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Downloaded from: ProNews Updated Around The Clock 24 / 7 Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death Published time: May 15, 2015, thirty past seven p.m. Edited time: May 15, 2015 20:04 Get short URL Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the US Attorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 23, 2015. (Reuters / US Attorney's Office in Boston) Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent crimes in April 2013, was sentenced to death by a Massachusetts jury after 14.5 hours over 2.5 days of deliberation.

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaevsentenced to death Published time: May 15, 2015, thirty past seven p.m.

Edited time: May 15, 2015 20:04Get short URL

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the USAttorney's Office in Boston, Massachusetts on March 23, 2015. (Reuters / US Attorney's Officein Boston)Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing andsubsequent crimes in April 2013, was sentenced to death by a Massachusetts jury after 14.5hours over 2.5 days of deliberation.

On April 8, almost exactly two years after the bombing occurred, the 21-year-old ethnicChechen WAS found guilty of 30 charges All he faced, 17 of which were eligible for the deathpenalty. On Friday, he was sentenced to death in some - but not all - of the capital charges.The same jury of seven women and five men who condemned Tsarnaev for the crimes wasalso responsible for deciding his punishment.Tsarnaev had no reaction as the jury condemned him to die for his actions, media in thecourtroom reported."We know too well All That no verdict CAN heal the Souls of Those WHO Lost loved ones, northe minds and Bodies of WHO Those Suffered Injuries Life-changing from this CowardlyAttack," Attorney General Loretta Lynch Said A statement in. "But the ultimate penalty is afitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution willbring some measure of closure to the victims and their families. "On behalf of the entire MIT Police Department, I would first like to offer my continuedsympathy and support to the ... Posted by MIT Police on Friday, May 15, 2015Tsarnaev's attorneys had argued vociferously against capital punishment."If you sentence HIM to Life, this is WHERE he Will be," defense Attorney David Bruck SaidDURING Opening statements in the Trial's Penalty Phase, Referring to A photo of A federalsupermax Prison in Colorado, Which is Also the Home to Several Convicted terrorists, NBCNews reported."Maybe we've Shown Could you this and stopped," Bruck Said. "He'd go here and beForgotten. His Legal Case Would be over for good, and no martyrdom. That Might be, ThatShould be, A Vote for life. "The parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest of the four people who died during theTsarnaev brothers' multi-day spree of terror, had also supported life in prison over the deathpenalty. Other victims and their families supported the death penalty, though, NBC Newsreported.Bruck told jurors there's no punishment Tsarnaev can receive that would be equal to thesuffering of the victims, according to AP."There is no Evening the scales," he Said. "There is no Point in Trying to hurt HIM as he hurtBecause it CAN be done not."Prosecutors argued the brothers were equal players, and that it did not matter when theyounger Tsarnaev was radicalized, the Boston Globe reported.Assistant US Attorney Nadine Pellegrini Told jurors That They Will Probably Hear AboutTsarnaev's dysfunctional Family Life, and They Will Hear Stories of HIM at School Events,Dances, and at Camp, But she argued, "nothing Will explain His cruelty and His Indifference.""This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, unconcerned, unrepentant, and Unchanged," she Said, Showingthe Jury A photo of the Convicted Bomber in His holding cell on July 10, 2013, the day of hisarraignment. He is flipping middle His Finger at the Camera."Without Remorse, he Remains

untouched by the Grief and the loss That Caused he. And without assistance, he remains theunrepentant killer that he is. "The Boston jury sided with the prosecution despite the fact that the death penalty is notpopular in Massachusetts, where a convict has not been executed since 1947. Capitalpunishment was ruled unconstitutional in the commonwealth in 1984, but that ban is notapplicable to this case because Tsarnaev was tried in federal court.A Boston Globe poll published in April showed that less than 20 percent of state residentsfavored death for Tsarnaev - down from 33 percent in September 2013, five months after thebombings.Tsarnaev was convicted of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, possession anduse of a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to bomb a place of public use, bombingin a place of public use, conspiracy to maliciously destroy property, and malicious destructionof property by means of an explosive, all of which caused death.He was also found guilty of 11 charges in which the crimes did not result in death. Thosecounts included carjacking, resulting in serious bodily injury; interference with commerce bythreats and violence; possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and use of aweapon of mass destruction.The firearms and weapons of mass destruction used included a Ruger P95 9mmsemiautomatic handgun, three pressure-cooker bombs and three pipe bombs.During the first - or guilt - phase of the trial, Tsarnaev's lawyer, Judy Clarke, acknowledged thather client "fully participated" in the bombing, conceding that it was her client shown insurveillance footage leaving behind a bomb hidden in a backpack.However, she argued, he was an impressionable young man in the sway of his older brother,Tamerlan, who had become a radicalized Muslim and whom she accused of mastermindingthe attack. Clarke said her client should thus be spared the death penalty.Only two members of the jury felt that Tsarnaev would not have acted without his brother'sinfluence. On April 15, 2013 twin blasts, 12 seconds apart, rocked the finish line of the storied BostonMarathon. Over 260 people were injured, with three killed, including an eight-year-old boy.Four days later, in the early morning hours, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology policeofficer was killed and a man was carjacked, leading law enforcement on a manhunt fromCambridge, Massachusetts to the nearby suburb of Watertown.By that point, officials had identified the two suspects as Tsarnaev, then 19, and OldEr Hisbrother Tamerlan, 26.

In Watertown, the Suspects Engaged in A Firefight with Law enforcement, Tamerlan WASDURING Which Killed. The area was placed on lockdown as SWAT teams from multiple local

and federal jurisdictions searched for the surviving brother. He was eventually found hiding in aboat on a resident's property.Tsarnaev still needs to be formally sentenced by Judge George O'Toole. He will then likelyreport to the US Bureau of Prison's death row facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. At 21, he willbecome the youngest person on federal death row, which currently contains 61 prisoners.The defense is expected to appeal the sentence, a process that will likely drag on for severalyears. If the sentence is upheld by all subsequent courts, Tsarnaev will die via lethal injection.

BB King, the King of Blues, dies at 89 The "King of the Blues", guitarist and singer BB King, has died aged 89.King, known for his hits My Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby, died in his sleep inLas Vegas.Born in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation ofmusicians and work with Eric Clapton and U2.Once ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time, he had been suffering ill health in recentmonths.He was recently taken to hospital with a diabetes-related illness.Fellow musicians paid tribute to King including blues guitarist Buddy Guy, who often playedwith him."BB King was the greatest guy I ever met," he wrote on Instagram."The tone he got out of that guitar, the way he shook his left wrist, the way he squeezed thestrings… man, he came out with that and it was all new to whole guitar playin' world."He could play so smooth, he didn't have to put on a show. The way BB did it is the way we alldo it now. He was my best friend and father to us all."Clapton posted a video tribute on Facebook to express his sadness at the death of his "dearfriend"."I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over theyears, and for the friendship that we enjoyed," he said."There's not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there arenot many left who play it in the pure way that BB did. He was a beacon for all of us who lovethis kind of music."Lenny Kravitz tweeted: "BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you saidin one."Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora added: "My friend and legend BB King passed. I'm so sosad, he was so great to me. We've lost the King. My love and prayers to his family."

Families ‘hurtling towards homelessness’ as rentalevictions hit record high Published time: May 15, 2015 12:44Get short URL

Reuters / Suzanne PlunkettHousing campaigners are calling for a drastic intervention in the housing market as thenumber of individuals being evicted from rental properties is at its highest level since recordsbegan.The latest government figures show the number of evictions in the first quarter of this year roseto 11,307, an increase of 8 percent on the same period in 2014 and the highest level in asingle quarter since records began in 2000.The figures show the level has risen owing to a peak in the number of repossession claimsmade by landlords in 2014, followed by a lag time while the authorities processed the claims,of which there were 47,000 according to the Ministry of Justice.Claims have since fallen, with roughly 42,000 during the first quarter of 2015, which suggest atrend that evictions will follow suit next year.Homelessness charity Shelter said the results were a “glaring reminder” that the price ofhouses and “welfare cuts are leaving thousands of people battling to keep a roof over theirheads.”“Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact of a housing market at boiling point, withthe cost of renting so high that many families are living in fear that just one thing like losing

their job or becoming ill could leave them with the bailiffs knocking at the door,” ChiefExecutive Campbell Robb said.He urged the government to strengthen measures to “make sure people aren't left to fallthrough the cracks and hurtling towards homelessness.”Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said authorities had put measures in place to ensure familiesdid not become homeless.“There are strong protections in place to guard families against the threat of homelessness.“We increased spending to prevent homelessness, with over £500 million made available tohelp the most vulnerable in society and ensure we don't return to the bad old days whenhomelessness in England was nearly double what it is today.”The report also found there had been a fall in the number of mortgage repossessions, whichhave dropped 56 percent since 2004.The data coincided with another report from the Council of Mortgage Lenders which alsoreported a fall in mortgage repossession.

Russian battle robots shoot armored targets duringfield trials (VIDEO)Published time: May 15, 2015 01:13Get short URL

Still from RT video1.7K3731

TagsMilitary, Modernization, Russia, SecurityRussian battle robots armed with machine-guns, cannons and anti-tank missile launchershave undergone successful field trials, destroying all designated targets – including armoredvehicles – at a maximum range, according to military sources.Russia has successfully tested the robotic systems of the Uran family in a complex exercise atRayevsky testing range range in Novorossiysk on Thursday, defense sources told a number ofRussian news agencies. As compared to previous trials which tested robots individually, thistime remotely controlled robots operated together as a military unit. The exercise included engineering reconnaissance and long-rage firing tests of machine gunsand automatic cannons installed on a robotic chassis of Uran family, the source told Ria.“At the final stage of the exercises, battle robots practiced destroying armored equipmentusing anti-tank guided missiles,” the source said, explaining that all systems were controlledfrom a remote secured command post.“The combat robotic systems’ operators have successfully hit all designated targets,” thesource added.Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov as well asseveral other high-ranking military officials reportedly visited the trials.Last year the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed its commitment to developing remotecontrolled and robotic military systems which by 2025 could replace up to a third of all militaryhardware. The ministry is due to unveil its range of ongoing robotic projects in an upcomingArmy-2015 arms manufacture expo this June.

Read more Military robots to shineat 2015 Russian army high-tech expo

The expo will feature wide-ranging developments in arms production and will showcasearound 5,000 different examples of Russian military engineering. Among the tried and trustedexhibits there will two other models of the Uran family – Uran-6 and Uran-14.The Uran-14 multifunctional robotic vehicle is designed for extinguishing fires in life-threatening, hazardous environments and inaccessible areas. The system is operated byusing remote-control technology and is designed to protect high risk industrial facilities. It isequipped with the latest fire-fighting technologies, and two storage containers for water andfoam.The Uran-6 is a remotely controlled mine-clearing robot. The latest technology showcasesbulldozer blades and trawls that searches and neutralizes the mines on a dangerous terrain.The Uran-6 can handle explosives with a potential of up to 130lbs of TNT equivalent.

US promises Ukraine help to become gas exporter Published time: May 15, 2015 11:39Get short URL

Geoffrey Pyatt.(RIA Novosti / Alexandr Maksimenko)Ukraine has every chance of becoming a gas exporter again, as it was in the first half of the20th century, said US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. He added that the US willcertainly help Kiev to achieve the goal."Ukraine in fact had been exporting gas to Moscow and Minsk until 1950. Those exportsamounted to about 70 billion cubic meters until the 1970s.This continued until the Siberianreserves of gas were explored,” the ambassador said at an oil and gas conference on

Thursday, RIA Novosti reported. There is no reason why Ukraine can’t have the opportunity todo the same thing again, Pyatt added.The ambassador said he was sure investment would come from the US, and that theUkrainian Parliament will adopt a law reducing the rental fee for the investors in gas extraction,which will help to attract American investment.Pyatt praised the government of Arseny Yatsenyuk for the progress in oil and gas and markedthe United States’ support of the Ukraine’s gas sector, including the issue with price revision.The price of gas, electricity, heat and hot water were increased in the country on April 1. Theaverage cost of gas in Ukraine rose by 285 percent to comply with the terms of the $17.5billion aid agreement with the IMF.In January Ukraine signed a $2 billion loan guarantee deal with the United States. $1 billion ofthe financial aid was said to be allocated to Ukraine in the first quarter of 2015.Gas extraction in Ukraine amounted to 20.5 billion of cubic meters last year. In 2015 Ukraine isexpected to consume 40 billion cubic meters of gas of which 25 billion of cubic meters will beimported, according to the government.Russia provided 39 percent of Ukraine’s gas needs in the first quarter of 2015; the rest 61percent was supplied from Europe. Kiev buys natural gas from such large European gassuppliers such as RWE, Statoil, GDF Suez, E.ON, and Royal Dutch Shell.Ukraine imported 294.5 million cubic meters of gas from Russia in April. Kiev currently pays$247.18 per one thousand cubic meters of Russian gas which includes a $100 discount. Thecountry gets gas from Russia on prepayment terms within a ‘summer package’ agreementsigned by Gazprom and Naftogaz last month.In February, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk called for increased domesticproduction of oil and gas and the implementation of reforms in the energy sector that couldhelp Ukraine do without Russian gas.

Warnings of ‘paid agitators’ dates back 90 years

President Calvin Coolidge warned in a speech given May 15, 1926, at the College of Williamand Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia: “But there is another … recent development … the greatlydisproportionate influence of organized minorities. Artificial propaganda, paid agitators, selfishinterests, all impinge upon members of legislative bodies to force them to represent specialelements rather than the great body of their constituency. When they are successful, minorityrule is established. … The result is an extravagance on the part of the Government which isruinous to the people and a multiplicity of regulations and restrictions for the conduct of allkinds of necessary business, which becomes little less than oppressive. …”Coolidge continued: “No plan of centralization has ever been adopted which did not result inbureaucracy, tyranny, inflexibility, reaction, and decline. Of all forms of government, thoseadministered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory to an enlightened and progressivepeople. Being irresponsible they become autocratic. … Unless bureaucracy is constantlyresisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It … sets upthe pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody. …”Read Full Article

‘World’s angriest robot’: Checking in on your companysometime soon?

Every sci-fi fan knows the danger of a malicious machine: think Hal 9000 in “2001: A SpaceOdyssey” and “I, Robot”‘s VIKI. But now researchers could be developing their own real-lifeversion.Customer engagement consultancy and technology firm, Touchpoint Group, is investing atleast 500,000 Australian dollars ($405,800) into a research project, whereby scientists willcreate an artificial intelligence (AI) machine filled with years’ worth of angry customercomplaints.Data experts from Australia and New Zealand will program a machine, under project name“Radiant”, with two years’ worth of irate calls…Read Full Article

NASA says current lull in major US hurricanes onlyhappens once every 177 years

Even though the United States has certainly seen its share of destructive storms over the pastnine years, we haven’t gotten slammed by a category three or higher hurricane in nine years— the longest stretch in which we’ve been free from such monster storms since 1850. Our lastmajor hurricane — defined as a major storm with winds in excess of 111 miles per hour — wasHurricane Wilma, which hit on October 16, 2005.Just weeks earlier, Hurricane Katrina — also a category five hurricane — struck the US GulfCoast and became one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history. Hurricanes Ike (2008), Irene(2011) and Sandy (2012) followed but none of them hit as a Category 3 or greater.A new NASA study shows that such a “hurricane drought” only comes along once every 177years. Read Full Article

State Senate OKs bill ending waiver from vaccinemandate

The state Senate on Thursday passed a controversial bill that would require many moreCalifornia children to be vaccinated.The measure, which must still go through the Assembly, would eliminate parents’ ability to optout of state immunization requirements on the basis of their personal beliefs.It would excuse children from vaccinations only because of medical problems, such as aweakened immune system, if verified by a physician. The legislation “is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer fromvaccine-preventable diseases,” said Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica), who co-authoredit with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).Read Full Article

Critics blast NSA phone records bill as ‘fake reform’

A lopsided vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week to rein in the National SecurityAgency’s domestic telephone records dragnet won muted praise, with many supporters callingon Congress to take stronger action.Critics, meanwhile, slammed the USA Freedom Act for extending the section of theantiterrorism Patriot Act that the NSA has used to collect the telephone records of nearly allU.S. residents. The bill, passed by a 338-88 vote late Wednesday, would end the NSA’s bulkcollection of domestic telephone records, while allowing the agency to continue to collectphone and other business records in a more targeted manner.The bill’s failure to kill the business and telephone records section of the Patriot Act, whichwould expire on June 1 without congressional action, is “fake reform,” according to digitalrights groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress and progressive carrier CREDOMobile. The bill would expand NSA surveillance powers to VoIP and video chats and wouldtake the “wind out of the sails of real reform by appearing to have addressed masssurveillance,” the groups said on a new website, Full Article

Beijing wants total police state video surveillance by2020

China will cover key public areas with video surveillance by 2020 to combat crime and improvepublic service, the country’s top economic planner said Wednesday.Public areas such as roads will be fully covered by cameras and their surveillance informationwill be shared among authorities, according to a guideline released by the NationalDevelopment and Reform Commission and eight other departments.Read Full Article

‘We are already at war,’ Ukrainian PM tells FRANCE24

In an interview with FRANCE 24 on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniukdiscussed granting more autonomy to east Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fight“against the Western world” and said that Ukraine is “already at war”.Responding to criticisms that the ceasefire called for by the “Minsk II” agreement signed inFebruary has been repeatedly violated by both sides, Yatseniuk said Ukraine is “eager” to holdup its end of the deal.“But too much, if not everything, depends on Putin – whether he wants peace and stability,”Yatseniuk said.“What is the ultimate goal of President Putin? He is not just fighting against Ukraine … He isfighting against you – he is fighting against the Western world, he is fighting against the freeworld, he is fighting against the EU,” Yatseniuk said. “Stability in Russia lies in the instability ofthe European Union. Ukraine just became the battlefield.”When the time is right, Ukraine is willing to hold a vote that would possibly grant moreautonomy to separatist areas of the east, Yatseniuk said.Read Full Article

Former Soviet republics ask NATO to permanentlydeploy an army brigade as a deterrent against Russia

The three Baltic countries are asking NATO to permanently deploy an army brigade to Estonia,Latvia and Lithuania as a deterrent against an increasingly assertive Russia.The chiefs of defence of the three countries are presenting the request in a joint letter thisweek to NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, said Capt. Mindaugas Neimontas,spokesman for Lithuania’s chief of defence.It is necessary because of the security situation,” Neimontas told The Associated Presson Thursday.It’s not getting better in our region, so it will be a deterrent.”The Baltic countries former Soviet republics that regained independence amid the collapse ofthe Iron Curtain two decades ago have been alarmed by Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine andthe increasing activity of Russian forces exercising in the Baltic Sea region.Read Full Article

US Authorizes $300Mln in Lethal Defensive Aid,Training to Ukraine – McCain

McCain noted the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 also providesequipment supplies and training to Southeast Asian nations to build maritime capabilities.“We authorized providing Ukraine and the defensive lethal assistance that it needs to buildcombat capability to defend its sovereign territory.”“We authorized 300 million dollars for weapons for Ukraine.”The Senator had said earlier he was “ashamed” of US President Barack Obama for notproviding enough help to Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis in the country.Read Full Article

RAF jets scrambled again to intercept Russian fighters

Two Typhoon fighter jets have been launched from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept Russianbombers heading towards the UK.

The Russian Bear aircraft were escorted away from Britain’s area of interest but at no stagecrossed into UK sovereign airspace.A spokesman said: “RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched todayfrom RAF Lossiemouth after unidentified aircraft were tracked flying towards UK airspace.“The aircraft were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoonfighters until they were out of the UK area of interest.Read Full Article

Kerry to confront China over island-building in SouthChina Sea

U.S.-Chinese tensions over the South China Sea will ratchet up another notch this weekend,when Secretary of State John Kerry plans to confront top officials in Beijing to protest China’sgrowing territorial claims in the strategic waters.The two nations are playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as the U.S. militaryresponds to a massive island-building campaign by China in one of the world’s most crucialand hotly contested waterways.This week, Chinese warships closely shadowed a new, high-tech U.S. Navy warship during apatrol through a group of islands claimed all or in part by China and five other countries.

Although the encounters near the Spratly Islands were described by the commander of theUSS Fort Worth as “professional,” U.S. officials are concerned China could use the newislands as bases from which to restrict air and sea traffic in the region.In a toughly worded statement this week, the State Department dismissed China’s island-building as a territorial claim and said the U.S. government is determined to preserve freedomof navigation in the South China Sea and the airspace above it, as is allowed underinternational conventions.“International law is clear that land reclamation cannot change a submerged feature into anisland that is entitled to maritime zones controlled by a nation,” the department said.Read Full Article

B-1 bombers coming to Australia to deter Beijing’sSouth China Sea ambitions: US

The US military plans to station B-1 strategic bombers and surveillance aircraft in Australia aspart of efforts to deter Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea, a senior US governmentofficial has revealed in comments later downplayed by the Australian government.During testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, USDefence Department Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shearannounced that in addition to the movement of US Marine and Army units around the WesternPacific region, “we will be placing additional Air Force assets in Australia as well, including B-1bombers and surveillance aircraft.”The US plan comes as the Obama administration moves to boost US naval forces andair power in the South China Sea to assert the right of free passage and challenge China’s

efforts to buttress its maritime territorial claims through the construction of airfields and artificialislands.Read Full Article

Drought-Hit Southern Africa at Risk of Food Shortage

Southern Africa faces possible food shortages over the next few months due to a severedrought in the ‘maize belt’ of South Africa, where a lack of rain had caused crop failure rates ofover 50 percent, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Monday.In South Africa, the WFP said maize production was estimated to have dropped by a thirdcompared with last year, putting it on track for a harvest of 9.665 million tonnes, its worst ineight years.Besides South Africa, which produces more than 40 percent of regional maize, the droughtwas also likely to hit harvests in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho,Malawi and Madagascar, the UN agency said in a report.Read Full Article

Despite biosecurity measures, bird flu affects SouthDakota farm with 1.3M egg-laying chickens

An eastern South Dakota farm with 1.3 million egg-laying chickens is the first in the chicken-production business in the state to be infected with a deadly flu virus despite efforts to preventit, state and farm officials said Thursday.Flandreau-based Dakota Layers, which accounts for nearly half of the state’s almost 2.7million egg-laying chickens, reached out to the state veterinarian Wednesday after it noticedan unusual number of dead birds in one of its nine barns.A South Dakota State University lab confirmed the presence of the highly pathogenic H5 avianinfluenza virus. Officials hadn’t confirmed yet Thursday whether it was the H5N2 strain. If so,then the virus will have led to the deaths of more than 33 million chickens and turkeys in theMidwest, primarily at farms in neighboring Minnesota and Iowa.Read Full Article

China launches ‘mystery object’ into space

In what could ring alarm bells for the Indian security establishment, a report of the UnitedStates Department of Defence (DoD), has warned about China “destructive” spaceprogramme of stalling or destroying satellites of other countries and how its nuclear-poweredsubmarines now make forays into the Indian Ocean.Released on May 8, the DoD’s annual report to the US Congress on ‘Military and SecurityDevelopments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015’ talks about a mystery ‘object’that Beijing had launched in space on a ballistic trajectory with a peak altitude above 30,000km.This trajectory took it near geosynchronous orbit, where many nations maintaincommunications and earth-sensing satellites. The “object” re-entered Earth’s orbit 9.5 hoursafter launch. The US report failed to indentify it and stated: “The launch profile was notconsistent with traditional space-launch vehicles, ballistic missiles or sounding rocket launchesused for scientific research. It could, however, have been a test of technologies with acounterspace mission.”“China continues to develop a variety of capabilities designed to limit or prevent the use ofspace-based assets by adversaries, including the development of directed-energy weaponsand satellite jammers”, the US report warned. The US expressed concern “China’s continueddevelopment of destructive space technologies represented a threat to all peaceful nations”.Read Full Article

Nebraska declares state of emergency in bird fluoutbreak

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared a state of emergency on Thursday, after federalagriculture officials confirmed a second farm site had tested positive for the rapidly spreadingavian flu virus.The declaration follows earlier, similar actions by governors in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa,whose states have all been hard hit by the ongoing bird flu outbreak that has led to the cullingof more than 33 million birds in 16 U.S. states.Ricketts’ move opens the door to releasing emergency funds and other aid to the NebraskaDepartment of Agriculture and other state agencies trying to contain the bird flu outbreak.The U.S. poultry and egg industry has been grappling for months with the biggest outbreak onrecord of avian influenza in the United States. The H5 strains in the current U.S. outbreak posea low risk to human health, experts say, and no human infections have been identified so far.Read Full Article