I *just* realized that an editor on SoylentNews, janrinok (AKA JR), has very recently attained a huge milestone on our site:
I can speak from personal experience that this represents a HUGE sacrifice of time and energy. He showed me the ropes in how to post a story. (There is FAR MORE than meets the eye to be an editor!) There was also the fact that in the early years of SoylentNews, he was simultaneously taking care of his severely ill wife. (She, sadly, passes away a few short years ago.) He endured some exceedingly heart-wrenching periods doing this. I have witnessed him posting stories even though he was beyond the point of exhaustion. So much so that his doctors *demanded* that he stop *everything* and take a break for many months.
So it may not appear to be a huge milestone, please take my word for it. It is!
The US has shot down a giant Chinese balloon that it says has been spying on key military sites across America.
The Department of Defense confirmed its fighter jets brought down the balloon over US territorial waters.
Three airports were shut and airspace was closed off the coast of North and South Carolina as the military carried out the operation on Saturday.
Footage on US TV networks showed the balloon falling to the sea after a small explosion.
An F-22 jet fighter engaged the high-altitude balloon with one missile - an AIM-9X Sidewinder - and it went down about six nautical miles off the US coast at 14:39 EST (19:39 GMT), a defence official told reporters.
US President Joe Biden had been under pressure to shoot the balloon down since defence officials first announced they were tracking it on Thursday.
Second balloon spotted over Latin America:
On Friday, the Pentagon said a second Chinese spy balloon had been spotted - this time over Latin America with reported sightings over Costa Rica and Venezuela.
The launch of Artemis 1 has been successful - the next burn (trans lunar injection - TLI) is in about 20 minutes away to take Artemis on its way to the Moon.
TLI has begun and will last about 18 minutes.
[I am having problems with video stuttering - could be my ADSL connection (fibre? Wot fibre?) or it might be the load on the streaming video itself. Reporting may be patchy. Please update in the comments if you have more current information.]
TLI has now finished and Artemis is committed to a journey to the Moon. The main propulsion unit will now be jettisoned.
Propulsion unit now jettisoned and Artemis is using the European Service Module for its journey to the Moon. There are unlikely to be any newsworthy events happening for a while now. Bon Voyage Artemis 1!
U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned Thursday following a failed tax-cutting budget that rocked financial markets and which led to a revolt within her own Conservative Party.
Truss said in a statement outside Downing Street: "We set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit."
"I recognize though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to announce that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party."
The party is now due to complete a leadership election within the next week, faster than the usual two-month period. Graham Brady, the Conservative politician that is in charge of leadership votes and reshuffles, told reporters he was now looking at how the vote could include Conservative MPs and the wider party members.
Truss was in office for just 44 days, on 10 of which government business was paused following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Liz Truss (Wikipedia).
Buckingham Palace has announced that Queen Elizabeth II has died.
Japanese former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday while campaigning in the city of Nara, a government spokesman said, with public broadcaster NHK saying he appeared to have been shot from behind by a man with a shotgun.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he did not know Abe's condition. Kyodo news agency and NHK said Abe, 67, appeared to be in a state of cardiac arrest when taken to hospital.
NHK, citing the police, said a suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, had been taken into custody. He was a Nara resident, the report said. Images shared on social media showed a man being tackled after the shooting.
Boris Johnson said on Thursday that he would step down as Britain's prime minister, after a wholesale rebellion of his cabinet, a wave of government resignations and a devastating loss of party support prompted by his handling of the the latest scandal that has engulfed his leadership.
Mr. Johnson said he would stay on in his post until the Conservative Party chooses a new leader, which could take several months. He said he expected the timetable for his departure and the selection of a successor to be decided on Monday by a committee of senior Conservative lawmakers.
"It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader," Mr. Johnson said in remarks outside Downing Street. "The process of choosing that new leader should begin now."
MOSCOW/KYIV, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast on Thursday, officials and media said, after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.
Shortly after Putin spoke in a televised address on Russian state TV, explosions could be heard in the pre-dawn quiet of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Gunfire rattled near the capital's main airport, the Interfax news agency said, and sirens were heard over the city.
Russian troops and tanks pushed into Ukraine and airstrikes hit the country's capital and more than a dozen other cities early Thursday after President Vladimir Putin said he ordered a military operation to "demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine" and bring its leaders to trial.
Ukrainian officials said an initial wave of strikes targeted military installations, airfields and government facilities across the country. Ukraine's border service said its troops came under attack all along the country's frontiers with Russia and Belarus as well as Crimea. Heavy shelling targeted the city of Mariupol on the Azov sea. Air-raid sirens sounded in Kyiv after 7 a.m. and the city's airport came under attack. Ukraine's military said it shot down five Russian warplanes and one helicopter. Russia denied any of its aircraft were hit.
Russia has begun attacking Ukraine, NATO officials confirmed. The late-night attack began moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had "decided to conduct a special military operation" to protect eastern Ukraine's Donbas region. CBS News correspondents reported hearing loud blasts in the capital city, Kyiv, and in the eastern city of Kharkiv.
A Ukrainian government spokesperson said early Thursday that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes are underway at the control centers" in Kyiv.
Russian forces have launched a military assault on neighbouring Ukraine, crossing its borders and bombing military targets near big cities.
In a pre-dawn TV statement Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not plan to occupy Ukraine and demanded that its military lay down their arms.
Moments later, attacks were reported on Ukrainian military targets.
Ukraine said that "Putin has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine".
Russian military vehicles were said to have breached the border in a number of places, in the north, south and east, including from Belarus.
[Editor's Note: This is how we received it. We are searching for anything else but the claim that Assange is (being) extradited is currently unsubstantiated.]
Assange is extradited to die in the US empire.
Wikileaks now puts EVERYTHING online in return.
US President Joe Biden has pledged support to states affected by a swarm of devastating tornadoes that demolished homes, levelled businesses and left at least 100 people feared dead.
Describing the tornadoes as likely "one of the largest" storm outbreaks in history, Biden on Saturday approved an emergency disaster declaration for the worst-hit state of Kentucky, where at least 22 people have been confirmed dead.
"It's a tragedy," said a shaken Biden. "And we still don't know how many lives are lost and the full extent of the damage."
He added, "I promise you, whatever is needed – whatever is needed – the federal government is going to find a way to provide it."
The powerful twisters, which weather forecasters say are unusual in cooler months, destroyed a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, ripped through a nursing home in neighbouring Arkansas, and killed at least six workers at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the collection of tornadoes was the most destructive in the state's history. He said about 40 workers had been rescued at the candle factory, which had about 110 people inside when it was reduced to a pile of rubble.
[...] Mayfield Fire Chief Jeremy Creason, whose own station was destroyed, said the candle factory was diminished to a "pile of bent metal and steel and machinery" and that responders had to at times "crawl over casualties to get to live victims".
[...] The tornado outbreak was triggered by a series of overnight thunderstorms, including a supercell storm that formed in northeast Arkansas. That storm moved from Arkansas and Missouri and into Tennessee and Kentucky.
Unusually high temperatures and humidity created the environment for such an extreme weather event at this time of year, said Victor Gensini, a professor in geographic and atmospheric sciences at Northern Illinois University.
"This is an historic, if not generational event," Gensini said.
If early reports are confirmed, the twister may have touched down for nearly 250 miles (400km), he said, a path length longer than the longest tornado on record, which tracked for about 220 miles (355 km) through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana in March 1925.
[...] The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said it received 36 reports of tornadoes touching down in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
[...] In Edwardsville, Illinois, Fire Chief James Whiteford said at least six people were killed when an Amazon warehouse collapsed. Some 45 people survived.
[...] In Monette, Arkansas, one person was killed and five seriously injured when a tornado tore through a nursing home with 90 beds.
Facebook and its sister properties Instagram and WhatsApp are suffering from ongoing, global outages. We don't yet know why this happened, but the how is clear: Earlier this morning, something inside Facebook caused the company to revoke key digital records that tell computers and other Internet-enabled devices how to find these destinations online.
Doug Madory is director of internet analysis at Kentik, a San Francisco-based network monitoring company. Madory said at approximately 11:39 a.m. ET today (15:39 UTC), someone at Facebook caused an update to be made to the company's Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) records. BGP is a mechanism by which Internet service providers of the world share information about which providers are responsible for routing Internet traffic to which specific groups of Internet addresses.
In simpler terms, sometime this morning Facebook took away the map telling the world's computers how to find its various online properties. As a result, when one types Facebook.com into a web browser, the browser has no idea where to find Facebook.com, and so returns an error page.
In addition to stranding billions of users, the Facebook outage also has stranded its employees from communicating with one another using their internal Facebook tools. That's because Facebook's email and tools are all managed in house and via the same domains that are now stranded.
[...] This is a developing story and will likely be updated throughout the day.
About 200 US businesses have been hit by a "colossal" ransomware attack, according to a cyber-security firm.
Huntress Labs said the hack targeted Florida-based IT company Kaseya before spreading through corporate networks that use its software.
Kaseya said in a statement on its own website that it was investigating a "potential attack".
Huntress Labs said it believed the Russia-linked REvil ransomware gang was responsible.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, a federal agency, said in a statement that it was taking action to address the attack.
The cyber-breach emerged on Friday afternoon as companies across the US were clocking off for the long Independence Day weekend.
The two big things that are keeping cyber-security professionals up at night lately are ransomware attacks and supply chain attacks. This latest incident combines both nightmares into one big Independence Holiday weekend-ruining event for hundreds of US IT teams.
Ransomware is the scourge of the internet. Multiple organised criminal gangs are constantly attempting to gain access to computer networks to hold them hostage. The rate of attack is relentless but it can take a lot of time and effort on the criminals part to successfully hijack one victim's computer system.
(This is from the first link I found online.)
Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years for George Floyd Murder:
Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd, a Black man, was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison Friday.
[...] The 22 1/2-year sentence is 10 years more than the state’s guidelines and Cahill justified the longer sentence citing “aggravating factors”.
In his ruling last month, Cahill found that prosecutors had shown there were four aggravating factors that would allow him to hand down a longer prison term than sentencing guidelines would dictate.
The judge agreed that Chauvin abused his position of trust and authority; that he treated Floyd with particular cruelty by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes, even as Floyd declared “I can’t breathe”; that he committed the crime as part of a group with three other officers; and that he committed the murder in front of children.
The prosecution had requested Derek Chauvin serve 360 months (30 years) in prison. The defense requested 150 months (12.5 years).
On April 20, 2021, a jury, consisting of six white people and six people of color, found Chauvin guilty on three counts: unintentional second-degree murder; third-degree murder; and second-degree manslaughter
Derek Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before coming to their decision.
The case concerned about 12,000 lines of code that Google used to build Android that were copied from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010. It was seen as a landmark dispute over what types of computer code are protected under American copyright law.
Oracle had claimed at points to be owed as much as $9 billion, while Google claimed that its use of the code was covered under the doctrine of fair use and therefore not subject to copyright liability. Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
In addition to resolving a multibillion-dollar dispute between the tech titans, the ruling helps affirm a longstanding practice in software development. But the Court declined to weigh in on the broader question of whether APIs are copyrightable.
Several of the other justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, suggested they were sympathetic to Oracle's copyright claims.
Still, they appeared reluctant to rule in Oracle's favor because of arguments made by leading computer scientists and Microsoft, in friend-of-the-court briefs, that doing so could upend the industry.
Held: Google's copying of the Java SE API, which included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, was a fair use of that material as a matter of law. Pp. 11–36.
[Updated 2021-03-29 19:40:51 UTC] Ed. note: At the time of originally writing this story, the only information I could find on the ship's freeing was from directly watching it happen in real time. As originally reported here, that was on VesselFinder.com. There had been some reports last night of Ever Given having been freed, but those were later retracted. News reports were, therefore, suspect. The ship was still stuck. But then I was able to see it underway! I was also monitoring our news feeds and failed to find any reports concurrent with the apparent time of the ship's freeing. Again, the only certain information I had was watching it unfold online. In the interest of getting this breaking news to the community, accurately, and as quickly as possible, I could only refer the information I had at hand.
I'd read discussions elsewhere suggesting various approaches for freeing the ship, none of which held up to closer scrutiny. It's not just a matter of "pull harder!" The structural integrity of the ship was in question. A ship of that size undergoing an abrupt stop due to impact had the distinct possibility of breaking open and sinking. That would make the situation much, much worse. That it did no happen immediately was fortuitous. It was very much possible that a hasty attempt to free it could break it apart and sink it. That would make things much worse. Careful planning was required. Hence, the inclusion of a memorable example of Smit Salvage's successful raising of the Kursk. They knew what they were doing. Anything we could come up with was certainly already considered.
[Update 2] It's a few hours later and I'm finally seeing reports in the regular media that contains more detail. Take a look at Ship stuck in Suez Canal is freed: Everything you need to know. Sadly, even that lacks the details that I want to see. Just how did they get it free? How much and what kinds of equipment did they use? What process did they follow? What ideas did they consider and then reject, and why? If you come upon these kinds of details, please post them to the comments! --martyb
The original story appears below.
According to real-time updates, the container ship "Ever Given" has now been freed and is under way:
You can follow its progress at VesselFinder.com. (The web site seems to be struggling under the load.) At the moment of this writing, it is heading on a Course of 349.2° (nearly due north) at a speed of 2.3 knots.
It is headed to Great Bitter Lake. Once there and out of the path of other shipping, it will undergo technical inspections.
According to various reports, the Suez Canal carries anywhere from 10-15% of the world's shipping. The effort to dislodge the ship is led by Smit Salvage who is renowned in the ship salvage industry. They successfully took on the task of raising the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk. Powered by two nuclear reactors, it sank August 14, 2000 while a full complement of torpedoes and missiles.
How will the backlog of hundreds of ships be prioritized for passage? That backlog is clearly visible from space. The canal's capacity is on the order of 55 ships per day. Will they take each ship first-come first-served? What about perishable and time-sensitive cargo? Take advantage of supply and demand to set up a bidding war? With the whole world watching and second guessing every decision, what should they do?
First image from surface. (Members of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover team watch in mission control as the first images arrive moments after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).
Packed with groundbreaking technology, the Mars 2020 mission launched July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Perseverance rover mission marks an ambitious first step in the effort to collect Mars samples and return them to Earth.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet in the 2030s.”
About the size of a car, the 2,263-pound (1,026-kilogram) robotic geologist and astrobiologist will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation of Mars’ Jezero Crater. While the rover will investigate the rock and sediment of Jezero’s ancient lakebed and river delta to characterize the region’s geology and past climate, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. To that end, the Mars Sample Return campaign, being planned by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), will allow scientists on Earth to study samples collected by Perseverance to search for definitive signs of past life using instruments too large and complex to send to the Red Planet.
Image Gallery: Perseverance Rover.