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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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US deploys spy satellite fleet, details surveillance operations

An avalanche of reconnaissance satellites has recently been en route to orbit, partly as a competition between North and South Korea to gain visual access to the sky. What, then, is the purpose of all those satellites in space? Tuesday marked the second reconnaissance satellite to enter orbit in as many days; the first was launched into orbit by the United States.

Climate change may prompt earlier cicada emergence, US prepares

According to experts, climate change may be gradually modifying the range and behaviour of cicadas, as billions of these insects are projected to invade the United States. Beginning later this month, broods of 13-year and 17-year cicadas will emerge simultaneously for the first time since 1803, marking one of the largest emergences in living memory.

Pelosi supports Democrats urging Biden to stop arms transfer

In a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, over thirty Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives have demanded an absolute cessation of arms transfers to Israel. The letter signed by the lawmakers on Friday, including former House speaker and Biden ally Nancy Pelosi, stated, "We believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers in light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis."

Pig kidney transplant patient exits MA hospital

Chronic kidney disease sufferer Richard "Rick" Slayman is looking forward to recovering from his "historic transplant" and spending time with his loved ones without the interruption of dialysis. The hospital has released the initial recipient of a kidney transplant derived from a genetically modified swine. Richard "Rick" Slayman was the first person in history to receive the organ in March from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, following a four-hour operation.

How will Baltimore Key Bridge debris be removed?

A temporary auxiliary channel was established around the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, where a cargo vessel collided last week, and the initial vessel has now passed through it. Early in the morning of March 26, the Dali container ship collided with the 1.6-mile-long (2.5-kilometer) bridge, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.

Trump posts $175m fraud bail to prevent asset seizure

In his civil fraud case in New York, former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million surety, preventing the seizure of assets that could have severely damaged his finances and reelection prospects. In February, Trump, who is vying for the presidency with US President Joe Biden, was found guilty of potentially misrepresenting his net worth by $2 billion to obtain more favourable loan and insurance terms.

US bridges at risk, including Golden Gate, Verrazzano

The most recent federal data indicates that at least seven bridges in the United States share comparable dimensions and height to the now-demolished Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore; thus, they, too, are susceptible to a similar catastrophe in the future. The National Bridge Inventory for 2023, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), identified several renowned bridges that comprise "fracture critical members," or sections of steel where even a single point failure could result in the structure's total collapse.

AT&T claims 73 million customer data leaked on ‘dark web’

Personal information, including Social Security numbers (SSNs), passcodes, and contact information, of millions of current and former AT&T customers was compromised online, according to the multinational corporation. The largest telecommunications provider in the United States, AT&T, issued a statement on Saturday stating that a recently discovered dataset on the "dark web" contained information for approximately 73 million affected accounts, including 7.6 million current AT&T account holders and 65.4 million former users.

Trump campaign criticizes Biden for Transgender Day declaration

The transgender community observes this day annually on March 31. However, the Democratic president's proclamation of this day on Easter Sunday has been met with disapproval from critics who noted that it conflicts with the holiday. Joe Biden's proclamation that Easter Sunday would be Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) has drawn criticism from the campaign of Donald Trump.

Is Israel’s Gaza war straining US-South Africa relations?

Amid tensions between the two countries, the United States House of Representatives is currently deliberating on a measure that proposes a reevaluation of the nation's relationship with South Africa. It is believed that the purpose of South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor's recent visit to Washington, DC, was to inform the US strategic community of Pretoria's stances on significant areas of divergence from Washington.

Baltimore bridge collapse: Divers locate two remains in truck

Two fatalities have been identified in a red pickup vehicle that was submerged at the location where the Baltimore bridge collapsed. A ship collided with the bridge, causing eight construction workers to be ejected into the water below. Despite the rescue of two of the workers that day, the search for the remaining four, who are presumed deceased, continues.

Pentagon head calls Gaza civilian deaths ‘far too high’

The Israeli counterpart to US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin stated that the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip is "exceedingly high." This statement was made one day after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution urging a cessation of hostilities in the Palestinian enclave embroiled in conflict. Austin stated at the outset of a Tuesday meeting with Gallant in Washington, DC, that humanitarian aid to Gaza continues to be "grossly inadequate."

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Police threaten arrest of ‘openly Jewish’ man near pro-Palestine march

Last Saturday in London, the leader of the Campaign Against Antisemitism was prevented from crossing a road near a pro-Palestine demonstration. A supporter of antisemitism was threatened with arrest mere yards from a pro-Palestine march, with one Metropolitan Police officer characterising his presence as "antagonising."

G7 nations criticise Chinese funding for Russia’s weapons industry

The "strong concern" expressed by foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations regarding transferring weapon components and materials from Chinese enterprises to Russia in preparation for its military offensive in Ukraine has been documented. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken exhorted his counterparts on Friday at a meeting on the Italian island of Capri to increase pressure on China, which the United States accuses of assisting Russia's war effort by supplying critical components for weaponry.

Israel’s attack on Iran: Crisis demonstrates Iran-Israel miscommunication

The Israeli assault on Iran did not elicit the severe reaction that Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, had anticipated. They have been advocating for Israel to establish a clear boundary in the perilous sequence of occurrences that commenced on April 1 with the assassination of a senior Iranian general in Damascus by Israel. The conflict in Gaza has persisted for over six months after the Hamas assaults on Israel, and it has extended to the vicinity encompassing the Lebanon-Israel border and the Gulf.

Saga boosted by ocean and river cruise demand

New results indicate that Saga's cruise and travel divisions returned to profitability in 2018 due to a significant increase in demand. According to preliminary annual results, the group's ocean cruise division generated an underlying pre-tax profit of £35.5 million in the year ending in January, compared to a loss of £700,000 in the prior year. The organisation stated, "Bookings for ocean cruises continue to be exceptionally robust, and we have already secured a 78% load factor and £3,679 per diem for 2024/25."