Scientists confirm cave on the moon that could be used to shelter future explorers

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Scientists have confirmed a cave on the moon, not far from where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed 55 years ago, and suspect there are hundreds more that could house future astronauts. An Italian-led team reported Monday that there's evidence for a sizable cave accessible from the deepest known pit on the moon. It's located at the Sea of Tranquility, just 250 miles (400 kilometers) from Apollo 11's landing site. The pit, like the more than 200 others discovered up there, was created by the collapse of a lava tube. Researchers analyzed radar measurements by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and compared the results with lava tubes on Earth. Their findings appeared in the journal Nature Astronomy.  ...


From basement to battlefield: Ukrainian startups create low-cost robots to fight Russia

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Northern Ukraine — Struggling with manpower shortages, overwhelming odds and uneven international assistance, Ukraine hopes to find a strategic edge against Russia in an abandoned warehouse or a factory basement. An ecosystem of laboratories in hundreds of secret workshops is leveraging innovation to create a robot army that Ukraine hopes will kill Russian troops and save its own wounded soldiers and civilians. Defense startups across Ukraine — about 250 according to industry estimates — are creating the killing machines at secret locations that typically look like rural car repair shops. Employees at a startup run by entrepreneur Andrii Denysenko can put together an unmanned ground vehicle called the Odyssey in four days at a shed used by the company. Its most important feature is the price tag: $35,000, or roughly 10%…


UN alarmed as childhood immunization levels stall

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Geneva — Global childhood vaccination levels have stalled, leaving millions more children un- or under-vaccinated than before the pandemic, the U.N. said Monday, warning of dangerous coverage gaps enabling outbreaks of diseases like measles. In 2023, 84% of children, or 108 million, received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP), with the third dose serving as a key marker for global immunization coverage, according to data published by the U.N. health and children's agencies. That was the same percentage as a year earlier, meaning that modest progress seen in 2022 after the steep drop during the COVID-19 crisis has "stalled," the organizations warned. The rate was 86% in 2019 before the pandemic. "The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children," UNICEF…


Stegosaurus nicknamed Apex will be auctioned in New York

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NEW YORK — The nearly complete fossilized remains of a 161-million-year-old stegosaurus discovered in Colorado in 2022 will be auctioned by Sotheby's in New York next week, auction house officials said. The dinosaur that Sotheby's calls Apex stands 3.3 meters tall and measures 8.2 meters nose to tail, according to Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby's global head of science and popular culture. The stegosaurus, with its distinctive pointy dorsal plates, is one of the world's most recognizable dinosaurs. Apex, which Hatton called "a coloring book dinosaur," was discovered in May 2022 on private land near the town of Dinosaur, Colorado. The excavation was completed in October 2023, Sotheby's said. Though experts believe stegosauruses used their fearsome tail spikes to fight, this specimen shows no signs of combat, Sotheby's said. The fossil does show…


DR Congo detects at least 25 mpox cases in Goma

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PARIS — At least 25 cases of a dangerous new strain of mpox spreading through the Democratic Republic of Congo have been detected in the eastern city of Goma, mostly in camps housing people fleeing a surrounding conflict, health authorities said Wednesday. Congo has seen 20,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths from mpox, mainly among children, since the start of 2023. Over 11,000 cases, including 443 deaths, have been reported so far this year. Authorities recently approved the use of vaccines to tackle the upsurge, but none are currently available outside of clinical trials in the country. The head of the national response team against the mpox epidemic, Cris Kacita, said in an interview that most of the new reported cases were in displaced people camps. He said cases were…


Elusive mid-sized black hole spotted at center of swallowed galaxy

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WASHINGTON — Astronomers have scrutinized a cluster of stars that is the apparent remnant core of a relatively small galaxy that was swallowed by the sprawling Milky Way 8 to 10 billion years ago. What lurks at the center of this cluster has them excited. The researchers said Wednesday the unusual motion of seven stars in this cluster provides compelling evidence for the presence of an elusive mid-sized black hole at its heart. These are bigger than the class of ordinary black holes formed in the implosion of a single star but smaller than the behemoths residing at the nucleus of most galaxies. The cluster, called Omega Centauri, contains about 10 million stars. The black hole within it is at least 8,200 times as massive as our sun, the researchers said.…


SpaceX rocket accident leaves Starlink satellites in wrong orbit 

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX rocket failed for the first time in nearly a decade, leaving the company's internet satellites in an orbit so low that they're doomed to fall through the atmosphere and burn up.  The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from California on Thursday night, carrying 20 Starlink satellites. Several minutes into the flight, the upper stage engine malfunctioned. SpaceX on Friday blamed a liquid oxygen leak.  The company said flight controllers managed to make contact with half of the satellites and attempted to boost them to a higher orbit using onboard ion thrusters. But with the low end of their orbit 135 kilometers above Earth — less than half what was intended — "our maximum available thrust is unlikely to be enough to successfully raise the satellites,"…


America’s pioneering sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer dies at 96

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NEW YORK — Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the diminutive sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author through her frank talk about once-taboo bedroom topics, has died. She was 96. Westheimer died on Friday at her home in New York City, surrounded by her family, according to publicist and friend Pierre Lehu. Westheimer never advocated risky sexual behavior. Instead, she encouraged an open dialogue on previously closeted issues that affected her audience of millions. Her one recurring theme was that there was nothing to be ashamed of. “I still hold old-fashioned values, and I'm a bit of a square,” she told students at Michigan City High School in 2002. “Sex is a private art and a private matter. But still, it is a subject we must talk about.”…


Demand for rare elements used in clean energy could help clean up abandoned coal mines in US

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MOUNT STORM, West Virginia — Down a long gravel road, tucked into the hills in West Virginia, is a low-slung building where researchers are extracting essential elements from an old coal mine that they hope will strengthen the nation's energy future. They aren't mining the coal that powered the steel mills and locomotives that helped industrialize America — and that is blamed for contributing to global warming. Rather, researchers are finding that groundwater pouring out of this and other abandoned coal mines contains the rare earth elements and other valuable metals that are vital to making everything from electric vehicle motors to rechargeable batteries to fighter jets smaller, lighter or more powerful. The pilot project run by West Virginia University is now part of an intensifying worldwide race to develop a…


EU accepts Apple plan to open iPhone tap-to-pay to rivals

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Brussels — The EU on Thursday approved Apple's offer to allow rivals access to the iPhone's ability to tap-to-pay within the bloc, ending a lengthy probe and sparing it a heavy fine. The case dates back to 2022 when Brussels first accused Apple of blocking rivals from its popular iPhone tap payment system in a breach of EU competition law. "Apple has committed to allow rivals to access the 'tap and go' technology of iPhones. Today's decision makes Apple's commitments binding," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "From now on, competitors will be able to effectively compete with Apple Pay for mobile payments with the iPhone in shops. So consumers will have a wider range of safe and innovative mobile wallets to choose from," she said. The EU…


Las Vegas hits record of fifth consecutive day of 46.1 Celsius or greater

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LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas baked Wednesday in its record fifth consecutive day of temperatures sizzling at 46.1 Celsius or greater amid a lengthening hot spell that is expected to broil much of the U.S. into the weekend. The temperature climbed to 46.1 shortly after 1 p.m. at Harry Reid International Airport, breaking the old mark of four consecutive days set in July 2005. And the record could be extended, or even doubled, by the weekend. Even by desert standards, the prolonged baking that Nevada's largest city is experiencing is nearly unprecedented, with forecasters calling it "the most extreme heat wave" since the National Weather Service began keeping records in Las Vegas in 1937. Already the city has broken 16 heat records since June 1, well before the official start of…


EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 Portable Power Station

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EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 Portable Power Station + 220W Solar Panel. 4kWh Capacity, 4kW Output Crafted with automotive-grade LFP cells, the EcoFlow DELTA Pro 3 features the industry's first IP65-rated battery pack, resisting impacts, water, dust, and fire. With 4000 cycles to 80%, enjoy 11 years* of daily power. Dependable in any weather, ensuring peace of mind. *Tested under controlled laboratory conditions with charging and discharging at 0.5C rate under 77°F conditions. X-Guard BMS monitors 44 safety indicators 24/7, app-managed for smart, secure energy. CTC design, UL-certified 5VA fireproof shell fortify DELTA Pro 3, setting new standards for resilience. 5-year warranty, streamlined support for swift solutions, minimal downtime. Quality redefined. Specs: Capacity: 4096Wh 4000W,6000W(X-Boost); Supports up to two DELTA Pro 3 Smart Extra Batteries / DELTA Pro Smart Extra Batteries;…


EcoFlow DELTA Pro Portable Power Station

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Introducing the world's first portable home battery with an expandable ecosystem for home backup, outdoor recreations, professional production, smart energy management, lower energy bills, and more. The EcoFlow DELTA Pro is the next leap in portable power technology, offering you power security and independence, wherever you are. Power for any situation. From tailgate power to extreme blackouts that last for days on end, DELTA Pro delivers up to 25kWh of capacity. With that, you're covered for any situation. That's the industry gold standard. All the AC output you’ll need. A single DELTA Pro unit packs a 3600W AC output, which can be expanded up to 4500W with X-Boost technology. Power 99.99% heavy-duty devices at home, outdoors, or at work. You can even pair two units together to achieve 7200W. The…


Astronauts confident Boeing space capsule can safely return to Earth

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Two astronauts who should have been back on Earth weeks ago said Wednesday that they're confident that Boeing's space capsule can return them safely, despite breakdowns. NASA test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams launched aboard Boeing's new Starliner capsule early last month, the first people to ride it. Leaks and thruster failures almost derailed their arrival at the International Space Station and have kept them there much longer than planned. In their first news conference from orbit, they said they expect to return once thruster testing is complete on Earth. They said they're not complaining about getting extra time in orbit and are enjoying helping the station crew. "I have a real good feeling in my heart that the spacecraft will bring us home, no problem,"…


Russian election meddlers hurting Biden, helping Trump, US intelligence warns

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WASHINGTON — Russia is turning to a familiar playbook in its attempt to sway the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election, looking for ways to boost the candidacy of former President Donald Trump by disparaging the campaign of incumbent President Joe Biden, according to American intelligence officials.  A new assessment of threats to the November election, shared Tuesday, does not mention either candidate by name. But an intelligence official told reporters that the Kremlin view of the U.S. political landscape has not changed from previous election cycles. "We have not observed a shift in Russia's preferences for the presidential race from past elections," the official told reporters, agreeing to discuss the intelligence only on the condition of anonymity. The official said that preference has been further cemented by “the role…


Europe’s Ariane 6 rocket successfully launches for first time

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Kourou, France — Europe's new Ariane 6 rocket successfully blasted off for the first time on Tuesday, releasing satellites into orbit and restoring the continent's independent access to space. European space efforts have suffered a series of blows, including four years of delays on Ariane 6, that have robbed the continent of its own way to launch missions into space for the past year.  But with the successful inaugural flight of Europe's most powerful rocket yet, European space chiefs were keen to move on from recent setbacks.  "It's a historic day for Europe," European Space Agency head Josef Aschbacher said.   "Europe is back," announced Philippe Baptiste, head of France's CNES space agency.  Surrounded by jungle on the South American coast, the rocket launched from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana…


Purdue Pharma secures litigation freeze after US Supreme Court ruling

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New York — Purdue Pharma on Tuesday received U.S. court approval for a 60-day freeze on lawsuits against its owners — members of the wealthy Sackler family — in its first court appearance since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling upended its bankruptcy settlement.   U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane granted an injunction at a court hearing in White Plains, New York, saying that a litigation cease-fire will give Purdue a chance to renegotiate a comprehensive settlement of lawsuits alleging that its painkiller OxyContin spurred an opioid addiction crisis in the U.S.   The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 27 that Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy settlement cannot shield the Sacklers, who did not file for bankruptcy themselves, over their role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.  The ruling sent Purdue back…


Former US Senator Inhofe, defense hawk and climate change skeptic, dies at 89

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OKLAHOMA CITY, oklahoma — Former Senator Jim Inhofe, a conservative known for his strong support of defense spending and his denial that human activity is responsible for the bulk of climate change, has died. He was 89.  Inhofe, a powerful fixture in Oklahoma politics for more than six decades, died Tuesday morning after suffering a stroke during the July Fourth holiday, his family said in a statement.  Inhofe, a Republican who underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in 2013 before being elected to a fourth term, was elected to a fifth Senate term in 2020, before stepping down in early 2023.  'The greatest hoax' Inhofe frequently criticized the mainstream science that human activity contributed to changes in the Earth's climate, once calling it "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." …


Nigeria’s bushmeat consumption comes under scrutiny

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Abuja — In Nigeria, bushmeat is more than just food, it's a culinary tradition and a trade. Despite the risk of zoonotic diseases like Ebola and Lassa fever, 45% of the country consumes bushmeat regularly, and now discussions to raise awareness are taking center stage. Following last week’s World Zoonoses Day celebrations, Nigeria's bush meat consumption comes under scrutiny due to the associated health risks. Abuja-based civil servant Barnabas Bagudu among the 45% of Nigerians who consume bushmeat frequently, despite being aware of the potential risks. His personal favorites include antelope, rabbit, grasscutter, and alligator. Bagudu emphasizes bushmeat's unique taste and cultural significance. "I like bushmeat so much that if I see it anywhere, I like to eat it, mostly antelope and rabbit. Since it is from bush, it's blessed by…


American mountaineer found mummified in Peru 22 years after vanishing

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LIMA, Peru — The preserved body of an American mountaineer — who disappeared 22 years ago while scaling a snowy peak in Peru — has been found after being exposed by climate change-induced ice melt, police said Monday. William Stampfl was reported missing in June 2002, aged 59, when an avalanche buried his climbing party on the mountain Huascaran, which stands more than 6,700 meters (22,000 feet) high. Search and rescue efforts were fruitless. Peruvian police said his remains were finally exposed by ice melt on the Cordillera Blanca range of the Andes. Stampfl's body, as well as his clothes, harness and boots had been well-preserved by the cold, according to images distributed by the police. His passport was found among his possessions in good condition, allowing police to identify the…


Park benches and grandmothers: Zimbabwe’s novel mental health therapy spreads overseas

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Harare, Zimbabwe — After her son, the family’s shining light and only breadwinner, was arrested last year, Tambudzai Tembo went into meltdown. In Zimbabwe, where clinical mental health services are scarce, her chances of getting professional help were next to zero. She contemplated suicide. “I didn’t want to live anymore. People who saw me would think everything was OK. But inside, my head was spinning,” the 57-year-old said. “I was on my own.” A wooden bench and an empathetic grandmother saved her. Older people are at the center of a homegrown form of mental health therapy in Zimbabwe that is now being adopted in places like the United States. The approach involves setting up benches in quiet, discreet corners of community clinics and in some churches, poor neighborhoods and at a…