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NASA spacecraft begins search for new planets

NASA spacecraft begins search for new planets

Technology
NASA's Tess spacecraft has blasted off from Earth in a search for new planets that could support life.Tess lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Wednesday evening local time, riding a SpaceX Falcon rocket.The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will spend two years scouring 85% of the sky and hundreds of thousands of its brightest stars.The satellite, about the size of a washing machine, will scan the stars for signs of periodic dimming, which may mean that planets are orbiting around them.It is hoped that Tess will find around 20,000 exoplanets - planets outside our solar system - with more than 50 expected to be Earth-sized.There are already 3,700 exoplanets that we know of, with another 4,500 on the not-yet-verified list.Tess is looking for the ones that are Earth-like and clos...
Critics wary as Google's Chrome begins an ad crackdown

Critics wary as Google's Chrome begins an ad crackdown

Technology
On Thursday, Google will begin using its Chrome browser to eradicate ads it deems annoying or otherwise detrimental to users. It just so happens that many of Google's own most lucrative ads will sail through its new filters. The move, which Google first floated back in June, is ostensibly aimed at making online advertising more tolerable by flagging sites that run annoying ads such as ones that auto-play video with sound. And it's using a big hammer: Chrome will start blocking all ads — including Google's own — on offending sites if they don't reform themselves. There's some irony here, given that Google's aim is partly to convince people to turn off their own ad-blocking software. These popular browser add-ons deprive publishers (and Google) of revenue by preventing ads from displaying.
First trial linked to 2015 Paris attacks begins

First trial linked to 2015 Paris attacks begins

World
Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The first trial related to the November 2015 Paris terror attack began Wednesday for a man accused of harboring two militants who alleged carried out the shootings.Jawad Bendaoud appeared in a Paris criminal court for the first day of a trial that's expected to last three weeks. He was charged with providing shelter to Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Chakib Akrouh by renting them an apartment in Saint-Denis.Abaaoud was a senior Islamic State militant suspected of coordinating the Paris attacks, in which 130 victims and seven militants died.Dubbed the "landlord of Daesh," by the French media using an alternative name for the Islamic State, Bendaoud, 31, said he didn't realize the two men were involved in the attack when he offered them the place to stay.Five days after the Nov. 13, ...
US shutdown: Government services closed as working week begins

US shutdown: Government services closed as working week begins

World
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be unable to report for work on Monday, as the US Senate struggles to end a government shutdown.Some will not be paid until the stalemate is resolved. A rare Sunday session of the Senate yielded no agreement between Democrats and Republicans, with immigration one of the main sticking points.Essential services will still run but famous sites such as the Statue of Liberty have already been affected.The monument was closed on Sunday but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would dip into state funds to pay the daily employment bill and reopen the popular tourist site.Why has the government shut down?It missed a deadline. At midnight on Friday, lawmakers failed to agree on a spending bill. The bill was not a plan for funding for the whole of 2018...
'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' begins rehearsals on Broadway

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' begins rehearsals on Broadway

Entertainment
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Rehearsals have begun for the Broadway premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a stage play about the former boy wizard as a family man and "overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic," show representatives announced Thursday.Preview performances are scheduled to begin March 16 at the Lyric Theatre, with an official opening set for April 22.Seven members of the award-winning, original West End company have reunited on stage for the New York debut: Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, as well as Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter, Sam Clemmett as Albus Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy."Based on an original, new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Po...