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Holocaust Survivors Return to Auschwitz, 70 Years Later

Holocaust Survivors Return to Auschwitz, 70 Years Later

State Dept(WARSAW, Poland) -- About 300 people returned to Auschwitz on Tuesday for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp in Poland where more than one million people were slaughtered during World War II.They are old. And they are the last who can testify to us about what it was like -- the darkness, the unspeakable darkness. For others, the smell of burning bodies, human smoke from the crematoriums, lingers forever in memory.Tuesday’s commemoration was noticeably smaller than those in previous years. Only a few world leaders came and the U.S. sent the Treasury secretary.However, as the terror attacks in Paris and other recent anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and elsewhere have demonstrated, Jews are once again being targeted in Europe, just because they are Jews."For a time, we thought that the hatred of Jews had finally been eradicated," Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, told those assembled at Tuesday's ceremonies. "But slowly the demonization of Jews started to come back."Once again," Lauder said. "young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of Paris and Budapest and London. Once again, Jewish businesses are targeted. And once again, Jewish families are fleeing Europe."Added Roman Kent, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, fighting back tears, "We do not want our past to be our children's future."

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ISIS Hostage Says He’ll Be Killed Within 24 Hours

ISIS Hostage Says He’ll Be Killed Within 24 Hours

Ahmed Muhammed Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Japanese journalist held by the terror group ISIS said in a chilling new video that he and another captive have been given 24 hours or less to live unless a convicted terrorist is freed from prison.In a new video uploaded online early Tuesday, journalist Kenji Goto tells the camera he has been told it is his "last message" and that "time is running very short.""It is me for her," he says, referring to Sajida al-Rishawi, a female would-be suicide bomber who confessed to her role in a string of deadly al Qaeda attacks in Jordan in 2005. She has been on death row in Jordan ever since. In a previous video, ISIS first made the demand for al-Rishawi's release.Goto says first ISIS will kill a Jordanian pilot they've been holding captive, and then himself if the terrorists' demands aren't met.

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Watch: What Lightning Looks Like from Space

Watch: What Lightning Looks Like from Space

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This is a storm-watching vantage point like none other. A newly released video taken from the International Space Station shows stunning flashes of light as a lightning storm strikes Earth.Taken from an altitude of 250 miles, the time-lapse footage was created using several dozen images captured in 2012 by an astronaut at the ISS. The video was released Tuesday on YouTube by the European Space Agency.

Since the space station moves at nearly 18,000 miles per hour in low-Earth orbit, it would be impossible to get a crisp image using a normal video camera.The video was created using the agency's Nightpod camera, which accounts for the motion of the station and keeps the area being photographed in the center of the frame. The result: Breathtaking images, just like those seen here.

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Russia Says ‘No Evidence’ of NYC Spying, Despite FBI Tapes

Russia Says ‘No Evidence’ of NYC Spying, Despite FBI Tapes

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Russia has rejected accusations that one of its citizens, Manhattan banker Yevgeny Buryakov, and two of its diplomats were actually spies for Russian intelligence, as alleged by the FBI following the arrest of the banker Monday.Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said there was “no evidence” to support the charges and blamed the incident on Washington’s hostility during an “anti-Russian campaign."“We demand that provocations against Russian representatives started by U.S. security services stop, that consular workers have immediate access to Yevgeny Buryakov, that the rights of the Russian citizen be strictly observed and his release from custody be ordered,” Lukashevich said.He warned Buryakov's arrest will “aggravate” U.S.-Russia relations.The FBI, however, contends it has reams of evidence against the three men, including candid recorded conversations of some of the spies talking to each other and other alleged secret agents about operations and potential sources of information.In one recorded conversation, the two “diplomats,” Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, discussed the problems recruiting young females in New York City as spies.“I have lots of ideas about such girls but these ideas are not actionable because they don’t allow [someone] to get close enough,” Sporyshev says, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday. “And in order to be close you either need to f*** them or use other levers to influence them to execute my requests. So when you tell me about girls, in my experience, it’s very rare that something workable will come of it.”Sporyshev and Podobnyy were not arrested in connection with the alleged spy ring, as they no longer live in the U.S. and have diplomatic immunity. However, Buryakov was allegedly a “non-official cover” agent -- a spy who comes into a target country in the guise of a private citizen without the protection of diplomatic immunity.

As described in another court document, "in many cases [NOCs] are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government. As a result, a NOC is an extremely valuable intelligence asset for the SVR."Mark Stout, a former CIA analyst, said the tradecraft described in the criminal complaint seemed straight out of the Cold War.“This is really a classic case of espionage, I think, in terms of how it was conducted both on the Russian side as well as on the FBI side,” Stout told ABC News Monday. “The FBI is very good at this. I would not run up against the FBI trying to run an espionage operation in the United States.”

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Massive Asteroid Zooms Past Earth with a Surprise Moon

Massive Asteroid Zooms Past Earth with a Surprise Moon

NASA/JPL-Caltech(NEW YORK) — The first images showing an asteroid whizzing past Earth on Monday reveal the mountain-sized mass brought with it a surprise moon.Asteroid 2004 BL86 made its closest approach to Earth on Monday morning, coming within 745,000 miles -- about 3.1 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.The first images released by NASA show the asteroid has a moon measuring about 230 feet wide. As many as 150 asteroids have a companion moon, with some even having two, according to NASA.

While the latest asteroid pass was not visible to the naked eye, it brought with it plenty of excitement as it made what is believed to be its closest brush with humanity for the next two centuries.The next time an asteroid will brush this closely past Earth will be in 2027 when asteroid 1999 AN10 zooms by our planet.

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Unleashed ‘Polar Bear’ Delights London Residents

Unleashed ‘Polar Bear’ Delights London Residents

Daniel Lewis/Rex Features(LONDON) — New York City may have gotten the snow, but London is where the "polar bear" lives.London residents got a special surprise this week when a "polar bear" was unleashed on the city streets and even in the Underground.Rather than cause alarm and frantic calls to animal control, the bear -- actually a high-tech puppet -- was greeted with delight and wonder.The 8-foot-long bear is part of an ad campaign by U.K. network Sky Atlantic to draw attention for their arctic drama Fortitude.Instead of sticking to the usual advertisements, Sky Atlantic worked with special effects experts to create the life-like polar bear. It took 19 prop specialists eight weeks to design and build the animal from 60 kinds of material.To make the bear extremely life-like individual hairs were placed on the bear's head and then an electro static current was run through them so they would stand on end.To bring the animal to life, two puppeteers trained for days to get the right polar bear "gait" down."To launch our new Arctic-noir thriller we wanted to bring a realistic polar bear to the streets of London to give people an up close experience of what it must be like to come face to face with one of the biggest, but uncredited stars of our new show,'" Zai Bennett, Director of Sky Atlantic, said in a statement.

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Astronomers Discover Ancient Solar System with Earth-Like Planets

Astronomers Discover Ancient Solar System with Earth-Like Planets

Tiago Campante/Peter Devine/University of Birmingham(NEW YORK) -- The discovery of a solar system as old as the Milky Way, and with five Earth-like planets, could shed new light on the possibility of ancient life forms in the galaxy.The planets orbit around Kepler 444, which at 11.2 billion years old, is more than twice as old as the sun, according to researchers at the University of Birmingham in Britain who published their findings Tuesday in the Astrophysical Journal.Despite being 117 light-years away from Earth, in the direction of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra, researchers were able to learn more about the solar system using a practice called astroseismology.Listening to the hum of Kepler 444, the team was able to notice the slight changes in brightness created by the noise, which enabled them to measure the star's diameter, mass and calculate its approximate age.Researchers studied the brightness of the star over time and detected planets passing in front of it, creating a slight dimming effect. Depending how much the light was dimmed, researchers were then able to measure the size of the planets, using Kepler 444 as a baseline."There are far-reaching implications for this discovery," lead researcher Tiago Campante said in a statement. "We now know that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe's 13.8 billion year history, which could provide scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy."Since the newly discovered planets are older than Earth is, researchers hope that by studying them, they may learn more about planet formation -- including what could be in store for our home.

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American Among Dead in Tripoli, Libya, Hotel Attack

American Among Dead in Tripoli, Libya, Hotel Attack

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Several gunmen wearing ski masks stormed the Corinthia Hotel, a hotel popular with western diplomats and journalists in Libya’s capitol, Tripoli, on Tuesday, taking a number of hostages and leaving at least eight people dead.

The U.S. State Department and a Libyan government source confirmed to ABC News that a U.S. citizen was among the dead.

The American fatality was identified as David Berry. Berry was an employee of Team Crucible, a U.S. security and training company based in Virginia. In a statement Tuesday, Team Crucible said it "mourns this extraordinary loss."Security services told the AFP they managed to surround the gunman on the 23rd floor of the hotel, which is when the men then detonated their explosives.An eyewitness described the harrowing attack to the BBC, saying, "I suddenly heard shots and saw people running towards me, and we all escaped from the back [of the hotel] through the underground garage. The hotel did a lockdown after that."Images purportedly showing the gunmen from the hotel's surveillance video have shown up on social media, but there has been no official confirmation on who the attackers were.

A Twitter account affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility, saying the attack on the Corinthia Hotel was in revenge for the death of a Libyan jihadist by the name of Abu Anas al Libi. Al Libi was linked to the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.

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Swiss Court Rejects Vatican Bank’s Appeal to Keep Account Info Secret

Swiss Court Rejects Vatican Bank’s Appeal to Keep Account Info Secret

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- Switzerland's federal criminal court has rejected an appeal by the Vatican to keep information from one of its Swiss bank accounts a secret.After a request by Italian prosecutors for information about a Vatican bank account held in Switzerland, judges at the Swiss court handed most of it over.The prosecutors believe the account was used by third parties to launder money from the sale of a company.

The Vatican bank tried to invoke the Vatican's sovereign immunity in the matter, but the Swiss judges ruled the transactions were not covered by immunity rules.The decision comes as the U.S. puts increasing pressure on Switzerland to lift the lid on its decades-old secret banking practices.

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Israel: Two Rockets Fired into Golan Heights from Syria

Israel: Two Rockets Fired into Golan Heights from Syria

iStock/Thinkstock(BEIRUT) -- Two rockets landed in northern Israel Tuesday after being fired from Syria, according to the Israeli military.Both landed in open areas in the Golan Heights and neither one caused any injuries.Israel's military says it returned fire with artillery, and ordered the evacuation of a nearby ski resort.It's unclear who fired the rockets.Tuesday's incident comes just over a week after an Israeli strike in Syria killed a unit from Hezbollah and a top Iranian general.

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Watch US Soldiers Work in Hot Zone to Build Ebola Treatment Units

Watch US Soldiers Work in Hot Zone to Build Ebola Treatment Units

John Moore/Getty Images(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The United States military has completed the last of its 17 Ebola treatment units (ETUs) in Liberia.

Rather than contracting out the construction, American soldiers picked up hammers themselves and worked side by side with the Armed Forces of Liberia for the final ETU under Operation United Assistance.Working 12-hour days in a remote rainforest brought plenty of challenges but also camaraderie rarely seen on a military mission.

Watch the video below as ABC News was there from start to finish to show the building of bonds as well as Ebola treatment blocks:

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, who leads the Joint Command task force on the ground, told ABC News that the Department of Defense will decide this month the future of the operation against Ebola and whether to send troops home. About 450 non-essential service members have already returned to the United States. Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone, the spread of the disease has been steadily decreasing in Liberia.The U.S. military has not only helped build ETUs in Liberia, but troops have also trained more than 1,500 health workers to go into these hot zones. In a mock ETU in the capital Monrovia and in mobile courses in more remote regions, soldiers drilled doctors and other medical staff on how to tackle and treat the dangers of the deadly disease.Classes covered everything from confronting uncooperative patients to avoiding contamination from bodily fluids and blood, realistically simulated by red ratatouille sauce from the military's Meals Ready to Eat (better known as MREs).

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Malaysia Airlines Hit by Lizard Squad Hack Attack

Malaysia Airlines Hit by Lizard Squad Hack Attack

Malaysia Airlines(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- The hacker group Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for attacking Malaysia Airlines' website on Sunday.

Users who logged onto the Malaysia Airlines website were greeted with the image of a lizard in a top hat and the message: "404 -- plane not found." Below that were the words: "Hacked by Lizard Squad -- official Cyber Caliphate."The attack came after a difficult year in which the airline lost two flights, including one that has yet to be found.At issue in the hack attack is whether Lizard Squad obtained any private information belonging to passengers. The group tweeted late Sunday that it planned to dump data found on the airline's servers. Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that "user data remains secured."The company acknowledged its website was having issues late Sunday. The website was fully operational again mid-afternoon Monday in Malaysia."Malaysia Airlines confirms that its Domain Name System (DNS) has been compromised where users are re-directed to a hacker website when www.malaysiaairlines.com URL is keyed in," a statement Monday from the airline said. "At this stage, Malaysia Airlines' web servers are intact. The airline has resolved the issue with its service provider and the system is expected to be fully recovered within 22 hours.""Making claims of data theft is serious and should be taken seriously," Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert to Intel Security, told ABC News. "Those who have information stored on the site, such as personal information and credit card numbers should take heed and take steps to ensure their accounts are secure. Monitor statements looking for unauthorized activity. Beware of phishy emails and avoid clicking links. Otherwise pay attention to news reports and look for the airline to send out a communication."Malaysia Airlines said it has also reported the incident to CyberSecurity Malaysia and the country's Ministry of Transport.Lizard Squad has previously claimed responsibility through tweets for attacking the Sony PlayStation and Xbox networks over Christmas, and earlier this month, the "Cyber Caliphate" briefly took over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command, authorities said.Known for its trollish and prankster style, Lizard Squad's weapon of choice is most commonly the DDoS (distributed denial of service attacks), which flood a target's servers with fake traffic, knocking it offline.While authorities have Lizard Squad on their radar, making arrests has proven to be difficult as the tech savvy group is dispersed around the world.After a joint investigation between the FBI and authorities in the United Kingdom, an 18-year-old man was arrested earlier this month in northwest England as part of an investigation into the Christmas gaming attacks.

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Fidel Castro Expresses Doubts About US Politics, Says He Hasn’t Spoken with US Officials in Letter to Communist Newspaper

Fidel Castro Expresses Doubts About US Politics, Says He Hasn’t Spoken with US Officials in Letter to Communist Newspaper

ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images(HAVANA, Cuba) -- Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro says that he has no confidence in the United States policy and that he has not exchanged a single word with U.S. officials.In a letter penned for communist newspaper Granma, Castro said that he was not flatly rejecting a peaceful solution to the conflict between the two nations. He urged that any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and any and all Latin American nations that do not involve or employ force should be treated in accordance of international principles and norms.Instead, Castro defended his brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, who announced last month, at the same time U.S. President Barack Obama did, that the two nations would work to repair their relationship. Fidel said his brother had taken steps that fall under his authority. Castro said that he would always defend the cooperation and friendship with all countries of the world, including political adversaries. The first round of high-level talks in decades between the two nations began last week, with Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson calling them "cordial and respectful."

 

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More than 20,000 Foreign Fighters May Be in Iraq and Syria, More than Afghanistan in 1980s

More than 20,000 Foreign Fighters May Be in Iraq and Syria, More than Afghanistan in 1980s

Hope Milam/iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The International Center for the Study of Radicalization, at London's Kings College, a leading think tank, released a report on Monday placing the number of foreign fghters in the Syrian/Iraq conflict at over 20,000 -- more than there were in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The report includes about 4,000 Europeans and 100 Americans believed to be among the ranks of the jihadists. Relative to population size, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden were the most heavily affected countries, though in sheer numbers, there are more foreign fighters from France, the United Kingdom and Germany.Still, the Middle East remains the dominating source of foreign fighters, with 11,000 individuals from other Middle Eastern nations believed to be joining the fight in Iraq and Syria. Another 3,000 come from countries that formely belonged to the Soviet Union.The ICSR says that the current mobilization is the largest number of foreign fighters in Muslim-majority countries since 1945.

 

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Syrian President Says Possibility for Cooperation with US “Definitely Always There,” Criticizes Obama Administration

Syrian President Says Possibility for Cooperation with US “Definitely Always There,” Criticizes Obama Administration

ABC NEWS/Rob Wallace(NEW YORK) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Monday that the possibility of increased cooperation with the U.S. is "definitely always there" after the two nations have worked together in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.Speaking with Foreign Affairs magazine, Assad said that the two nations had been "talking about or asking for international cooperation against terrorism for 30 years." Assad said that in order to turn the "potential" into actual cooperation, questions need to be answered -- such as "how much will does the United States have to really fight terrorism on the ground?" The Syrian president called U.S. efforts thus far "window-dressing" and "nothing real." Since U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria began, Assad added, ISIS has gained more land in the two countries. Assad also questioned the intent of U.S. airstrikes on the Syrian border city of Kobani. Calling Kobani a small city, Assad told Foreign Affairs "it's been more than three months since the beginning of attacks, and [the U.S. hasn't] finished. Same areas, same al Qaeda factions occupying them -- the Syrian army liberated in less than three weeks. It means they're not serious about fighting terrorism."Assad said, in the long run, he thinks the U.S. must put pressure on countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar "to stop supporting the rebels." "This is our land; this is our country. We are responsible," Assad said. "We don't ask for American troops at all." Further, the American airstrikes in Syria, which Assad says the U.S. did not request permission for from the Syrian government, are "illegal."Also in the interview, Assad criticized the Obama administration, saying that it "[builds] its evaluation and later decisions on social media." "We call it a social media administration," Assad said, "which is not politics."

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Multiple Fatalities in NATO Fighter Jet Crash in Spain

Multiple Fatalities in NATO Fighter Jet Crash in SpainFile photo. iStock/Thinkstock(ALBACETE, Spain) -- A Greek fighter jet crashed shortly after takeoff on Monday, killing multiple people at a NATO airbase in Spain.According to a statement from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the crash "caused ...

US Embassy in Yemen Closed Until Further Notice

US Embassy in Yemen Closed Until Further Notice

iStock/Thinkstock(SANA'A, Yemen) -- The U.S. Embassy in Yemen will be closed until further notice, days after fighting and the resignation of a significant portion of the country's government leadership put its stability in question.The U.S. State Department says that the personnel working at the embassy have not been evacuated from the country. Instead, the statement means only that the embassy is not open for normal business.A statement from the embassy attributes the decision to the resignation of the Yemeni president, prime minister and cabinet, as well as "ongoing security concerns." As such, the embassy says it will be "unable to provide routine consular services" and will be limited in its ability to "assist with emergency cases involving U.S. citizens."The State Department warned Americans in Yemen of the "high security threat level" due to "terrorist activities and civil unrest." Americans are being urged to exercise caution, be vigilant, and take extra security measures at all times in all areas.

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Kurdish Fighters Retake Control of Part of City of Kobani

Kurdish Fighters Retake Control of Part of City of Kobani

Juan Bernal/iStock/Thinkstock(KOBANI, Syria) -- Kurdish fighters have retaken control of part of the city of Kobani.Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday that the Kurds were in control of about 70 percent of the city. A U.S. official told ABC News that while they couldn't confirm a percentage of the city, Kurdish forces were in control of "incrementally more" of the city than they were on Friday.Kobani, a town near the border between Syria and Turkey, has been the site of intense fighting between Kurdish fighters and ISIS. Additionally, U.S.-led coalition airstrikes have focused their attention on the city for months.A Kurdish source told ABC News Monday that ISIS remained in control of many villages surrounding Kobani.

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Turkey Court Bans Facebook Pages Insulting Prophet Muhammad

Turkey Court Bans Facebook Pages Insulting Prophet Muhammad

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ANKARA, Turkey) -- Facebook has been ordered by a Turkish court to censor pages insulting the Prophet Muhammad or risk being blocked entirely in the country.The state-run Anadolu Agency reported the ruling was handed down late Sunday by a court in Ankara. The order comes days after another court in the country banned sites showing the latest cover of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the news comes during the same month that its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has spoken out against censorship.Following the recent massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, Zuckerberg re-affirmed his commitment that "Facebook has always been a place where people across the world share their views and ideas.""We follow the laws in each country, but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world," he wrote in a Jan. 9 post.At a town hall in Colombia on Jan. 14, Zuckerberg expanded on why Facebook continues to operate in countries that put restrictions on speech, bringing the focus back to the reason why he founded the social network."This gets to the heart of our mission. We want to help connect everyone and give people a voice," Zuckerberg said.A government passing a law restricting speech should not get in the way of people in the country still being able to connect with friends and family, he said."I really deeply believe we are best serving the world...by continuing to push for as much expression as possible," he said, adding that Facebook does push back when it is asked by governments to filter something.

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Massive Asteroid 2004 BL86 to Pass Within 745,000 Miles of Earth

Massive Asteroid 2004 BL86 to Pass Within 745,000 Miles of Earth

NASA(NEW YORK) -- A massive asteroid is set to safely pass Earth on Monday. According to NASA scientists, the asteroid 2004 BL86 is approximately 1,500 feet across and will come closest to Earth at 11:19 a.m. ET.  At that time, it will be approximately 745,000 miles away."Monday, January 26 will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years," said Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more."NASA says observers should be able to see the asteroid using small telescopes and strong binoculars.The asteroid was first discovered on Jan. 30, 2004 by a telescope in White Sands, New Mexico.

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