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Rwanda Introduces Ebola Screening for Travelers from US, Spain

Rwanda Introduces Ebola Screening for Travelers from US, Spain

File photo. Blend Images/Thinkstock(KIGALI, Rwanda) -- In a turning of tables on Ebola monitoring, the East African nation of Rwanda is screening all visitors from the United States and Spain for the deadly virus.

The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda posted the following notice on its website Tuesday:

"On October 19, the Rwandan Ministry of Health introduced new Ebola Virus Disease screening requirements. Visitors who have been in the United States or Spain during the last 22 days are now required to report their medical condition -- regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms of Ebola -- by telephone by dialing 114 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the duration of their visit to Rwanda (if less than 21 days), or for the first 21 days of their visit to Rwanda. Rwandan authorities continue to deny entry to visitors who traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, or Sierra Leone within the past 22 days."

The incubation period of Ebola is generally accepted by health officials as 21 days.The notice appears to be in response to recent cases in both countries. In addition to the three people diagnosed with the deadly virus in Dallas, an additional five patients transported from West Africa have received treatment for Ebola on American soil. Spain has seen three cases, according to health officials.

Meanwhile, a rally cry to close American borders to travelers from Ebola-stricken countries appears to have hit home. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced travel restrictions Tuesday in the form of additional screening and protective measures.

Beginning Wednesday, all travelers to the Unites States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea -- the countries hardest hit by the ongoing Ebola outbreak -- will be required to fly into one of the five U.S. airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place: JFK International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and O’Hare Internal Airport in Chicago.

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Entomologist Encounters Puppy-Sized Spider in Guyana

Entomologist Encounters Puppy-Sized Spider in Guyana

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you didn’t have arachnophobia before now, this puppy-sized spider should do the trick.

Known as South American Goliath birdeater, the humongous eight-legged creepy crawly creature has a body the size of a fist and a leg span the size of a small child.

Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki recently encountered one while taking a nighttime stroll through a rain forest in Guyana."When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing," Naskrecki told the website Live Science.The spider can weigh up to six ounces, according to Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where Naskrecki is employed. Though it does not eat birds, as the name implies, it hunts worms, rats and other small animals.

Size isn’t the spider’s only chill-inducing quality. It makes loud clicking sounds with its front claws when threatened and defends itself by rubbing its back legs together to shoot clouds of microscopic barbs through the air that are highly irritating to the eyes and skin.

If it chomps down on you with its 2-inch-long fangs, you probably won’t die, unless you are allergic. But its bite contains enough venom to make you sick for days.Naskrecki said birdeaters are uncommon. He has only encountered three in all the years he has been traipsing through rain forests. He also did not specify whether his latest meeting ended in a capture for study.

But it’s a safe bet he couldn’t kill it with a shoe or trap it under a glass.

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Duchess Kate Makes First Public Appearance Since Announcing Pregnancy

Duchess Kate Makes First Public Appearance Since Announcing Pregnancy

Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) — The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for a royal engagement Tuesday in London, her first since announcing her second pregnancy last month.Kate, 32, joined her husband, Prince William, in welcoming the president and first lady of Singapore to the U.K. for their state visit with the queen.There were no signs of the health issue that forced Kate to announce her pregnancy Sept. 8, as the duchess dazzled in an Alexander McQueen dress.“She's feeling OK," Prince William said at that time, referring to the hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition characterized by acute morning sickness, that kept Kate out of the spotlight. "[It's the] early days but I hope things settle down and she feels a bit better."The palace announced Monday that Kate, who is believed to be just past the 12-week period, is due to deliver her and Prince William’s second child in April 2015, meaning the baby’s birth will come right around the time the couple celebrates their fourth wedding anniversary.Tuesday, the focus was all on the couple's royal duties as they greeted Singapore's president and his wife at London's Royal Garden Hotel.The two couples then traveled together to Horse Guards Parade, where the Singaporean leader received a full ceremonial welcome, including a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace with William, Kate, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.Kate was not planning to attend Tuesday’s private lunch hosted by the queen, however, leaving that duty to Prince William alone.Neither Kate nor William will attend the state dinner. Instead, Kate will be at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum. She is a royal patron of the museum.Prior to Tuesday’s event, Kate, the mother of 1-year-old Prince George, had not been seen in public since Aug. 5, when she attended the opening of a poppy exhibition at the Tower of London commemorating those lost in World War I.The palace announced Kate's pregnancy a few weeks later when she was forced to cancel an engagement in Oxford with William. She has been recovering with the help of her doctors at Kensington Palace, and at her parents' home in Bucklebury.

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Oscar Pistorius Begins Five-Year Prison Term, but May Be Out in One

Oscar Pistorius Begins Five-Year Prison Term, but May Be Out in One

Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Oscar Pistorius was unemotional as he was driven away Tuesday in a police van to begin a five-year prison term for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but the paralympic champion could spend less than a year behind bars.Pistorius' demeanor was in contrast to his behavior during much of the trial when he cried, sobbed loudly and vomited in response to testimony about the Valentine's Day shooting in 2013. He was convicted last month of culpable homicide, the American equivalent of manslaughter.Judge Thokozile Masipa kept the courtroom in suspense for more than an hour Tuesday before announcing her sentence, declaring that the sentence has to balance issues such as retribution, restorative justice, rehabilitation and the interest of society.She rejected the defense's argument that Pistorius should be sentenced to house arrest because of his grief and his disability. He has no legs, but became known worldwide as the Blade Runner for his speed on his running prosthetics."I heard witness after witness over-emphasizing the accused's vulnerability," the judge said. "Yes, the accused is vulnerable, but he also has excellent coping skills. He really saw himself as disabled [but] worked hard, and became respected worldwide.""A noncustodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. But a long sentence would also not be appropriate, because it would lack mercy," she said.Masipa also said Pistorius has had an enormous impact on society."He gave his time and money to charities, and changed the public's perception of disabled people. This cannot be ignored and ought to be put into perspective," Masipa said.The judge gave Pistorius a suspended sentence of three years for a weapons charge.Pistorius, 27, was unemotional as he stood with his hands clasped in front of him while Masipa delivered her sentence. He will be eligible for a sentence conversion after serving one-sixth of his sentence, meaning his sentence could be changed to house arrest after 10 months.Pistorius was led to the court's holding cells Tuesday after court adjourned, and later taken to Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria in a police van with barred windows.Prison officials examined Pistorius and decided he would be held in the prison's hospital wing because his notoriety and disability could put him at risk of attack."An assessment of Mr. Pistorius' disability has been made, in accordance with procedure, and he is being held in the hospital section, as the court was assured last week," department spokesman Ofentse Morwane said.Steenkamp's parents were in court to hear the sentence. Her mother, June Steenkamp, who has been in court for almost every day of the trial, said justice had been done.Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said: "Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society."Pistorius never denied shooting his model-girlfriend, but said it was a case of mistaken identity. He said he fired four times through a locked bathroom door in the middle of the night because he thought there was an intruder in his house.The defense has already indicated that it would not appeal the sentence or conviction, while the state has 14 days to indicate whether it will file an appeal.

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US Forces Launch 12 More Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

US Forces Launch 12 More Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

Michael Fitzsimmons/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- U.S. military forces conducted at least six more airstrikes near Kobani, Syria on Sunday night and Monday, and six more in Iraq.According to U.S. Central Command, one of the strikes in Syria was aimed at a stray resupply bundle from Sunday's U.S. airdrops of Kurdish arms and ammunition. In order to prevent those supplies from falling into the hands of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the bundle was struck by U.S. forces.Five other airstrikes in Syria hit ISIS fighting and mortar positions and an ISIS vehicle.The strikes in Iraq took place near Fallujah and Bayji. Those sorties destroyed ISIS vehicles and buildings. France and the United Kingdom also participated in the most recent strikes.

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Pentagon Calls Possible Turkish Aid in Kobani ‘Welcome News’

Pentagon Calls Possible Turkish Aid in Kobani ‘Welcome News’

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday that his country would aid Iraqi Kurdish fighters in crossing into Syria to support Kurdish fighters in the town of Kobani, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren called the statement "welcome news.""The more fighters that are available to combat [ISIS] fighters, the better," Warren said. Turkey had kept Kurdish fighters out previously due to a 30-year Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said Monday that President Obama spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend to discuss the situation in Kobani, a town that has been threatened by ISIS advances for weeks. Turkey has also taken in over one million refugees, including about 180,000 from Kobani.

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NOAA: Global Temperature in September Hottest on Record

NOAA: Global Temperature in September Hottest on Record

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released data on Monday that shows the average global temperature in September reached a new high, and marked the 38th consecutive September where the global average temperature finished above the 20th century average.September's temperature, the highest ever for the month since record keeping began in 1880, marked the fourth time this year the world temperature has set a new all-time high in a given month. May, June, and August also saw record high temperatures.The NOAA notes that, "with the exception of February, every month to date in 2014 has been among its four warmest on record."The global average temperature over land and ocean combined was 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit, the NOAA found, 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. The period between January and September also tied with the same timeframe in 1998 for the warmest January-to-September period on record, with an average temperature of 57.5 degrees Fahrenheit globally.

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Cuba Willing to Work with US to Stop Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Cuba Willing to Work with US to Stop Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Daniel Loncarevic//iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HAVANA) -- Cuban President Raul Castro says that Cuba and the United States can work "side-by-side" in the effort to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

At the ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola, Castro called the situation "a dreadful epidemic," and noted that the outbreak, "poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should be met with utmost urgency."

"At the moment," Castro highlighted, "more than 4,000 Cuban healthcare collaborators are working in 32 African countries and...they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola."

Over the weekend, Fidel Castro wrote in the state-run newspaper Granma, that ,"the hour of duty has arrived," for Cuba, and that Cuba, "did not hesitate one minute in responding to the request made by international bodies for support to the struggle against the brutal epidemic which has erupted in West Africa."

"We will happily cooperate with U.S. personnel in this task," the former Cuban president wrote, "not in search of peace between these two states which have been adversaries for so many years, but rather, in any event, for World Peace, and objective which can and should be attempted."

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Valuable Ebola Lessons the US Can Learn From Nigeria

Valuable Ebola Lessons the US Can Learn From Nigeria

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Ebola virus continues to rage through West Africa, but a few countries in the region have managed to contain the outbreak. Case in point: After six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Monday.Ebola entered Nigeria, a country of 178 million people, in July when a sick passenger flew from Liberia into Lagos, Nigeria’s largest and busiest city. Once Nigerian health officials confirmed the traveler -- Liberian-American financial consultant Patrick Sawyer -- had Ebola, they acted quickly to contain it, said Erin Hohlfelder, the global health policy director for U2 frontman Bono’s ONE Campaign.

"From the minute they were aware of the first case, they established an emergency operations center with a coordinated effort by a central body with clear lines of accountability rather than a dispersed response," Hohlfelder said.John Vertefeuille, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola response team in Nigeria, said contact tracing also played a key role in stopping the spread of the virus."Tracing was central to the success of the response," he said.Health officials set up a case management system to track and monitor patient contacts, Vertefeuille said. They followed nearly 900 people who were potentially exposed to Ebola, making 18,500 visits to check for symptoms, he pointed out.And unlike many other West African countries where the virus has spread rapidly, Nigeria has a robust health care system in place, Vertefeuille said."Lagos has a lot of health assets including a large hospital system and a fleet of ambulances. It has a large health care workforce," he said.To strengthen its response even further, the government enlisted the help of international nonprofits such as ONE, Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders, groups that already had a presence in Nigeria with a staff experienced in responding to disease outbreaks. It also relied on the expertise of groups such as the CDC and WHO.However, there were some missteps. One person infected with Ebola was too scared to come forward, evading a manhunt for several days before public health authorities were able to track him down. He eventually recovered from the virus but not before being treated by a doctor who later died.Another setback: an elaborate social media prank urging Nigerians to drink excessive amounts of salt water to avoid catching the Ebola virus. The hoax spread like wildfire for several days in August. Two people died and at least 20 people were hospitalized as a result, according to the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard News.To clamp down on the hysteria, the government asked politicians, teachers, religious leaders and celebrities to help communicate accurate information, said Edwin Ikhuoria, the Nigerian representative for the ONE campaign."Information on the dangers and method of spread of the virus was on radio, TV, billboards and SMS [text messaging] platforms," he said, adding that the government also began promoting a message of anti-stigma to prevent any potentially infected people from going underground, which would have allowed the disease to spread off the public health radar.In total, Nigeria had 20 confirmed cases before the outbreak was contained. Eight died of Ebola.Vertefeuille said if there are lessons for the United States and the rest of the world for how they deal with Ebola, it’s that it can be controlled with standard public health efforts."What we saw was two outbreaks in Nigeria –- we saw an Ebola outbreak and an outbreak of fear," he said. "Countries can communicate the basics before there is an outbreak so that the public and health care workers know how to respond ahead of time."

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UK Trash ‘Skipping’ Turns Food Waste into Meals

UK Trash ‘Skipping’ Turns Food Waste into Meals

ABC News(LONDON) -- It's no secret that millions of tons of food are wasted every day, but solutions to this issue are few.But one response can be found at a pop-up café that opened this month in Bristol, United Kingdom, exclusively serving intercepted waste food. Launched by a group of volunteers, the purpose of the café is to serve food to the needy and raise awareness about food waste.One-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted, according to a recent report by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Resources Institute. Consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food annually as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

The food served at the Skipchen varies, according to what the volunteers are able to rescue. In the evenings, teams go out and do "skipping," or finding edible food from the trash. Some of the food is also donated from restaurants and food banks or collected from farms.Volunteers wash and peel discarded foods, and don’t used anything that "doesn't look or smell right."Sam Joseph, one of the co-founders, took an official course on sanitary practices that allows him to handle and serve food. He makes sure his volunteers use appropriate tools and cutting boards and have "a high level of personal hygiene," washing their hands regularly, he told ABC News.He said they only use meat that comes under sealed packets and checks for any holes. Everything is refrigerated and cooked as soon as possible.

Customers who came in the café were overwhelmingly people already sensitive to the issue of waste, sometimes doing "skipping" themselves.Customers are not charged a set price and asked to "pay-as-you-feel."Until December, Skipchen will be operating daily at The Crofter's Rights, a pub that is leasing its 20-seat space for free.

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Sweden Expands Hunt for Suspected Russian Sub

Sweden Expands Hunt for Suspected Russian Sub

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Sweden is widening its search for what may be a distressed Russian submarine in the waters near Stockholm.

On Monday authorities ordered all ships to leave the large cluster of some 30,000 islands where the vessel was possibly spotted. A no fly zone has also gone into effect over the area.

The Swedish military has been searching for the mysterious vessel from the air and on the water since Friday.

"It's likely that foreign underwater activity is taking place in the Stockholm archipelago," Sweden's Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said at a news conference on Sunday.

Grenstad notably did not identify the origin of the suspected vessel, despite a Swedish newspaper report that says an emergency message in Russian was intercepted on a Russian emergency frequency.

Swedish authorities maintain this is an intelligence operation. They said object may have been seen three times in recent days and released a grainy photo that may show it on the surface.

"We consider all those observations to be very credible," Rear Admiral Grendstad said.

Russia has denied any involvement. Instead, the Russians suggested it was actually a Dutch submarine.

The Dutch Defense Ministry spokeswoman, however, told the BBC that "it was definitely not a Dutch submarine."

With renewed Russian military aggression in the region, the incident has sparked Cold War memories of when Sweden regularly combed its waters for Russian submarines.

In 1981, a Soviet submarine ran aground in southern Sweden, sparking a diplomatic standoff that lasted ten days until Sweden towed it back out to sea and handed it over.

If this incident does turn out to be a Russian submarine, the first question will be what it was doing there. But equally concerning may be how Russia decides to respond.

In 2000, the Kursk, a large nuclear-powered Russian submarine, sank in Russian waters in the icy Berents Sea. The country's new president Vladimir Putin ignored international offers for rescue and all 118 men on board died.

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US Airdrops Arms, Ammunition to Kurds in Syrian Town of Kobani

US Airdrops Arms, Ammunition to Kurds in Syrian Town of Kobani

Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States has airdropped small arms, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish militia forces in the besieged city of Kobani who have been fighting back an ISIS assault for weeks. The airdrops will likely stir controversy with the Turkish government, which has opposed support for Kurdish military groups in Syria that it believes are affiliated with a Kurdish group that has conducted terrorist attacks inside Turkey for decades.Senior administration officials said that on Sunday night three American C-130 aircraft dropped 27 pallets of materials for the Kurdish fighters in the city, the first such support mission for the Kurdish fighters. The materials carried aboard the aircraft were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. The mission is believed to have been successful and the American planes encountered no resistance from the ground.On a conference call with reporters Sunday night after the mission’s completion, the officials said it is possible that further support for the Kurdish fighters is likely, though it may occur in different forms. One official characterized the aid provided to the Kurdish fighters as “the type of material that would help them sustain this fight.”The airdrops will likely be controversial in Turkey, where for decades the Turkish military has been fighting the PKK militant Kurdish group -- which has conducted terrorist attacks inside Turkey in support of an independent Kurkish state. The United States also considers the PKK to be a terrorist group. The Kurdish forces fighting in Kobani belong to a larger Kurdish umbrella group known as the YPG, but which Turkey sees as an affiliate of the PKK.In an indication of how delicate the airdrops would be to Turkish-American relations, a senior administration official said President Obama spoke with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on Saturday to advise him of the intent to conduct the airdrops “and the importance that we put on it.” Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke with his Turkish counterpart on Friday about the decision to support the Syrian Kurdish fighters.The official would not characterize Turkey’s response to the notification but broadly acknowledged Turkish concerns with helping the Kurds, “Clearly we understand the longstanding Turkish concern with their range of groups, including Kurdish groups, that they’ve been engaged with in conflict at times.”A senior administration official said the airdrops had a humanitarian aspect, as the Kurdish militias could face a slaughter if they are defeated. “We’ve seen the slaughter of forces who have found themselves in ISIL’s way…and particularly when those forces have put up a tenacious battle the way these forces in Kobani have done,” said the official who used an alternate name to describe the Islamic extremist group.The officials said the airdrops had been discussed by U.S. officials “for a number of days” after it came to their attention that the Kurdish fighters were running low on supplies.American military officials have said that ISIS has decided to make seizing the border town of Kobani a focal point of their operations in Syria. They say the influx of ISIS fighters to take the city has led to an increase in the number of airstrikes in the city, presenting them with an opportunity to strike a major blow at ISIS.U.S. Central Command said in a statement Sunday that more than have 135 airstrikes have been conducted in Kobani, the vast majority of them in the past two weeks as ISIS pressed to capture the city.“Combined with continued resistance to ISIL on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed ISIL advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of ISIL combat equipment and fighting positions,” U.S. Central Command said in the statement.But one official reiterated that ISIS could still take over the city, describing the U.S. assessment of the situation on the ground there as “uncertain and tenuous.”The officials declined to directly address reports that the Kurdish fighters have been providing targeting information to U.S. and coalition aircraft. Instead they pointed to vague “decisions made” when the U.S. first got involved in the fight against ISIS, alluding to the Joint Operations Center in Erbil, iraq and American intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the region.

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Catholic Bishops Reject More Acceptance of Homosexuals

Catholic Bishops Reject More Acceptance of Homosexuals

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- There will be no conciliatory language towards gays and lesbians from the Roman Catholic Church after bishops in Vatican City Saturday rejected a move toward greater acceptance of homosexuals.The decision by the synod is a blow to Pope Francis who had preached for more tolerance although the Vatican said that bishops' document was still a work in progress.Just recently, the Church was promoting the "gifts and qualities" of gay Catholics while also appearing to be more forgiving of divorced Catholics and couples who live together but aren't married.However, many conservative bishops were apparently taken aback by this more liberal attitude and when the language came up for a vote, it failed to get the necessary two-thirds approval.Yet, the pope got the last word in after the vote, scolding some bishops for their "hostile rigidity" against those who don't fall in line with Church doctrine.

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Prince William and Wife Kate Expecting a Baby in April 2015

Prince William and Wife Kate Expecting a Baby in April 2015

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) — Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting a baby in April 2015, Palace officials confirmed in a press release.Kate continues to be affected by acute morning sickness, but her condition is steadily improving, according to the release.Her pregnancy was announced in September after she was forced to skip a number of public events.The baby will be the second for the royal couple, joining 1-year-old George. The baby will be fourth in line to the British throne after grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and big brother George.It is playfully called "an heir and a spare," with George in direct line to the throne and the new baby his alternate. Second-born royal babies can end up as monarch. Britain’s last King, George VI, acceded to the throne in 1936 when his older brother Edward VII abdicated.

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North and South Korea Exchange Gunfire at Border

North and South Korea Exchange Gunfire at Border

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North and South Korea exchanged gunfire at the border Sunday.

After about 10 North Korean soldiers approached the military demarcation line Sunday morning, South Korean soldiers gave a pre-warning broadcast and then fired warning shots.

The shootout went on for about 10 minutes Sunday afternoon.

This was the second shootout in less than 10 days.

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Speculation Runs Wild Over Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Spacecraft

Speculation Runs Wild Over Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Spacecraft

Dustin Franz/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After nearly two years in space, the small, mysterious spacecraft X-37B landed this week amid rampant speculation about just what it was doing in orbit.Run by the Air Force, the X-37B has fascinated space enthusiasts since it first launched in 2010. The ship looks like a miniature version of the recognizable NASA space shuttle. Only 29 feet long, it has a wingspan of just 15 feet, making it look practically miniscule next to the wingspan of a commercial jet.The military has kept the mission of the X-37B, leaving spacecraft fans to run wild with their guesses.Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer who worked as an orbital analyst, said many space enthusiasts have been curious about the mission of the X-37B spacecraft and some have even attempted to track it in orbit.

Weeden, now a technical advisor for the Secure World Foundation, said speculation seemed to run rampant specifically because so little has been disclosed."Because it is a secret military space plane, there is tons and tons of speculation about what it's doing in orbit," Weeden said.Popular online theories included that "it's testing the ability to drop bombs in orbit or covertly going up and disabling satellites," he said.Weeden said looking at past instances of American spacecraft, he believes the spacecraft is more likely involved in something less shocking."What I think is more practical is that it's setting up technology for surveillance," said Weeden, who pointed out the military has relied heavily on satellite surveillance for decades.Weeden also said the fact that the spacecraft can be reused and can return unmanned can allow faster turnaround on experiments.Weeden said the ship might provide a kind of fast-track space for the military to try out new equipment in orbit before it is sent via satellite. If new equipment breaks on a satellite in orbit, it can be difficult to fix. However, if it breaks in on a returnable spacecraft, engineers can make changes before it returns to orbit.The Air Force as an online page listing general areas of study for the spacecraft, including advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, and aircraft electronic systems, but has not released detailed information about these experiments.

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Hurricane Gonzalo Knocks Out Power in Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Knocks Out Power in Bermuda

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Gonzalo made a direct hit on Bermuda Friday night, unleashing pounding rains and dangerous winds.

Though Gonzalo weakened to a Category 2 storm before landfall, the large system was still one of the largest to hit the island. Winds reached up to 105 miles per hour, taking out trees and power lines in its path.

The storm left approximately 28,850 customers without power.

On Saturday Bermuda Governor George Fergusson tweeted that there have been no deaths or serious injuries.

This is the second storm in a row to hit Bermuda, following tropical storm Fay last weekend.

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Talks in Hong Kong Set for Tuesday After Night of Fighting and Arrests

Talks in Hong Kong Set for Tuesday After Night of Fighting and Arrests

Getty Images/Thomas Campean - Anadolu Agency(HONG KONG) -- After a night of fighting in Hong Kong, talks have been scheduled for Tuesday between the government and the students leading pro-democracy protests.Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said, "I'm pleased to say that good progress has been made in the preparations for the dialog between representatives of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and the Constitutional Development Task Force."

"This dialog is now likely to take place next Tuesday afternoon," Lam said. "In fact this is the earliest of three days that we have given to the Federation of Students." "I am very much looking forward to having this dialog with the student representatives."

The announcement came after fighting broke out between riot police and the protesters Friday night. Thirty-three people were arrested.

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US Forces Launch Seven More Airstrikes Near Kobani

US Forces Launch Seven More Airstrikes Near Kobani

Michael Fitzsimmons/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KOBANI, Syria) -- U.S. military forces launched seven more airstrikes around Kobani on Friday, striking operations headed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Fighter aircraft struck six targets near Kobani where reports indicated they destroyed two ISIS fighting positions and two vehicles and struck three buildings. The strikes also suppressed three more ISIS fighting positions. A separate airsrike took place near Shadadi. That strike was the first to target an ISIS oil operation, which consisted of tanks of petroleum, oil and lubricants and a pump station -- "part of the terrorist group's oil producing, processing and transportation infrastructure." That operation aimed to "destroy a portion of [ISIS]'s ability to operate oil tanker trucks at oil collection points," said a release from U.S. Central Command.

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Putin Keeps German Chancellor Waiting, Meets with Leaders at Asia-Europe Meeting

Putin Keeps German Chancellor Waiting, Meets with Leaders at Asia-Europe Meeting

The Kremlin(MILAN, Italy) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Milan to meet with a number of European leaders this week, sitting down with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for "positive" talks on Friday, after arriving late for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the night before.Putin, who arrived in Milan from Serbia where a military parade was held in his honor, was scheduled to meet with Merkel before a dinner meeting consisting of European and Asian leaders. The Russian leader, however, arrived in the middle of the dinner in the middle of the host's toast.The meeting between Putin and Merkel, which took place after dinner -- four hours after it was scheduled -- lasted about two and a half hours.

The Kremlin later posted a photo from the late meeting to its website.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also met with leaders from Australia, France, Italy, Japan, and Romania during the Asia-Europe Meeting.

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