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Monthly Archives: JULY 2016


Theresa May to become British Prime Minister as Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership race
11.07.16 -
Theresa May to become British Prime Minister as Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership race



One of the two finalists for British prime minister pulled out of the contest Monday, a move that could effectively cede the job to home affairs secretary Theresa May.

Andrea Leadsom, the country’s energy minister, abandoned her campaign just days after she was voted by Conservative lawmakers to be one of two contenders to campaign for the keys to 10 Downing Street. The contest was expected to last through the summer. Her withdrawal adds another twist to a British political season that has been marked by constant surprise and upheaval.

Leadsom, a relative unknown in British politics, had advocated for a British exit from the European Union. She came under heavy criticism over the weekend after suggesting to the Times of London that motherhood would make her a better fit for prime minister than the childless May.

May, who has run the country’s domestic security for the past six years, had campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. But she repeated Monday that "Brexit means Brexit” and that she will proceed with the country's plan to formally depart the 28-member bloc.

Britain voted last month in a national referendum to get out of the European Union, leading Prime Minister David Cameron to announce plans to resign after his pro-E.U. side suffered the loss.

The winner of the leadership contest was supposed to take over from Cameron shortly after results were to be announced on Sept. 9. Now that May is the only candidate, that timetable could be accelerated.

It was unclear, however, whether another candidate could be selected to take Leadsom's place on the ballot.

In announcing her decision, Leadsom endorsed May to take the job and argued that she be allowed to take over as soon as possible. Leadsom said her departure will allow the country to move forward with its Brexit plans as quickly as possible.

"Business needs certainty,” she said.

The sudden shift in the leadership race also coincides with a visit to New York by Britain’s finance minister, George Osborne, in efforts to calm global investors uneasy over Britain’s plans for an E.U. exit.

(Courtesy: The Washington Post)





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Bomb blast near Eid congregation in Bangladesh; A policeman killed
07.07.16 - TEAM PT
Bomb blast near Eid congregation in Bangladesh; A policeman killed



One policeman was killed and several injured in an explosion on Thursday morning at the entrance of the Eid prayer gathering in Bangladesh’s Kishoreganj district after a group of suspected radical Islamist hurled homemade bombs.

The victim was identified as police constable Zahirul Islam.

One suspected attacker was also killed in the blast.

A bomb was hurled at the policemen in front of Azim Uddin High School at 9:30am on Thursday, leaving at least 13 people including several policemen injured.

The injured were sent to Myemensingh Medical College Hospital.

Calling it a terrorist strike, Bangladesh I&B Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said, "They are out to create disturbance. It is a political attack to topple & oust the secular government of Sheikh Hasina.”

The incident comes after last week’s deadly attacks in Dhaka which killed over 20 people mainly foreigners including an Indian girl.




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Juno probe: Nasa's spacecraft makes history by entering Jupiter's orbit after five-year journey
04.07.16 - TEAM PT
Juno probe: Nasa's spacecraft makes history by entering Jupiter's orbit after five-year journey



Braving intense radiation, Nasa spacecraft Juno reached Jupiter on Monday after a five-year voyage to begin exploring the king of the planets.

Ground controllers at the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin erupted in applause when the solar-powered Juno spacecraft beamed home news that it was circling Jupiter's poles
.
The arrival at Jupiter was dramatic. As Juno approached its target, it fired its rocket engine to slow itself down and gently slipped into orbit. Because of the communication time lag between Jupiter and Earth, Juno was on autopilot when it executed the daring move.

"Juno, welcome to Jupiter," said mission control commentator Jennifer Delavan of Lockheed Martin, which built Juno.

The spacecraft's camera and other instruments were switched off for arrival, so there won't be any pictures at the moment it reaches its destination. Hours before the encounter, Nasa released a series of images taken last week during the approach, showing Jupiter glowing yellow in the distance, circled by its four inner moons.

Scientists have promised close-up views of the planet when Juno skims the cloud tops during the 20-month, $1.1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,398 crores ) mission.

The fifth rock from the sun and the heftiest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is what's known as a gas giant - a ball of hydrogen and helium - unlike rocky Earth and Mars.

With its billowy clouds and colorful stripes, Jupiter is an extreme world that likely formed first, shortly after the sun. Unlocking its history may hold clues to understanding how Earth and the rest of the solar system developed.

Named after Jupiter's cloud-piercing wife in Roman mythology, Juno is only the second mission designed to spend time at Jupiter.

Galileo,  launched in 1989, circled Jupiter for nearly a decade, beaming back splendid views of the planet and its numerous moons. It uncovered signs of an ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon Europa, considered a top target in the search for life outside Earth.

Juno's mission: To peer through Jupiter's cloud-socked atmosphere and map the interior from a unique vantage point above the poles. Among the lingering questions: How much water exists? Is there a solid core? Why are Jupiter's southern and northern lights the brightest in the solar system?

"What Juno's about is looking beneath that surface," Juno chief scientist Scott Bolton said before the arrival. "We've got to go down and look at what's inside, see how it's built, how deep these features go, learn about its real secrets."

There's also the mystery of its Great Red Spot. Recent observations by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the centuries-old monster storm in Jupiter's atmosphere is shrinking.

The trek to Jupiter, spanning nearly five years and 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers), took Juno on a tour of the inner solar system followed by a swing past Earth that catapulted it beyond the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Along the way, Juno became the first spacecraft to cruise that far out powered by the sun, beating Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft. A trio of massive solar wings sticks out from Juno like blades from a windmill, generating 500 watts of power to run its nine instruments.

In the coming days, Juno will turn its instruments back on, but the real work won't begin until late August when the spacecraft swings in closer. Plans called for Juno to swoop within 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) of Jupiter's clouds - closer than previous missions - to map the planet's gravity and magnetic fields in order to learn about the interior makeup.

Juno is an armored spacecraft - its computer and electronics are locked in a titanium vault to shield them from harmful radiation. Even so, Juno is expected to get blasted with radiation equal to more than 100 million dental X-rays during the mission.

Like Galileo before it, Juno meets its demise in 2018 when it deliberately dives into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrates - a necessary sacrifice to prevent any chance of accidentally crashing into the planet's potentially habitable moons.

(courtesy: gadgets.ndtv.com)




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126 killed in two Baghdad bombings, ISIS claims responsibility
03.07.16 - TEAM PT
126 killed in two Baghdad bombings, ISIS claims responsibility



A suicide car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group ripped through a busy Baghdad shopping district on Sunday, killing at least 126 people in the deadliest attack this year in Iraq's capital.

The blast hit the Karrada district early in the day as the area was packed with shoppers ahead of this week's holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

It came a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured Fallujah from IS, leaving Mosul as the only Iraqi city under the jihadist group's control.

The bombing also wounded more than 180 people, security officials said.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the offensive after a series of deadly bombings in Baghdad, saying Falluja served as a launch pad for such attacks on the capital. However, bombings have continued.

The anger of residents manifested itself when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other officials attempted to survey the bomb damage.

Amateur videos posted on social media showed residents throwing objects at a convoy carrying al-Abadi in Karrada. The videos showed protesters yelling "thief!" and "get out!"

In a statement, al-Abadi said he understands the reaction in "that moment of grief" by the residents who threw objects at his convoy.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the latest in a string of assaults during Ramadan, a period of fasting and prayer for Muslims and also a time when jihadists launch operations against those they regard as their enemies.

Comments posted on social media accused security forces of continuing to use fake bomb detectors at checkpoints filtering traffic in Baghdad, five years after the scandal broke out about a device commonly known as the 'magic wand'.

A police officer in Baghdad confirmed these hand-held ADE 651 detectors were still in use. They were sold to Iraq and other nations by a British businessman who was jailed for 10 years in 2013 in the United Kingdom for endangering lives for profit.

This flurry of ISIS strikes during Ramadan comes as the United States says the group is losing ground in the warfare across Syria and Iraq.

Iraqi forces announced last week they have seized the city of Falluja, 40 miles west of Baghdad, from ISIS. At the time, authorities assured Baghdad residents that the bombings would stop.




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Hillary Clinton questioned by FBI as part of email probe
02.07.16 - By Dan Berman, Evan Perez and Pamela Brown, CNN
Hillary Clinton questioned by FBI as part of email probe



Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton met with the FBI for three and a half hours Saturday as part of the investigation into her use of a private email server while leading the State Department, her campaign said.

"Secretary Clinton gave a voluntary interview this morning about her email arrangements while she was secretary," Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.
"She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion."
 
Clinton told MSNBC's Chuck Todd Saturday evening that the interview was something "I had been eager to do."
 
An aide said the interview occurred at FBI headquarters in Washington Saturday morning. The FBI declined to comment.
 
The meeting signals the investigation is coming to an end, and sources tell CNN the expectation is Clinton will not face charges.
 
Still, the probe has cast a shadow over Clinton's campaign, and news of FBI agents interviewing the former secretary of state gave Republicans an opportunity to pounce
after Clinton has spent weeks at the top of most polls. It has also put the Justice Department in the position of having a major impact on the 2016 race -- a role made even more awkward this week by an unplanned meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch that raised questions about the impartiality of the probe.
 
The question now becomes how long it will take for the FBI to conclude its probe.
 
Within the next two weeks or so, the expectation is there will be an announcement of no charges being brought against Clinton so long as no evidence of wrongdoing emerges from her interview with the FBI, sources familiar with the investigation told CNN. CNN has previously reported no charges were expected to be brought against Clinton because the investigators had not found evidence to warrant charges, according to multiple law enforcement officials. A Democrat close to Clinton said Saturday the campaign believes the FBI will announce its decision before the conventions.
 
Sources familiar with the investigation had previously told CNN the Justice Department's aim was to wrap up before the Republican and Democratic conventions later this month. The timing is crucial, because if Clinton were to be indicted before the convention, Democrats could perhaps nominate another candidate.
 
Asked about reports that she is unlikely to face charges, Clinton told Todd, "I am not going to comment on the process. I have no knowledge of any timelines. This is entirely up to the department."
 
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said it was "impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton."
 
"It is impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. What she did was wrong! What Bill did was stupid!" Trump tweeted, referring to the former president's meeting with Lynch.
 
After reports surfaced that Clinton was unlikely to be charged, Trump then tweeted, "It was just announced-by sources-that no charges will be brought against Crooked Hillary Clinton. Like I said, the system is totally rigged!"
 
Asked by CNN's Brianna Keilar in a "State of the Union" interview Saturday about the possibility of the presumptive Democratic nominee being indicted, New Jersey senator -- and potential Clinton running mate -- Cory Booker flatly ruled out the possibility.
 
"That's just not going to happen," said Booker, who declined to answer whether the former secretary of state should step aside in favor of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or Vice President Joe Biden if she's indicted before the election.
 
"That's something that, to me, is not even within the realm of possibility," Booker said.
 
(Courtesy : CNN)





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