SpaceX launched a rocket carrying cargo to the International Space Station on Sunday, a day after an unexpected reading from the rocket's second stage forced a delay 13 seconds before liftoff. Sunday's launch was the first from Florida's Kennedy Space Center since the last space shuttle launch more than five years ago, and SpaceX's first from the historic Launch Pad 39A that Apollo 11 used in 1969 on the way to the moon. The Dragon cargo capsule, carrying 5,500 pounds of supplies, experiments, and other cargo, reached orbit on schedule 11 minutes after liftoff, and is expected to link up with the Space Station this week. The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage returned to Earth, successfully landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an important step in SpaceX's recovery from the explosion of a rocket on a launchpad last September.
Source: Space.com, The New York Times
SpaceX on Saturday announced it would delay the planned launch of its Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. "Standing down to take a closer look at positioning of the second stage engine nozzle. 9:38am ET tomorrow is next earliest launch opportunity," the company tweeted. The rocket, under contract with NASA, is headed to the International Space Station to launch an unmanned aircraft filled with cargo and supplies. The launch was originally slated for Saturday at 10:01 a.m. ET, but now will switch to its backup time Sunday morning.
Source: Quartz, CNN
Two memos proposing stricter deportation guidelines for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors have been sent from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to the White House for approval, McClatchy reported Saturday afternoon. The documents are dated Feb. 17 and have yet to receive final go-ahead from the president. One memo would increase deportations by giving asylum officers greater discretion to deny asylum requests. At present, 88 percent of asylum seekers pass their initial interview with field officers; they then wait in the U.S. for a court hearing (sometimes a multi-year delay), at which point only 18 percent successfully gain asylum. Under the new guidelines, officers would be more likely to deny applicants at the interview stage if they believe the asylum seeker does not have a "significant possibility" of winning in court. The second memo concerns children who travel to the U.S. alone to meet parents already living here illegally. Those children would be more likely to face deportation, and their parents could face criminal charges if they paid a human trafficker to transport their child.
Source: Reuters, McClatchy
Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau died Sunday, after canceling the rest of his 2017 concert dates and retiring from touring due to exhaustion. He was 76. A Feb. 8 post to his official Twitter account said it was with "complete sorrow" that Jarreau had decided to stop traveling to perform on orders from his doctors. A post on his website last week said he was receiving treatment for exhaustion in a Los Angeles hospital and "improving slowly." The Milwaukee native won seven Grammys over a half-century career. His biggest hit was "We're in This Love Together" from the 1981 album Breakin' Away.
Source: Entertainment Weekly, The Detroit News
The Syrian government has secretly executed as many as 13,000 people in mass hangings at a prison since the beginning of an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Amnesty International reported Tuesday. Up to 50 people were killed every week at Saydnaya Prison north of Damascus in what the report called a "calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution." United Nations investigators determined a year ago that the Assad government had been "exterminating" thousands of civilian detainees in the country's civil war, and in August, Amnesty International said at least 17,732 detainees at government facilities had died after being tortured. The Syrian government rarely comments on torture allegations but has denied reports of massacres in the past.
Source: USA Today
Heavy snowfall triggered a series of avalanches along the Afghan-Pakistani border on Sunday, killing at least 59 people in the two countries, officials say. 45 died and 11 were injured in northeastern Afghanistan's Barg-e-Matal district. Nuristan Province Governor Hafiz Abdul Qayum said the death toll may rise as more victims are discovered. The area is about 150 miles northeast of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Across the border in northwest Pakistan, a mass of snow, ice and rocks plummeted upon five houses in the mountainous Sher Shal village in the district of Chitral. The village's 14 dead include six women, six children and two men, Colonel Nizamuddin Shah told CNN affiliate Geo News.
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Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.