Scientist gets death reprieve
A Swedish-Iranian scientist facing execution for espionage on Wednesday has been granted a reprieve, his lawyer said. Ahmadreza Djalali had not been transferred out of Evin prison in Tehran to Raja’i Shahr jail as expected on Tuesday night, which would have been a prelude to his killing, the lawyer said. It was not immediately clear if the reprieve was temporary or arose from the intense public and diplomatic pressure placed on the Tehran authorities to re-examine his case. His wife, Vida Mehrannia, had been making media appeals for European governments to come to her husband’s aid.
Lotto players cry foul
An unusual sequence of numbers drawn by the national lottery has sparked accusations of fraud after 20 people won a share of the jackpot. The consecutive numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and a “PowerBall” number of 10 were the winning combination on Tuesday night. Twenty lucky players hit the jackpot and won 5.7 million rand (US$371,812) each. Another 79 won about 6,283 rand for guessing the sequence, but missing the PowerBall. Many perplexed players on Wednesday took to social media alleging the results has been fixed, while some called for a judicial graft probe. The National Lotteries Commission said the six consecutive number combination was unprecedented and vowed to look into the draw.
Mystery object a rocket
A mysterious object temporarily orbiting Earth is a 54-year-old rocket, not an asteroid after all, astronomers confirmed on Wednesday. Observations by a telescope in Hawaii clinched its identity, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said. The object was classified as an asteroid after its discovery in September, but NASA’s top asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, quickly suspected it was the Centaur upper rocket stage from Surveyor 2, a failed 1966 moon-landing mission. Chodas was proven right after a team led by the University of Arizona’s Vishnu Reddy used an infrared telescope in Hawaii to observe not only the mystery object, but a Centaur from 1971 still orbiting Earth. The data from the images matched. The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at 50,476km. It will depart the neighborhood in March, shooting back into its own orbit around the sun. Its next return: 2036.
New monolith appears
A new mystery metal monolith has appeared atop a mountain in California, just a week after a similar structure captured the imagination of the world when it was discovered in the deserts of Utah — before being taken down. The local newspaper in the small town of Atascadero reported that the silvery column had been found atop Pine mountain where dozens of local hikers made the trip to view it — and post their pictures on the Internet. “The three-sided obelisk appeared to be made of stainless steel, 10 feet [305cm] tall and 18 inches [46cm] wide. The object was welded together at each corner, with rivets attaching the side panels to a likely steel frame inside,” the Atascadero News reported. Unlike its Utah sibling — which was firmly mounted in the rocks where it was found — the Atascadero monolith was apparently a little wobbly and the newspaper reported that it might be possible to push it over.
When Melinda Gates asked her husband, Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates, to let her coauthor the 2013 annual letter about their foundation, the conversation blew up into a fight. “It got hot,” Melinda Gates wrote in her 2019 book The Moment of Lift. “Bill said the process we had for the Annual Letter had been working well for the foundation for years, and he didn’t see why it should change,” she wrote. Ultimately, Bill Gates agreed for her to write a separate piece about contraceptives, while he penned the main letter about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work. In the next year’s letter,
Part of a huge rocket that launched China’s first module for its Tianhe space station is falling back to Earth and could make an uncontrolled re-entry at an unknown landing point. The 30m-high core of the Long March 5B rocket on Thursday launched the “Heavenly Harmony” uncrewed core module into low Earth orbit from Wenchang in China’s Hainan Province. The Long March 5B then itself entered a temporary orbit, setting the stage for one of the largest-ever uncontrolled re-entries. Some experts fear it could land on an inhabited area. “It’s potentially not good,” said Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard
CIA INVOLVED: US senators issued a statement after reports said more mysterious attacks had taken place in Miami and Washington, including near the White House US senators on Friday said that the government is investigating an apparent increase in mysterious directed-energy attacks dubbed “Havana syndrome,” amid new reports of potentially brain-damaging incidents inside the country. US senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, who lead the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement after two media reports said attacks had taken place in Washington, including just outside the White House, and in Miami, Florida. “For nearly five years, we have been aware of reports of mysterious attacks on United States government personnel in Havana, Cuba and around the world,” they said. “This pattern of attacking our
Malaysian teenager Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam came home from school last week and posted a video on TikTok, taking a male teacher to task over an alleged joke about rape during class. The video went viral overnight, sparking a nationwide debate on sex education, misogyny and sexual violence in the Southeast Asian nation, where such subjects are often considered taboo. “There’s been numerous students who have been coming forward with their own stories to me ... but people didn’t take any action on what the students had to say, and for me, that is very, very sad,” Ain said. The 17-year-old, who loves