Two Southeast Asian women on trial in Malaysia for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother could be acquitted Thursday or called to enter their defense in a case that has gripped the world.
Anglo-American biotech company Orchard Therapeutics has raised a further $150 million (117.7 million pounds) to fund its work in gene therapy, building on earlier fundraisings worth more than $140 million (109.8 million pounds). The new financing comes four months after its acquisition of a portfolio of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) rare disease medicines, including the gene therapy Strimvelis for ADA severe combined immune deficiency (ADA-SCID), or "bubble baby" disease. Gene therapy is a hot area for drug research - highlighted by Novartis's (NOVN.S) $8.7 billion (6.8 billion pounds) acquisition of AveXis in April - but products sold to Orchard are viewed as too niche for GSK as it refocuses its drug research under CEO Emma Walmsley.
It only takes one sleepless night to ruin social interactions and make people feel lonely, a new study showed. "Mother nature took millions of years to perfect our sleep and we just shaved off over an hour to fit our lifestyle," Dr. Matt Walker, founder and director of Center for Human Sleep Science at University of California-Berkeley and lead author of the study told ABC News. To better understand the social effects that poor sleep can create, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a series of experiments using brain imaging, paired with surveys that helped rate the participants' loneliness and videos that simulated real-life scenarios.
Manmade global warming and a natural surge in the Earth's surface temperature will join forces to make the next five years exceptionally hot, according to a study published Tuesday. The joint effects of climate change and so-called natural variability more than doubles the likelihood of "extreme warm events" in ocean surface waters, creating a dangerous breeding ground for hurricanes and typhoons, the study suggests. "This warm phase is reinforcing long-term climate change," lead author Florian Sevellec, a climate scientist at the University of Brest in France, said. "This particular phase is expected to continue for at least five years." Earth's average surface temperature has always fluctuated. Over the last million years, it vacillated roughly every 100,000 years between ice ages and balmy periods warmer than today. Over the last 11,000 years, those variations have become extremely modest, allowing our species to flourish. Manmade climate change - caused by billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases injected into the atmosphere, mainly over the last century - has come on top of those small shifts, and today threatens to overwhelm them. Teasing apart the influence of carbon pollution and natural variation has long bedevilled scientists trying to quantify the impact of climate change on cyclones, droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather. Sevellec and his colleagues tackled the problem in a different way. First, they focused on the natural fluctuations that - for most climate scientists - are "noise" obscuring the climate change fingerprint. People bathe during a heatwave in Stockholm, Sweden Credit: TT News Agency Second, they used a streamlined statistical approach rather than the comprehensive climate models that generate most long-term forecasts. "We developed a system for predicting interannual" - or short-term - "natural variations in climate," Sevellec said. "For the period 2018-2022, we found an anomaly equivalent to the impact of anthropogenic warming." Natural warming, in other words, will have about the same impact as manmade climate change over the next five years. The likelihood of a marine heatwave or other ocean "warming events" is predicted to increase by 150 percent. The new method - dubbed PROCAST, for PRObabilistic foreCAST - was tested against past temperature records and proved at least as accurate as standard models. Heatwave | Winners and Losers It can be run in seconds on a laptop, rather than requiring weeks of computing time on a super-computer. "This opens up the possibility of doing climate forecasts to more researchers, especially in countries that don't have easy access to super-computers," Sevellec said. The researchers intend to adapt their system to make regional predictions, and - in addition to temperature - to estimate rainfall and drought trends. The Paris climate treaty calls for capping global warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius, and 1.5 C if deemed feasible. On current trends, however, Earth is on track to heat up by twice that much before the end of the century.
The cells in our body are constantly changing and mutating, and it's specific harmful types of mutations that can cause cancer. Logic would suggest that larger organisms, which have larger volumes of cells, should develop cancer a lot more often than smaller ones. This does not hold true for elephants.
Among the enemies, rivals and random targets he has compared to a dog are Mitt Romney (“he choked like a dog”) Ted Cruz (he “lies like a dog”) and conservative writer Brent Bozell (came “begging for money like a dog”).
Recently, a 911 call from the other side of the spectrum reached Chief Wallace’s dispatcher: a mom requesting an officer to talk to her 7-year-old, who refused to go to school. Decent pay, sometimes quirky but always critical work, and keys to a take-home cruiser are among the perks to being a Floyd County Police Department officer – 53 deputized men and women patrolling 500 square miles of Appalachian highlands. Like thousands of small-town and big-city police chiefs across the US, Wallace says his biggest challenge isn’t busting counterfeiters or conducting manhunts – at least not of the traditional sort.
Over the past year, the long war in Afghanistan has seen no strategic breakthroughs. This includes strengthening the Afghan government and its security forces while eliminating any terrorism threat, especially from the Afghan branch of Islamic State (ISIS). It is working closely with President Ashraf Ghani, who has made courageous gestures toward the Taliban and a peace process.
President Trump has proven to be a fan of economic sanctions and penalties. Recommended: Did Turkey end its state of emergency or make it permanent? Such use of economic punishment to try to influence the actions of a friend and ally is at least unusual, experts in international sanctions say, if not unprecedented.
Madame Tussauds in Berlin unveiled its latest attraction on Tuesday - a posturing Donald Trump figure striking a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a punchball. Unlike the usual wax figures, the new moving "Trump" in the Berlin museum is an actor wearing a silicone mask modeled on the billionaire U.S. president, dancing to the Abba hit "Money, Money, Money". Relations between the two leaders got off to a frosty start, although Trump said they had had a "great meeting" on the sidelines of a NATO summit last month.
Every year our skies are lit up by returning meteor showers, from Perseids to Lyrids, Orionids to Geminids. If the weather conditions are in our favour and the moon isn't too bright, there's a chance you'll be able to see some spectacular shooting stars in action. Here is our guide to the must-see meteor showers of 2018 – including the spectacular Perseids shower which was at its peak overnight – as well as where and how to see them. What exactly is a meteor shower? A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of a comet - or, in simpler terms, when a number of meteors flash across the sky from roughly the same point. Meteors are sometimes called shooting stars, although they actually have nothing to do with stars. Perseids meteor shower 2018 - in pictures Perspective makes meteor showers appear to emanate from a single point in the sky known as the shower radiant. A typical meteor results from a particle the size of a grain of sand vaporising in Earth’s atmosphere when it enters at 134,000mph. Something larger than a grape will produce a fireball and this is often accompanied by a persistent afterglow known as a meteor train. This is a column of ionised gas slowly fading from view as it loses energy. Meteor, meteorid or meteroite? Let's get this straight. A meteor is a meteoroid – or a particle broken off an asteroid or comet orbiting the Sun – that burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere creating the effect of a "shooting star". Meteoroids that reach the Earth's surface without disintegrating are called meteorites. Meteors are mostly pieces of comet dust and ice no larger than a grain of rice. Meteorites are principally rocks broken off asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and can weigh as much as 60 tonnes. They can be "stony", made up of minerals rich in silicon and oxygen, "iron", consisting mainly of iron and nickel, or "stony-iron", a combination of the two. The Geminids meteor shower in Vladivostok, Russia in December 2017 Credit: Yuri Smityuk Scientists think about 1,000 tons to more than 10,000 tons of material from meteors falls on Earth each day, but it's mostly dust-like grains, according to Nasa, and they pose no threat to Earth. There are only two incidents recorded where people reported being injured by a meteorite, including one in 1954 when a woman was bruised by a meteorite weighing eight pounds after it fell through her roof. When is the next meteor shower? The meteor shower currently gracing our skies is the Perseids, which began in the middle of July and grows in intensity before peaking in mid-August every year. The shower appears to originate from within the star constellation Perseus – hence the shower's name. It occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The wonderfully named comet is the largest object known to repeatedly pass Earth (it's 16 miles wide). It orbits the sun ever 133 years and each time it passes through the inner solar system it warms up, releasing fresh comet material into its orbital stream. The last time it was closest to the sun was in December 1992. It will be back again in July 2126. Perseid meteor radiant When can I see the Perseid meteor shower? The window for the current Perseid meteor shower is from July 17 to August 24 2018. Stargazers stand a chance of seeing the shower at any point in this window, however the peak will occur between August 12 and August 13. The best time to take a look at the sky will be from about 1am BST in the Northern Hemisphere until the onset of dawn twilight. Peak rates of 150-200 meteors per hour were recorded in 2016, but typical rates are about 80 meteors an hour streaking across the night sky, each leaving a trail. To see it, look at a height approximately two-thirds up the sky in any direction. If you want a recommendation, east through south offers some great background constellations in the early hours during August. Look for the shower's "radiant" from the north-east corner of Perseus. 2018 | Major meteor showers The best stargazing spots in the UK A dark night is best for a meteor shower, after midnight and before dawn. Head somewhere away from the bright lights - into more rural areas if you can - and be prepared to wait a good hour if you want the best chance of seeing a shower. Look for a wide, open viewing area - perhaps a national park or large field on the side of a road - and make sure you concentrate your gaze towards the east. Meteor showers are unpredictable though, so prepare for the fact you might not see much. Choose a dark location away from stray lights and give yourself at least 20 minutes in total darkness to properly dark adapt. Britain has some wonderful stargazing locations, including three "Dark Sky Reserves" (Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Exmoor national parks) and Europe's largest "Dark Sky Park" (Northumberland National Park and the adjoining Kielder Water and Forest Park). best stargazing locations Galloway Forest Park: Galloway is a couple of hours from Glasgow and an hour from Carlisle. The park's most popular spot for stargazing is Loch Trool. Exmoor and around: Exmoor was granted International Dark-Sky Reserve status by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2011. Light pollution is managed to make the area more appealing to amateur astronomers. Romney Marsh: Night once provided cover for smugglers known as Owlers, but today Romney Marsh offers celestial bounty, arching over a landscape adorned with the spires of ancient churches. Kielder: Kielder Forest is officially the darkest place in England – 250 square miles of wooded beauty where Northumberland brushes against Scotland. It has its own fabulous, modern, wood-clad observatory on the slopes of Black Fell above Kielder Water. North York Moors: As well as stunning night skies, the North York Moors boast historic market towns such as Helmsley and Pickering, plus appealing coastal spots, including Scarborough and Whitby. The other major meteor showers to look out for in 2018 The Quadrantid meteor shower The Quadrantids was the first major meteor shower of 2018; it peaked at around 8pm on January 3 when between 10 and 60 meteors were shooting per hour. It had a sharp peak, which means the best of the shower only lasted a few hours - although it remained active until January 12th. First spotted in 1825 by the Italian astronomer Antonio Brucalassi, astronomers suspect the shower originates from the comet C/1490 Y1, which was first observed 500 years ago by Japanese, Chinese and Korean astronomers. Why is it called Quadrantid? The Quadrantids appear to radiate from the extinct constellation Quadrans Muralis, which is now part of the Boötes constellation and not far from the Big Dipper. Because of the constellation's position in the sky, the shower is often impossible to see in the Southern Hemisphere - however there is a chance of spotting it up to 51 degrees south latitude. The best spots to see the display are in countries with high northern latitudes, like Norway, Sweden, Canada and Finland. The Lyrid meteor shower The Lyrid meteor shower takes places annually between April 16 and April 25. In 2018, it peaked on the morning of April 22, with the greatest number of meteors falling during the few hours before dawn. With no moon, stargazers might have been able to see between 10 and 20 Lyrid meteors per hour at the shower's peak. Lyrid meteors are typically as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, but some are much more intense, even brighter than Venus, the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Called "Lyrid fireballs", these cast shadows for a split second and leave behind smokey debris trails that linger for minutes. Tim Peake space pictures What causes the Lyrid meteor shower? The ionised gas in the meteors' trail burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere, creates the glow which can be seen streaking across the night sky. The shower occurs as the Earth passes through the dust left over from Comet Thatcher (C/186 G1), which makes a full orbit of the sun once every 415 years (which is why there are no photographs of it). Flakes of comet dust, most no bigger than grains of sand, strike Earth's atmosphere traveling 49 km/s (110,000 mph) and disintegrate as streaks of light. Comet Thatcher last visited the inner solar system in 1861 - before the widespread use of photography - and isn’t expected to return until the year 2276. How did the Lyrids get its name? The shower radiates out from the direction of the star Vega, the brightest light in the constellation Lyra the Harp, from which it takes its name. Vega is a brilliant blue-white star about three times wider than our Sun and 25 light years away. The Lyrids radiating from the vicinity of the blue star Lyra Credit: earthsky.org You might remember Vega being mentioned in Carl Sagan's movie Contact - it was the source of alien radio transmissions to Earth. When were the Lyrids first observed and recorded? The earliest sightings of the Lyrid meteor shower go back 2,700 years and are among the oldest of known meteor showers. In the year 687 BC the ancient Chinese observed the meteors and recorded them in the ancient Zuo Zhan chronicles saying: "On the 4th month in the summer in the year of xīn-mǎo (of year 7 of King Zhuang of Lu), at night, (the sky is so bright that some) fixed stars become invisible (because of the meteor shower); at midnight, stars fell like rain. That era of Chinese history corresponds with what is now called the Spring and Autumn Period (about 771 to 476 BC). Tradition associates this period with the Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius, one of the first to espouse the principle: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” American observers saw an outburst of nearly 100 Lyrid meteors per hour in 1982. Around 100 meteors per hour were seen in Greece in 1922 and from Japan in 1945. The Orionid meteor shower The Orionid meteors appear every year, with showers producing around 20 meteors every hour. The shower is active throughout October until November 7, but the best time to see it will be on October 20 between midnight and dawn, when the sky is darkest and the shower will be at its brightest. Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich said:"If you can brave the cold, make a plan to stay out and enjoy the thrill of seeing tiny flecks of Halley's Comet disintegrate at hypersonic speeds above your head." He advises finding a secluded spot and allowing the eyes to adjust to the darkness. Orionid meteors streak across the sky over Kula town of Manisa, Turkey on October 21, 2017 Credit: Anadolu Agency Mr Kerss said: "There's no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope, your eyes are the best tool available for spotting meteors, so relax and gaze up at the sky, and eventually your patience will be rewarded. "Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, though if you have to pick a direction, you might fare slightly better looking east." The meteoroids from Halley's Comet strike Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 148,000mph, (238,000kph) burning up in streaking flashes of light that can be seen with the naked eye. Orionid meteors are known for their speed and brilliance, so if you persevere there's a good chance you'll see several bright 'shooting stars' zipping across the sky. The Orionid Meteor Shower is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Halley's Comet - the other is the Eta Aquarids, which occurs in May. Unfortunately, Halley's Comet itself has not been visible from Earth since 1986. Why is it called Orionid? It's named Orionid because it appears to radiate from the constellation Orion. Orion is one of the brightest and best known constellations and contains two of the 10 brightest stars in the sky Rigel and Betelgeuse, as well as the famous Orion's Belt. Orion's Belt is made up of three bright stars quite close together almost in a straight line, and is about 1,500 light years from us on Earth. Orion has been known since ancient times and is also referred to as Hunter thanks to Greek mythology. He is often seen in star maps facing Taurus, the bull. The Geminid meteor shower The Geminids are an annual meteor shower caused by the 3200 Phaethon asteroid. Its orbit brings it very close to the sun, causing its surface material to crumble and break off. The Earth passes through this space debris every December, which burns up as hits our atmosphere. These are the meteors visible in our sky. The Geminids were first observed relatively recently, in 1862, compared with the Perseids (36AD) and the Leonids (902AD). The meteor shower appears to come from a point in the constellation Gemini, hence its name. The Geminids meteor shower over Egersheld Cape on Russky Island in the Sea of Japan in December 2017 Credit: Yuri Smityuk When can it be seen? The next Geminid meteor shower can be seen from around December 4th to 17th, with peak activity from about 10pm on December 13th and into the early hours of the 14th. Sightings are possible around the world, but there's good news for Britons: the shower favours observers in the Northern Hemisphere over those in the Southern. If you're lucky you could see up to 100 meteors or 'shooting stars' every hour. You can spot the meteors anywhere, but they will appear to come from the Gemini constellation. Stars in the Milky Way over Kielder Forest Credit: Owen Humphreys During December, it begins the evening in the east and moves across the sky to the west during the night. Find Orion's Belt - three bright stars positioned in a row - and then look above it and a little to the left. They will appear as streaks of light, and will sometimes arrive in bursts of two or three. They vary in colour, depending on their composition. An average of 120 meteors an hour - or two a minute - can be expected, or more during the 2am peak.
The United States voiced deep suspicion on Tuesday over Russia's pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an "abnormal" way. Russia's pursuit of counterspace capabilities was "disturbing", Yleem D.S. Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, told the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament which is discussing a new treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the Geneva forum in February, said a priority was to prevent an arms race in outer space, in line with Russia's joint draft treaty with China presented a decade ago.
President Trump on Tuesday continued to lash out at Omarosa Manigault-Newman over explosive claims in his former “Celebrity Apprentice” co-star turned White House aide makes about him in her new book, “Unhinged.”
The United States voiced deep concern on Tuesday about Russia's pursuit of weapons including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, as well as its putting into orbit of a new "space apparatus inspector". Yleem D.S. Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, was addressing the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament in Geneva which has been discussing a new treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. "To the United States this is yet further proof that the Russian actions do not match their words," she told the forum.
After earning her master’s degree, Robin Berkley spent more than a decade working on education policy and programming. Once a week after hours, she’d walk from her office across the National Mall to tutor Devin. “I just got really moved by working with children and getting to go from the 50,000-foot ether, where you’re basically trying to support, inform, and influence people at the state level, to seeing the end result,” Ms. Berkley says.