Cyclone Gaja to hit Tamil Nadu coast soon; choppers rushed for relief

Tens of thousands of rescue personnel were on standby and many more people were evacuated in south Tamil Nadu coast as authorities braced for the landfall of Cyclone Gaja late this evening or night. The cyclone, the first major weather system to form since the onset of the North East monsoon on November 1, was moving at a speed of 10 kmph as of 6 pm, he said. The Met officials in Chennai said the outer edge of the cyclone has come close to the shores so it is expected…

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Greenland ice sheet hides huge ‘impact crater’

What looks to be a large impact crater has been identified beneath the Greenland ice sheet. The 31km-wide depression came to light when scientists examined radar images of the island’s bedrock. Investigations suggest the feature was probably dug out by a 1.5km-wide iron asteroid sometime between about 12,000 and three million years ago. But without drilling through nearly 1km of ice to sample the bed directly, scientists can’t be more specific. “We will endeavour to do this; it would certainly be the best way to get the ‘dead fish on…

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Facebook accused of dark PR tactics

Facebook faces a new controversy over alleged tactics it used to discredit its critics, embarrass rival firms and downplay problems at the company. The New York Times has published a wide-ranging account of the methods Facebook and a public relations firm used to “deny and deflect” criticism. The report has led US lawmakers to call for tighter regulation of social networks. Facebook has denied several of the claims. The New York Times report claimed Facebook: urged reporters to investigate whether there were financial links between billionaire George Soros, a prominent philanthropist, and…

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Monkey kills baby boy in Agra

A 12-day-old boy has died after he was snatched from his mother and bitten by a monkey in northern India. The infant’s mother was breastfeeding him at their home in the city of Agra when the animal entered the house and grabbed him, the family said. The monkey dropped the badly bitten child on a neighbour’s roof after locals gave chase to the animal. The baby died of his injuries in hospital. Locals say monkey attacks in the area are growing more frequent. The baby’s uncle, Dhirendra Kumar, told the…

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US-led coalition warplanes target eastern Syrian towns with cluster bombs: Report

The US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has reportedly carried out fresh aerial attacks against residential areas in Syria’s Eastern Province of Dayr al-Zawr, using internationally-banned cluster bombs. Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that US-led military aircraft struck the town of Hajin in the Abu Kamal district of the province on Wednesday. US-led jets also launched a cluster bomb raid on al-Shaafah town in the same Syrian district. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent…

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US drone strikes killing more civilians in Yemen: Report

Civilian casualties from the years-long US drone strikes in Yemen are on the rise, a new report has warned, pointing to yet another major threat facing the Yemeni people amid a devastating war by Saudi Arabia. US President Donald Trump has dramatically ramped-up drone attacks in the impoverished country, carrying out 176 attacks in more than two years, far more than the 154 attacks that former President Barack Obama authorized in his entire eight years in office, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Overall, drone attacks carried out under Trump have killed more than…

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At least 59 killed, 130 missing in California’s deadliest wildfire

The toll in the deadliest wildfires in recent California history climbed to 59 on Wednesday as authorities released a list of 130 people still missing. According to Press TV, most of those unaccounted for are from the Butte County town of Paradise, in northern California, which was virtually erased from the map by the so-called “Camp Fire” blaze that erupted last week. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told journalists Wednesday evening that 461 search and rescue personnel and 22 cadaver dogs were involved in the effort to locate those missing…

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