World News

SpaceX astronauts reveal the surprising details of their historic trip to space

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken landed on the International Space Station (ISS), over two hours after docking with the orbiting laboratory. They had to run pressure and leak tests before exiting the Crew Dragon capsule.

They met American astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian space station residents Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, as they left their spacecraft.

Both are currently official affiliates of the Expedition 63 crew.

Speaking to the men from mission control in Houston, Texas, Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “The whole world saw this mission and we are so, so proud of everything you’ve done for our country and, in fact, to inspire the world.”

Mr Hurley and Mr Behnken’s 19-hour itinerary on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule on top of the Falcon 9 rocket started in Cape Canaveral in Florida on Saturday evening.

Despite only being 300 miles above the planet, the space station took almost a day to reach.

A number of manoeuvres had to be performed to raise its orbit to get close enough to hook up to the space station.

The assignment, dubbed Demo-2, is the first mission Nasa where has launched astronauts from the US in nine years.

SpaceX also became the first private firm to launch humans into orbit in a historic event.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: The truth about how New Zealand beat deadly disease

The mission aims to prove SpaceX’s ability to send astronauts into the space station and bring them back safely.

It is the last major procedure for SpaceX’s astronaut carrier, the Crew Dragon, to get authorised by Nasa’s Commercial Crew Programme for long-term manned missions to space.

Mr Hurley and Mr Behnken have entitled their Dragon capsule Endeavour as a tribute to Space Shuttle Endeavour, a retired orbiter from Nasa’s Space Shuttle programme.

He added: “Endeavour is going to get a lot of checkout over the next week or two here and hopefully we will be able to declare her operational.

Scientists warn of ‘inevitable’ deadly second Covid-19 wave across UK [REVEALED]
Prince William’s super-rich close friend makes incredible donation … [INSIGHT]
A&E doctor reveals the terrifying truth about fighting Covid-19 [UPDATES]

“Doug and I will be able to take some burden off Chris and his crew mates Ivan and Anatoli, so that we can keep the space station operating at a peak possibility.

“So we are looking forward to contributing any way that we can and, like I said, trying to keep (the) space station as productive as possible.”

The mission is expected to last anything between one and four months.

Speaking of their sleeping patterns, Mr Behnken said: “We did get probably a good seven hours or so of opportunity for sleep and I did succeed at sleep and Doug did as well.”The first night is always a bit of a challenge but the Dragon was a sleek vehicle and we had good airflow. So we had an excellent evening.”

He added that he was “excited to be back in low-Earth orbit again.”

Mr Behnken said while they are on the space station, they hope to put the Dragon capsule, which they called Endeavour, through its paces and aiding other members of the crew in different other exercises.

He added: “Endeavour is going to get a lot of checkout over the next week or two here and hopefully we will be able to declare her operational.

“Doug and I will be able to take some burden of Chris and his crew mates Ivan and Anatoli so that we can keep the space station operating at a peak possibility.

“So we are looking forward to contributing any way that we can and like I said trying to keep (the) space station as productive as possible.”

Source: Read Full Article

World News

Hong Kong reports first local COVID-19 cases in two weeks

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong has confirmed its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, fuelling concerns over its spread as restrictions on movement are relaxed.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Sunday it was investigating two confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases so far to 1,085. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.

The global financial hub last reported a locally transmitted case on May 14, when a 62-year-old man with no travel history was confirmed with coronavirus.

The two new cases involved a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man. Neither had a travel history during the incubation or infectious period, CHP said. Contact tracing was under way, it added.

The woman is a night-shift worker at a Kerry Logistics warehouse in Kwai Chung district where she labels food items imported from the United Kingdom, broadcaster RTHK reported.

Two co-workers, who fell ill about a month ago, tested positive for COVID-19 and authorities are investigating if the warehouse where one of the patients works represents a new cluster of infections, RTHK reported, citing CHP.

About 25 staff in the warehouse and three medical staff who dealt with one of the patients are being quarantined for 14 days, RTHK reported.

Source: Read Full Article

World News

Rio Tinto apologises for blowing up 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rio Tinto apologised for the destruction of a sacred Aboriginal cave in Western Australia that showed evidence of continual habitation dating back 46,000 years, and said it would urgently review its plans for other sites in the area.

Rio Tinto blew up the cave last week in Juukan Gorge, about 1,075 km (667 miles) north of Perth, as part of an expansion programme in the Pilbara iron ore region, provoking a local outcry and calls for reform of heritage protection laws.

Explosives destroyed two ancient rock shelters, where artefacts discovered included 4,000-year-old plaited human hair with genetic links to the present day traditional owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people.

“That site, for us, that’s where our ancestors were occupying their traditional land,” PKKP director Burchell Hayes told Australian Broadcasting Corp, adding that the community felt sorrow and sadness over the loss of heritage.

The mining giant, which had been granted state government approval in 2013 to damage or destroy the site under a legal framework that is currently under review, apologised on Sunday.

“We pay our respects to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, and we are sorry for the distress we have caused,” Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said in a statement.

The miner said that it had performed archaeological work in 2014 to preserve significant cultural heritage artefacts, recovering approximately 7,000 objects.

Rio said that it would work with traditional owners to look at its approach to preserving heritage.

“As a matter of urgency, we are reviewing the plans of all other sites in the Juukan Gorge area,” Salisbury said.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt last week flagged a need to strengthen the protection of indigenous sites, while his state counterpart said Western Australia was moving to fix out-of-date legislation.

Source: Read Full Article


Oil prices slip as wary traders eye upcoming OPEC+ meeting

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Monday as traders hedged bets with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell 34 cents to $37.50 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 for July delivery were at $35.17 a barrel, down 32 cents, by 0123 GMT.

The price falls come after front-month Brent and WTI prices posted their strongest monthly gains in years in May. Gains were boosted by OPEC crude production dropping to its lowest in two decades with demand is expected to recover as more nations emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

“The focus is very much on OPEC+,” OCBC economist Howie Lee said, referring to the grouping of OPEC and its allies including Russia. OPEC+ agreed in April to reduce output by an unprecedented 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged demand.

“We might see a cautious pullback in (crude) prices given that downstream prices haven’t caught up … but if OPEC+ does come up with a three-month extension, there’s a possibility that prices may hit the $40 level,” Lee said.

Still, tensions between the United States and China weighed on global financial markets while traders are also keeping an eye on riots over the weekend that have engulfed major U.S. cities.

Saudi Arabia is proposing to extend record cuts from May and June until the end of the year, but has yet to win support from Russia, sources have told Reuters.

Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. Russia has no objection to the meeting being brought forward to June 4.

Meanwhile supply in North America is also falling as data from Baker Hughes Co showed that the U.S. and Canada oil and gas rigs count dropped to a record low in the week to May 29.

Source: Read Full Article


Unrest demonstrates Joe Biden’s challenge in breaking through – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump spent much of Sunday using Twitter as a bullhorn to urge “law and order” and tougher action by police against protestors around the country. Joe Biden quietly visited the site of protests in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, and talked to some of the demonstrators. Earlier, he wrote a post on Medium expressing empathy for those despairing about the killing of George Floyd.

On Monday, he’ll meet with community leaders in Wilmington.

That low-key, high-touch approach may be a sign of how the presumptive Democratic nominee presents himself in the five months before the presidential election, emphasizing calm and competence as a contrast to a mercurial president.

It is an approach that carries the risk of being drowned out by the much louder, more persistent voice of Trump. On one of the most profound weekends the nation has seen, with violence in dozens of cities, Biden was out of wide public view.

“He’s not in office, and he certainly does not have the megaphone like the person currently occupying the White House does, but I do think our people are looking for someone who can make them feel better during these extremely tough times,” said Rep. Val Demings of Florida, whom Biden is considering as a running mate. “America just needs to be reassured that there’s someone who’s understanding, someone who’s willing to say, ‘Yes, we do have some issues,’ and someone who’s willing to address it.”

Reassurance requires presence, though, and that has been a hurdle for the former vice president, driven inside by the coronavirus pandemic, still working to adapt to the power of social media as a substitute and without the natural platform of a public office.

Demings suggested the campaign will be doing more soon.

Biden released a criminal justice reform plan last July, but has not issued an updated or more specific proposal since then. In early May, he released his “Plan for Black America,” an economic- and education-focused agenda that included marijuana decriminalization.

The congresswoman said she planned to work with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill to try to help craft reforms, though she would not confirm or deny any conversations she had with the Biden campaign about the push.

“What I have done is offer my service to the campaign and, and anyone else, to look at what we can do working together moving forward. And so we’ll see. We have a lot of work to do,” she said. “We’re going to discuss ideas and make recommendations.”

Demings said she would push for a major Justice Department review of law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and said she saw a role for the federal government in implementing standard policies that govern hiring, training, retention and pay and benefits for law enforcement officers.

So far, however, Democrats are banking that time and the nation’s political mood are on their side. They note that while Biden didn’t appear on television all weekend, he spoke about Floyd’s death before Trump addressed it and has shown compassion for the protesters. Trump has alternated between expressing alarm over Floyd’s death and sympathy for his family and issuing tweets antagonizing protesters and disparaging his political enemies.

Some Biden aides who aren’t authorized to discuss strategy privately say the campaign thinks the best plan may be to let Trump do himself in.

Some Democrats who have criticized Biden in the past for not being more visible during the onset of the coronavirus said he is making the right moves now.

“I’m sure they have some reluctance, understandably, right now to politicize it. That’s not who he is,” said Democratic strategist James Carville. “There might be a time for eloquence, but I think that simplicity is eloquence right now.”

Source: Read Full Article

World News

Podcaster in Golden, B.C., raises awareness of chronic diseases with sound bites

Becky Gale isn’t just creating a podcast — she’s trying to spark a movement.

“The Chronic Movement is to make it so that people are not being misdiagnosed for years and that people are being invalidated and people are being heard,” said Gale.

Gale was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2011 after six years of being misdiagnosed. The misdiagnoses are a common thread she has noticed with many of the people she has interviewed from her home studio in Golden, B.C.

By 2030, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada predict that 1 in 100 Canadians will be diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the podcaster said that she wants to make sure no one feels isolated.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are suffering in silence and suffering alone and that’s not OK,” said Gale.

When she was diagnosed, Gale went to a support group but said that she didn’t feel comfortable so she decided to make an online support group for people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease.

To help, she releases multiple podcasts a week sharing people’s stories from around the world who have received various diagnoses.

“I’m actually doing this from the bottom of my heart because I don’t want people to suffer like I did,” said Gale. “I want to create a community so that we can all talk about our experiences and get connected with people who have similar diseases as a whole.”

To hear the stories Gale shares, listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or visit her website www.


Source: Read Full Article


Primary schools reopening as parents remain wary

Primary schools in England are to begin bringing back more children – but parents face a very mixed local picture in how schools are reopening.

Surveys suggest half of parents might not send in their children – and in some areas schools will still be shut.

Children in Reception, Years 1 and 6 are able to return, with many having been out of school for 10 weeks.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says children “will be with their teachers and friends again”.

Schools have remained open throughout the lockdown for the children of key workers and vulnerable children, but now they are inviting back millions more primary pupils.

The day will look very different for those pupils returning – with staggered drop-off times and children staying in small groups of no more than 15 pupils.

It remains uncertain how many families will take up the offer for their children to return.

A study from the National Foundation for Educational Research, based on 1,200 school leaders, suggests:

The reopening of schools will have many local variations – spread out over the next couple of weeks and with many schools making their own arrangements over which year groups return and for how many days a week.

The most senior NHS doctor for children and young people’s health, Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, has warned parents to watch out for signs of children being anxious about returning to school after so much time away.

‘Contradictory information’

Jane Reid, a parent from York, said it was still not safe for her son to go back, saying: “It’s a definite no from me.

“Plus, the contradictory information is infuriating. I can take him to school, but can’t get his hair cut.”

“How can I send them to school now, knowing it will be impossible for teachers to implement social distancing rules properly?” asked Valerie Brooker from Haslemere in Surrey.

But Melanie Freeman supported her children going back – reassured by her school’s “very strict stance” on safety.

In a post on the BBC News Family and Education Facebook page, she said she liked the fact pupils would only be going in two days a week and in groups of no more than 15.

For some parents the decision has been taken out of their hands. Lancashire County Council is among those saying it is not yet safe to open schools.

A mother in Lancashire, who wanted to remain anonymous, has described this as a relief as she did not want her child to go back, although her husband did.

Ministers say opening schools will help with childcare for parents going back to work – and to help children catch up with missed lessons.

From 15 June secondary pupils will start to return, in Years 10 and 12 – and there are plans for all primary years to go back for the last month of term.

Parents have complained about the complications of juggling work and childcare, including those with jobs in schools.

On the website Kerry from Middlesex says she works for two hours a day at lunchtimes in a school that is now reopening.

Grandparents would usually provide childcare for her two year old, but that is not possible with the lockdown, so she faces a return to work at school, but without any childcare. “I don’t know where I stand,” she says.

Nurseries and early years’ providers are also opening, and a survey of 4,500 parents with young children, carried out by the Early Years Alliance, indicated a divided picture on take-up.

The biggest reason for parents not sending in their children was concern about safety.

Chief executive Neil Leitch warned the row over the prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings travelling during lockdown threatened to undermine parents’ trust on safety measures.

The concern was echoed by the Royal Society of Arts which published a survey of more than 2,000 adults in the UK showing 49% think the government is too caught up in the “Dominic Cummings affair” to be making the right decisions about schools.

Mary Bousted, co-leader of the National Education Union, said it would be “deeply insulting and dangerous” if the return of schools was used as a “distraction”.

The teachers’ union has continued to warn there is a lack of certainty about the safety of the return to school.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Throughout this pandemic, our decisions have been based on the best scientific and medical advice.

“While there might be some nervousness, I want to reassure parents and teachers that the welfare of children and staff continues to be the heart of all of our considerations.”

Source: Read Full Article

World News

Coronavirus: Bolsonaro’s Trump-like theatre ignores the crisis gripping Brazil

A posse of mule-riding cowboys and cowgirls, Brazilian flags aloft, trot along the vast parks that are the centre of Brasilia, the country’s capital.

It’s quite a sight as they are cheered on by thousands of anti-lockdown protesters who are in the city for their now weekly rally.

The numbers vary and the count is always contested but by any standards large numbers of people flooded the roads in their cars, horns honking and vuvuzelas blaring out a deafening cacophony. Many have travelled from towns and cities hundreds of miles away.

It is noisy and raucous and utterly defiant. Forget social distancing, forget staying safe. In fact, forget COVID-19.

These are the faithful supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, who continues to pour scorn on the pandemic and is willing to ignore the crisis engulfing the country.

The number of people being infected every day is in the tens of thousands but the crowds seem utterly oblivious to the fact that these types of gatherings are potentially lethal.

Mr Bolsonaro’s supporters call him “Legend”, they chant it constantly, and they come here to see him.

His arrival is pure theatre. Circling the crowd time and again, he waves from the open door of a military helicopter to his adoring supporters on the ground shouting and urging him on.

Finally he appears outside the presidential palace surrounded by guards, but walking the lines of supporters, shaking hands as they chant his name and mainly scream.

Source: Read Full Article


Democrat Biden visits site of police brutality protest in Delaware

(Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Sunday toured the site of one of the protests that ripped through U.S. cities overnight and called for protesters against police brutality not to turn to violence.

Biden, wearing a face mask, made his second appearance outside his Delaware home since the coronavirus crisis hit in March, visiting an area in Wilmington where demonstrators vented outrage at the death of a black man shown on video gasping for breath as a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck.

A campaign post on Instagram showed Biden speaking with African American residents and inspecting buildings boarded up to prevent damage hours after he issued a statement that “we are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us.”

“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary,” Biden said in the statement emailed shortly after midnight. “But burning down communities and needless destruction is not.”

Biden will face President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump’s re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, had said on Saturday that Biden should deliver a more forceful condemnation of violence.

Biden’s remarks echoed a statement on Saturday by prominent black civil rights activist and U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia.

Lewis, who in 1965 was beaten unconscious by Alabama state troopers during a march for voting rights, called for protesters to “be constructive, not destructive,” though he said he knows their pain.

Source: Read Full Article

World News

Why do some protests turn violent?

Curfews have been imposed in multiple cities in the US, after unrest and protests have spread across the country over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody.

Most of the protests began peacefully – and several stayed peaceful. But in a large number of cases, demonstrators clashed with police, set police cars on fire, vandalised property or looted shops. The National Guard has been activated 5,000 of its personnel across 15 states and Washington DC.

Experts have also drawn parallels with the 2011 England riots – when a peaceful protest over a man who was shot dead by police turned into four days of riots, with widespread looting and buildings set alight.

How do protests spread so quickly – and why do some become violent?

Protests spread when there’s a shared identity

Incidents like Mr Floyd’s death can “become a trigger moment because it symbolises a broader experience, amongst much larger numbers of people, about the relationship between police and the black community”, says Prof Clifford Stott, an expert in crowd behaviour and public order policing at Keele University.

Confrontations are particularly likely when there are structural inequalities, he adds.

Prof Stott studied the 2011 England riots extensively, and found that the riots there spread because protesters in different cities identified with each other – either because of their ethnicity, or because they shared a dislike of the police.

This meant that, when the police appeared to be overwhelmed, rioters in different districts felt empowered to mobilise.

How the police respond matters

Violent protests are less likely when police have a good relationship with the local community – but how they react to demonstrations on the day also matters, experts say.

“Riots are a product of interactions – largely to do with the nature of the way police treats crowds,” says Prof Stott.

For example, he says, in a large crowd of protesters, tensions may begin with just a few people confronting the police.

However, “police often react towards the crowd as a whole” – and if people feel that the police use of force against them is unjustified, this increases their “us versus them” mentality.

This “can change the way people feel about violence and confrontation – for example, they may start feeling that violence is legitimate given the circumstances.”

Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences at UCLA, believes police in the US “ramped up their aggressiveness” over the weekend.

“Deploying the national guard, using rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray – these are a range of police tactics that can exacerbate an already-tense situation.”

It’s a pattern that has been seen in other protests around the world too. For example, in 2019, Hong Kong saw seven months of anti-government protests, that began as mostly peaceful and ended up increasingly violent.

Experts highlight a series of police tactics that were seen as heavy-handed – including the firing of large amounts of tear gas at young protesters – as moves that galvanised protesters and made them more confrontational.

Prof Stott argues that police forces that have invested in de-escalation training are more likely to avoid violence at protests. He points to protests that were able to stay peaceful in the US over the weekend – such as in Camden, New Jersey, where officers joined the residents in a march against racism.

Chief Wysocki on the march today, standing together with the residents we serve to remember and honor George Floyd. #StrongerTogether #CamdenStrong

End of Twitter post by @CamdenCountyPD

It also depends on what’s at stake

Moral psychology can help explain why some protests turn violent, says Marloon Moojiman, an assistant professor in organisational behaviour at Rice University.

A person’s sense of morality is central to how they see themselves, so “when we see something as immoral, it creates strong feelings, because we feel our understanding of morality has to be protected”.

“This can override other concerns people have about keeping peace”, because “if you think the system is broken, you’re going to want to really do something drastic to show that that’s not acceptable.”

This can apply to a wide range of beliefs – for example, in an extreme case, someone who thinks abortion is a moral outrage may be more likely to say it’s OK to bomb an abortion clinic, he says.

Research suggests that social media echo chambers could also make people more susceptible to endorsing violence, if they believe that their peers have the same moral views as them, he adds.

Looting and vandalism can be more targeted than you think

In the US, hundreds of businesses have been damaged, and there has been widespread looting in LA and Minneapolis over the weekend.

However, Prof Stott warns that while it’s easy to assume that riots and crowds are “irrational and chaotic, none of that is true – it’s highly structured and meaningful for the people taking part”.

“To some extent, looting is an expression of power – black citizens may have felt disempowered in relation to the police – but in the context of a riot, the rioters momentarily become more powerful than the police.”

Studies of previous riots show that places that get looted are often related to big businesses, and that looting “often relates to the sense of inequality related to living in capitalistic economies”, he says.

Prof Hunt has studied the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were sparked after four white police officers were acquitted over the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King.

He says there is “a long history of targeting, or selectivity”, in vandalism and looting. “In the LA uprisings, you’d often see ‘minority owned’ spray painted on minority businesses, so that people would bypass those.”

However, both Prof Stott and Prof Hunt caution that looting is complicated – especially as lots of people with different motivations take part, including people in poverty, or organised criminals.

The idea that violent protests are targeted and meaningful events to those taking part can also explain why looting occurs in some protests, but not others.

In Hong Kong for example, protesters smashed shop windows, threw petrol bombs at police, and defaced the national emblem – but there was no looting.

Lawrence Ho, a specialist in policing and public order management at the Education University of Hong Kong, believes this is because those protests were triggered by political developments and anger at the police, rather than discrimination and social inequality.

“Vandalism was targeted at stores seen to have a strong connection to mainland China,” says Dr Ho. “It was a deliberate attempt to convey a message.”

How can violence be prevented?

Public order experts say that for the police, being seen as legitimate and able to engage protesters in dialogue is key.

“Good policing tries to avoid an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality, and also tries to avoid the sense that police can act in ways that people see as illegitimate,” says Prof Stott.

Dr Ho also believes that negotiation is the best way – but points out that “one of the hardest things today is that a lot of protests are leaderless. If you can’t find the leader, you can’t negotiate with them.”

More generally, he adds, politicians can make matters better – or worse – based on their approach to dialogue, and whether they use emergency legislation.

Ultimately, however, riots can be a symptom of deep-seated tensions and complicated issues that don’t have an easy solution.

Prof Hunt says this week’s US riots are the most serious ones since 1968 – when Martin Luther King was assassinated.

“You can’t think about police brutality, and the profiling of certain communities, without thinking about the inequalities that exist in society and fuelled those concerns,” he says.

“The George Floyd case was not the cause – it’s more like the straw that broke the camel’s back. You could argue even the police killings are symptoms – the underlying cause is white supremacy, racism, and things the US has not fundamentally dealt with.”

Source: Read Full Article