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|Trump's North Korea envoy Biegun: a capable man in an impossible job?
Stephen Biegun, named Donald Trump's special envoy for North Korea six months ago, flew to Hanoi ahead of the Feb. 27-28 meeting in the Vietnamese capital where Trump hopes to get closer to his goal of persuading Pyongyang to give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States. In meetings with his North Korean counterpart, Biegun, a 55-year-old former Ford Motor Co executive, aims to hammer out a joint summit statement showing concrete progress beyond vague commitments agreed by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their first meeting in June. Such experience could prove helpful in explaining what is achievable to Trump, who came into office similarly lacking in diplomatic experience and has set his sights on North Korea as one issue he can tout as a major success that has eluded his predecessors.
POSTED FEBRUARY 23, 2019 8:05 AM
|Activists worry that Jussie Smollett arrest will discourage hate-crime reporting by real victims
The dramatic turn of events in the Jussie Smollett case was treated by Trump as a vindication, and disheartened gay rights and civil rights advocates who fear that it will discourage future victims of hate crimes from coming forward.
POSTED FEBRUARY 21, 2019 5:58 PM
|Airlines admit having cameras installed on back of passengers’ seats
Three of the world’s biggest airlines have admitted some of their planes have cameras installed on the backs of passenger seats. American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have new seat-back entertainment systems that include cameras. Companies that make the entertainment systems are fitting them with cameras to offer passengers options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.
POSTED FEBRUARY 23, 2019 12:28 PM
|Southwest Airlines flights temporarily grounded due to computer outage
Southwest temporarily grounded flights early Friday due to a computer glitch. The airline has been plagued by flight cancellations this week.
POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2019 11:52 AM
|Fiery Skirmishes Erupt as Guaido Tries to Bring Venezuela Aid
On the border with Colombia, National Guard soldiers fired volleys of tear gas and plastic pellets at supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who were trying to persuade them to defect and permit tons of food and medicine into the country. Masked paramilitary gangs supporting the autocrat Maduro tore through the area there on motorcycles, firing guns in the air. Maduro said on state television that his forces had managed to repel an invasion and said he was breaking off diplomatic relations with Colombia.
POSTED FEBRUARY 23, 2019 3:28 PM
|Japanese probe touches down on asteroid in hunt for clues about origin of life
A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 170 million miles from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system landed successfully on Friday. Data from the probe, Hayabusa2, showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had touched down on the asteroid and was blasting back to its orbiting position, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A live webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA staff members nervously monitoring data ahead of the touchdown before exploding into applause after receiving a signal from the probe that it had landed. "We confirmed the touchdown," JAXA spokeswoman Chisato Ikuta told AFP. Ms Ikuta said the control centre had "received data that shows that the probe is working normally and is healthy." Scientists were continuing to gather and analyse data from the probe, she said. The probe was due to fire a bullet at the Ryugu asteroid, to stir up surface matter, which the probe will then collect for analysis back on Earth. This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 approaching on the asteroid Ryugu Credit: AP The asteroid, named after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 3,000 feet in diameter. It is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born. Hayabusa2 will eventually fire an "impactor" to blast out material from underneath Ryugu’s surface, allowing the collection of "fresh" materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation. Scientists hope those samples may provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth. After the landing, the probe was to return to its orbit above Ryugu, with further touchdowns planned for later in the year. Communication with Hayabusa2 is cut off at times because its antennas are not always pointed towards Earth and it could take several more days to confirm the bullet was actually fired to allow the collection of samples. This image taken at an altitude of about 64 metres by Hayabusa2 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the surface of asteroid Ryugu Credit: AP The mission has not been completely plain sailing and the probe’s landing was originally scheduled for last year. But it was pushed back after surveys found the asteroid’s surface was more rugged than initially thought, forcing JAXA to take more time to find a suitable landing site. The Hayabusa2 mission, with a price tag of around 30 billion yen (£208 million), was launched in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020. Photos of Ryugu – which means "Dragon Palace" in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale – show an asteroid shaped a bit like a spinning top with a rough surface. Staff of the Hayabusa2 Project watch monitors for a safety check at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo Credit: AP Hayabusa2 observes the surface of the asteroid with its camera and sensing equipment but has also dispatched two tiny MINERVA-II rover robots as well as the French-German robot MASCOT to help surface observation. Scientists are already receiving data from these probes deployed on the surface of the asteroid. The 22-pound observation robot MASCOT is loaded with sensors, and can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields. At about the size of a large fridge, Hayabusa2 is equipped with solar panels and is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa – Japanese for falcon. That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year Odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.
POSTED FEBRUARY 21, 2019 8:30 PM
|Disabled greeter meets with Walmart about job; no resolution
A beloved, longtime Walmart greeter with cerebral palsy met with store management in Pennsylvania on Friday in a bid to keep his job but came away with no guarantees, and his family is girding for a fight.
POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2019 5:44 PM
|At Pope's abuse summit, Church seeks to fix 'systematic failures'
Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Mumbai spoke on the second day of a conference of some 200 senior Church officials convened by Pope Francis to confront what he has called the scourge of sexual abuse by the clergy. Various aspects of the sexual abuse crisis made 2018 the worst year for the pope since his election in 2013. Last week, Theodore McCarrick, once a powerful cardinal in the U.S. Church, was dismissed from the priesthood after the Vatican found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and adults over decades.
POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2019 7:53 AM
|Masood Azhar, militant leader at the heart of the Kashmir crisis
For eight days in 1999 the world watched in horror as hijackers diverted an Indian Airlines flight to Afghanistan and held the passengers hostage, the drama ending only when Delhi agreed to release three Kashmiri militants. Nearly 20 years later, India is still paying the price for that decision. One of the militants freed was Masood Azhar, who later went on to found Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the militant group which claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in three decades in Indian-held Kashmir.
POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2019 1:00 AM
|N. Korea's Kim to make official visit to Vietnam in 'coming days'
North Korea's Kim Jong Un will soon make an official visit to Vietnam, Hanoi said Saturday as it beefed up security on the Chinese border where Kim is expected to cross by train ahead of his summit with US President Donald Trump next week. Vietnam is hastily preparing for a second summit between Trump and Kim on February 27-28 in Hanoi, and sources have said the North Korean leader is likely to arrive ahead of the meeting for an official visit and to tour industrial zones.
POSTED FEBRUARY 23, 2019 1:24 AM