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Stray plane forces last-minute space launch delay

Stray plane forces last-minute space launch delay

Technology
A space launch has been aborted just moments before lift-off after a small aircraft strayed into the rocket's hazard area.Commercial shipper Orbital ATK was within two minutes of launching its unmanned Antares rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia when the aircraft appeared six miles offshore, flying at around 500ft.It prompted the postponement of the launch, which will now take place on Sunday morning.Orbital ATK's Antares rocket is set to carry a capsule holding 7,400 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), supplying six astronauts with fresh fruit, vegetables, ice cream bars and equipment for experiments.Image:The rocket is raised into position at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in VirginiaThe cargo will help researchers conduct studies on how space's mic...
Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk as Kurds flee

Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk as Kurds flee

World
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceIraqi government forces have entered central Kirkuk after taking key installations outside the disputed city from Kurdish fighters.Thousands of people fled the city ahead of the Iraqi advance.The Iraqi military moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum.They are aiming to retake areas under Kurdish control since Islamic State militants swept through the region.Residents of Kurdish-controlled areas, including Kirkuk, overwhelmingly backed secession from Iraq in a 25 September vote.While Kirkuk is outside Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish voters in the city were allowed to take part.Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, had denounced the vote as unconstitutional. But the Kurdistan Regional Governm...
Kirkuk: Clashes reported after Iraqi forces advance on Kurdish-held sites

Kirkuk: Clashes reported after Iraqi forces advance on Kurdish-held sites

World
Clashes have been reported between Iraqi and Kurdish forces after Baghdad sent troops towards disputed areas held by the Kurds in Kirkuk province.State TV said government forces had taken control of some areas, including oil fields, "without fighting". But Kurdish officials denied this.An exchange of artillery fire is said to have occurred south of Kirkuk city. The US government has said it is very concerned and urged dialogue "as the best option to defuse tensions".Why was the operation launched?Tensions between Iraq's Arab-led central government and the autonomous Kurdistan Region intensified after people living in areas under its control voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum last month.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the referendum was unconstitutional and dema...
Iraqi forces regain full control of Tal Afar

Iraqi forces regain full control of Tal Afar

World
Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Iraqi forces regained total control of the northern city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State on Sunday, Joint Operations command said."By God, it is victory...100 percent liberated," the War Media Cell, the Joint Operations Command's media service, posted on its Facebook page. The word "liberated" in Arabic was stamped on a map of Tal Afar.Earlier Sunday, an Iraqi commander said Islamic State militants were cornered in a region northwest of Tal Afar as Iraqi forces had retaken all areas of the town.On Saturday, the joint commend said it had attained 90 percent control of the city center. Islamic State's largest telecommunications tower was seized and burned.The government launched an operation on Aug. 20.Tal Afar was the militants' last holdout in Nineveh. One month ago, fo...
Iraqi forces seize most of Tal Afar from Islamic State

Iraqi forces seize most of Tal Afar from Islamic State

World
Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Iraqi forces have reclaimed a majority of the Islamic State controlled city of Tal Afar as part of a weeklong offensive.Iraqi Joint Military Command spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said Saturday joint troops controlled 60 percent of the battlefield and 90 percent of the city center of Tal Afar in the northwestern Nineveh province.Troops liberated al-Qadisiya, al-Rabei and al-Salam and al-Bawari, as well as the central areas of the Citadel and al-Basateen, where they raised the Iraqi flag.Also on Saturday, paramilitary troops seized the Islamic State's largest telecommunications tower and burned it completely to hide information.The offensive began on Sunday as troops worked to reclaim the last remaining IS enclave in the province after the fall of Mosul.Nearly 500 famili...