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Shots fired in hip hop fight

A Florida man has been jailed on felony and misdemeanour charges after he fired a shot during a fight between the hip hop music group Migos and rapper Sean Kingston outside a Las Vegas Strip convention centre, police said Wednesday.

The gunshot was fired in the air and no one was reported to have been injured during the fracas Tuesday afternoon outside the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas police Officer Danny Cordero said.

Kingston and the three members of Migos, who perform under the names Quavo, Takeoff and Offset, were not identified as suspects in the case.

Mioses Johnson, 28, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was being held at the Clark County jail pending an initial court appearance on charges of felony assault with a weapon and carrying a firearm without a permit, and a misdemeanour count of discharging a gun where persons may be endangered.

Jail records didn't indicate if Johnson had an attorney.

Johnson was initially detained by event security guards, and a .380-calibre handgun was seized from him before his arrest, the police spokesman said.

Cordero identified Johnson as part of a group accompanying Kingston at the venue hosting an expo called Agenda at the same time as the larger MAGIC Las Vegas fashion convention at other event centres around town.

The physical confrontation near an outdoor Sands expo centre loading dock followed an argument inside stemming from a previous dispute between the two groups, Cordero said.

A spokeswoman for the expo centre and adjacent Venetian and Palazzo resorts referred questions about the incident to police.

Efforts to identify and contact representatives of Kingston and Migos weren't immediately successful.

Kingston, who also uses the name Kisean Anderson, was born in Miami and emerged as a musician in Jamaica.

Migos are related members of one family from the Atlanta area. Their debut album, Yung Rich Nation, was released in 2015.





Apollo 11 goes on tour

The Apollo 11 command module, which travelled more than 950,000 miles to take Americans to the moon and back in 1969, is going on a road trip, leaving the Smithsonian for the first time in more than four decades.

The capsule, named "Columbia," went on a tour of U.S. capitals following its historic role in the mission to the moon. But it has since made its home at the Smithsonian in Washington. On Wednesday, officials announced a four-city road tour ahead of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019. The capsule will visit museums in Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Seattle as part of a new exhibit: "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission."

Part of the reason for the tour is that the Smithsonian is working to renovate the gallery at its National Air and Space Museum in Washington that tells the story of the Apollo missions, but that exhibit isn't scheduled to open until 2020. Smithsonian space history department curator Allan Needell says the Smithsonian didn't want to just store the capsule and instead decided that "while we're preparing for its new home we could share it with other venues and have some broader access to it."

The command module is only a part of the spacecraft that blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on July 16, 1969, on an eight-day moon mission. The capsule, its interior about the size of a car, was the main work and living area for the three-man crew. And it was the craft astronaut Michael Collins piloted while his crewmates, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, descended to the moon's surface in the Lunar Module "Eagle."

The command module was the only part of the spacecraft to return to Earth, however, and that made it an object of fascination. More than 3 million people saw it and an accompanying moon rock during a tour of U.S. state capitals in 1970 and 1971. Americans often waited hours to get inside a trailer that housed the capsule during its tour. The capsule visited every state and missed only one state capital, visiting Anchorage in Alaska rather than Juneau, before it was transferred to the Smithsonian.

The Apollo 11 capsule is currently being readied for its trip at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Conservators are giving the capsule a full checkup — examining and documenting its condition before it goes on tour. One concern for Smithsonian conservator Lisa Young is the condition of the spacecraft's heat shield, which was designed to take a beating on its re-entry to Earth's atmosphere. Layers of the heat shield were designed to burn away when the craft re-entered the atmosphere and what remains will need to be stabilized before the capsule goes travelling.

The capsule will begin its tour in Houston in October of this year and spend about five months at each site, ending in Seattle where it will be for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing: July 20, 2019. The capsule also will visit: the Space Center Houston from Oct. 14, 2017, to March 18, 2018; the Saint Louis Science Center from April 14 to Sept. 3, 2018; the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh from Sept. 29, 2018, to Feb. 18, 2019; and The Museum of Flight in Seattle from March 16 to Sept. 2, 2019.



Duchess no pool shark

The Duchess of Cambridge has shown off her pool-playing skills — though one teenager was not impressed.

Visiting a mental health centre for children in South Wales on Wednesday, the former Kate Middleton spent time talking to children and teens with mental health issues before picking up a pool cue.

Kate, who wore a burgundy suit paired with knee-high boots, impressed in the style stakes — but her pool skills left much to be desired.

Craig Davies, a 15-year-old teenager at the centre, described her pool playing as "dreadful."

The duchess became royal patron of children's charity Action for Children in December when Queen Elizabeth II passed on some of her responsibilities due to her advancing age.



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Filling up at Virgin's tap

Altars to the Virgin of Guadalupe are ubiquitous at businesses across Mexico. Now federal police say one has even been used in a gasoline smuggling racket in the central state of Puebla.

Police said Tuesday that a trail of fuel leaking into the street in the town of San Martin Texmelucan led them into a lot where they found an altar to Mexico's patron saint with an unusual red hose protruding from it.

As they approached, a man carrying a gun got out of a vehicle and tried to flee. Police say they eventually caught him, and five other people accused of filling up from the Virgin's tap.

Thieves drill into thousands of pipelines across Mexico each year to steal fuel, creating heavy losses for the state-owned oil company Pemex.



Did we find life in space?

For the first time ever, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life.

This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday.

The planets circle tightly around a dim dwarf star called Trappist-1, barely the size of Jupiter. Three are in the so-called habitable zone, where liquid water and possibly life, might exist. The others are right on the doorstep.

Scientists said they need to study the atmospheres before determining whether these rocky, terrestrial planets could support some sort of life. But it already shows just how many Earth-size planets could be out there — especially in a star's sweet spot, ripe for extraterrestrial life.

The takeaway from all this is, "we've made a crucial step toward finding if there is life out there," said the University of Cambridge's Amaury Triaud, one of the researchers. The potential for more Earth-size planets in our Milky Way galaxy is mind-boggling.

"There are 200 billion stars in our galaxy," said co-author Emmanuel Jehin of the University of Liege. So do an account. You multiply this by 10, and you have the number of Earth-size planets in the galaxy — which is a lot."

Last spring, the University of Liege's Michael Gillon and his team reported finding three planets around Trappist-1. Now the count is up to seven, and Gillon said there could be more. Their latest findings appear in the journal Nature.

This compact solar system is reminiscent of Jupiter and its Galilean moons, according to the researchers.

Picture this: If Trappist-1 were our sun, all seven planets would be inside Mercury's orbit. Mercury is the innermost planet of our own solar system.

The ultracool star at the heart of this system would shine 200 times dimmer than our sun, a perpetual twilight as we know it. And the star would glow red — maybe salmon-colored, the researchers speculate.

"The spectacle would be beautiful because every now and then, you would see another planet, maybe about as big as twice the moon in the sky, depending on which planet you're on and which planet you look at," Triaud said Tuesday in a teleconference with reporters.

The Leiden Observatory's Ignas Snellen, who was not involved in the study, is excited by the prospect of learning more about what he calls "the seven sisters of planet Earth." In a companion article in Nature, he said Gillon's team could have been lucky in nabbing so many terrestrial planets in one stellar swoop.

"But finding seven transiting Earth-sized planets in such a small sample suggests that the solar system with its four (sub-) Earth-sized planets might be nothing out of the ordinary," Snellen wrote.

Gillon and his team used both ground and space telescopes to identify and track the planets, which they label simply by lowercase letters, "b'' through "h." As is typical in these cases, the letter "A'' — in upper case — is reserved for the star. Planets cast shadows on their star as they pass in front of it; that's how the scientists spotted them.



Solemn reminder returned

The wrought iron gate to the Nazis' Dachau concentration camp, which prompted an international outcry when it was stolen more than two years ago, has been returned to the German memorial site.

The gate, bearing the slogan "Arbeit macht frei," ("Work sets you free"), was located in Norway's western Bergen area after authorities received an anonymous tip late last year.

"We had almost given up hope and a replica had been made and installed at the original place," Gabriele Hammermann, the head of the memorial site, said as the gate was returned Wednesday.

The theft of the gate "was one of the worst attacks on the Dachau camp memorial," she said, adding that it remains very important to survivors that authorities continue the investigation into who stole the gate.

The theft in November 2014 was viewed by many as a desecration, as the cynical inscription has become a central symbol for the ordeal of the Nazi prisoners who had to walk past the gate every day on their way to slave labour work.

Israel's Yad Vashem memorial labeled the theft as "an offensive attack on the memory of the Holocaust."

The gate was found under a tarp at a parking lot in Ytre Arna, Norway.

The gate will not be returned to its original position, where the replica now stands, but will become part of the permanent exhibition, where it will be kept inside an air-conditioned glass cabinet equipped with an alarm system.



Trump to nix bathroom plan

A government official says the Trump administration will revoke guidelines that say transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

The decision would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive issued in May. It required public schools to grant bathroom access even if student records differ or others are uncomfortable. The White House says President Donald Trump believes the issue is for the states to decide without federal involvement.

A government official with direct knowledge of the administration's plans discussed them on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak on the record.

Although the guidance carried no force of law, transgender rights advocates say it was necessary to protect students from discrimination. Opponents argued it was overreach.



Lap dance on 100-year-old

Police say a caretaker was filmed performing a sexually provocative dance on a 100-year-old resident at an Ohio assisted living home and has been charged with gross sexual imposition.

Sandusky police say 26-year-old Brittany Fultz, of Marblehead, danced in front of and on the man in December, then showed her breasts and buttocks. Police say another caretaker recorded Fultz and later showed a supervisor, who reported the incident to police this month.

Fultz pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Her attorney says Fultz should be exonerated because it was a prank intended to make the man feel good. The attorney alleges that even though the resident has dementia, he had the capacity to say no, but didn't.

The second caretaker wasn't charged.

Authorities say the caretakers no longer work at the facility.



Russia's military upgrade

The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defence minister said Wednesday.

Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armoured vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year.

Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia's economic downturn.

Also this year, three regiments of Russia's strategic nuclear forces will receive new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Shoigu said. Each regiment has up to 10 launchers.

The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018.

A severe money crunch after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union left the military in tatters, with most of its planes grounded and ships left rusting at harbour for lack of funds. As part of President Vladimir Putin's military reforms, the armed forces have received new weapons and now engage in regular large-scale drills.

Russia has used its revived military capability in Syria, where it has launched an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and used the conflict to test its new weapons for the first time in combat.

The weapons modernization effort has seen the one-million Russian military narrow the technological gap in some areas where Russia had fallen behind the West, such as long-range conventional weapons, communications and drone technologies.

Shoigu said the military now has 2,000 drones compared to just 180 in 2011. He also noted that Russia has now deployed new long-range early warning radars to survey the airspace along the entire length of its borders.



SpaceX aborts approach

A navigation error forced SpaceX to delay its shipment to the International Space Station on Wednesday, following an otherwise flawless flight from NASA's historic moon pad.

SpaceX's supply ship, the Dragon, was less than a mile from the orbiting outpost when a problem cropped up in the GPS system. The approach was aborted, and the Dragon backed away. NASA said neither the station nor its six-person crew was in any danger.

"As a pilot it is sometimes better to accelerate and circle around than attempt a difficult landing," French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said in a tweet from the space station. "Same in space - we'll be ready tomorrow!"

SpaceX launched the Dragon capsule Sunday from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, out of action since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011. It's the same spot where astronauts flew to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. SpaceX has a 20-year lease with NASA for 39A; besides launching station cargo from there, the company hopes to send up astronauts as early as next year.



Avalanche buries highway

Another winter storm dumped record-breaking rain on Reno and pummeled the Sierra Nevada with three feet of snow on Tuesday, triggering an avalanche that buried a major highway near Lake Tahoe.

Up to another foot of snow was possible overnight with winds gusting up to 100 mph over the ridgetops above Lake Tahoe, where a winter storm warning remained in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Flood watches and warnings continued into Wednesday along the Sierra's eastern front along the California line north of Reno and across much of northern Nevada along the Interstate 80 corridor from Winnemucca to Elko. In Elko County, gusty winds ahead of the cold front topped 65 mph near Jarbidge along the Idaho line and Great Basin National Park on the Utah line.

No injuries were reported but the storm snarled traffic during the Tuesday morning commute in Reno and Sparks, and forced the closure of Interstate 80 over the top of the Sierra in whiteout conditions. Two motorists had to be rescued from stalled vehicles in high water Tuesday morning after they drove around barriers near the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Mount Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe remained closed after an avalanche sent a wall of snow 20 feet deep cascading down onto the highway about 9:15 p.m. Monday.

Avalanche warnings continued into Wednesday for much of the Sierra. Officials at Liberty Utilities said that threat slowed crews' response to hundreds of power outages west and north of Tahoe on Tuesday.

More than four feet of new snow was recorded Monday night and Tuesday at the Mount Rose ski resort southwest of Reno, where a record 52 feet of snow has fallen this season.

"The conditions are fierce," said CalTrans area superintendent Dave Wood, who was helping crews respond to a series of spinouts Tuesday on I-80 near Donner Pass west of Truckee, California. The interstate opened for a few hours at midday, but was closed in both directions again Tuesday evening west of Reno. Tire chains were mandatory on any highways that remained open over the mountain passes



Deportee camps loom

Mexicans fear deportee and refugee camps could be popping up along their northern border under the Trump administration's plan to start deporting to Mexico all Latin Americans and others who entered the U.S. illegally through this country.

Previous U.S. policy called for only Mexican citizens to be sent to Mexico. Migrants known as "OTMs" — Other Than Mexicans — got flown back to their homelands.

Now, under a sweeping rewrite of enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, migrants might be dumped over the border into a violence-plagued land where they have no ties while their asylum claims or deportation proceedings are heard in the United States. U.S. officials didn't say what Mexico would be expected to do with them.

The only consensus so far in Mexico is that the country isn't remotely prepared.

"Not in any way, shape or form," said the Rev. Patrick Murphy, a priest who runs the Casa del Migrante shelter in the border city of Tijuana, which currently houses about 55 Haitian immigrants. They were part of wave of thousands who swarmed to the border in the closing months of the Obama administration in hopes of getting asylum in the U.S.

Tijuana was overwhelmed, and while the government did little, a string of private Christian groups pitched in to open shelters with improvised bedding, tents and sanitary facilities. Donated food kept the Haitians going.

Mexicans quake at the thought of handling not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of foreigners in a border region already struggling with drug gangs and violence.

"Just look at the case of the Haitians in Tijuana, what were they, seven or eight thousand? And the situation was just out of control," said Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst. "Now imagine a situation 10 or 15 times that size. There aren't enough resources to maintain them."

It's unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. The DHS memo calls for the department to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.

"I hope Mexico has the courage to say no to this," Murphy said.



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