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”
Even before Dominion’s lawsuit on Friday, Fox News had already filed four motions to dismiss other legal action against its coverage. And anchor Eric Shawn interviewed a Dominion spokesperson on air in November.
From wire sources
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