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The Blackbird’s design reflected the fact that it was pushing the limits. The SR-71’s J58 engines could only start through use of two vehicle-mounted V8 starter engines, and the triethylborane used in the fuel would belch green flames during ignition. The J58s would switch to a partial ramjet mode at high speeds, such that the SR-71 actually became more fuel efficient when it went faster.
Thousands fled from their homes as lava oozed out of a rumbling Philippine volcano on Monday in what volcanologists described as a "quiet eruption", warning it could lead to a hazardous explosion within days. Lava was slowly flowing out of the Mayon volcano's crater along with a spectacular 1,000-metre (3,280-foot) ash plume rising into the sky, the nation's volcanology institute said. It may escalate into a hazardous eruption," Paul Alanis, science research specialist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), told AFP.
The luxury Riyadh hotel used as a prison during Saudi Arabia's crackdown on corruption will reopen for business next month, suggesting authorities are close to settling the cases of many suspects. Dozens of princes, senior officials and top businessmen were detained and confined in the five-star Ritz-Carlton Riyadh as the government launched the purge in early November. The some 200 detainees occupied half the hotel's 492 rooms. The rest was closed to business. The hotel's website now accepts bookings from Feb. 14, quoting a nightly rate for its cheapest room of 2,439 riyals (£480). Saudi authorities have said they expect the vast majority of suspects to agree to financial settlements of charges against them, and that Riyadh hopes to recover about $100 billion of illicit funds. A small number are expected to be prosecuted. Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown. In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than $1 billion, according to a Saudi official. Another top businessman who has been held at the Ritz-Carlton is billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman and owner of global investment firm Kingdom Holding. A Saudi official said this week that he was negotiating a possible settlement but so far had not agreed on terms. It has been rumoured, Mr Talal, one of the world’s richest men, could be forced to pay as much as $7bn. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a massive political and economic shake-up, marked by the sudden appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince in June. The 32-year-old son of the king has spearheaded the unprecedented crackdown on corruption among members of the government and royal family, as he consolidates his grip on power in the kingdom.
The Hawaii state employee responsible for sending out an erroneous missile alert of a ballistic missile threat has been reassigned. “The employee in question has been temporarily reassigned within our Emergency Operations Center pending the outcome of our internal investigation. A Saturday morning alert warning Hawaii residents of an incoming ballistic missile threw the archipelago into a panic and left officials scrambling to reassure resident that they were safe.
A Pegasus Airlines flight skidded off the runway of a Turkish coastal airport and plunged down a steep slope on the edge of the Black Sea, ending up only meters from the water's edge. None of the 168 people on board was hurt in the incident, but passengers spoke of panic as the aircraft tipped nose first towards the sea. Just after the flight from Ankara landed at the Black Sea city of Trabzon there was a loud noise, Fatma Gordu was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Israel's justice ministry said Monday it had fined pharmaceutical giant Teva $22 million for bribing foreign officials in a settlement that spares the company a potential criminal trial. The deal signed on Sunday comes a month after Teva announced plans to cut 14,000 jobs globally, triggering strikes in Israel and pressure from the government and the powerful Histadrut labour union. Israeli authorities had launched their own investigation "to examine the ramifications of the affair in Israel", the ministry said.
The body of a 30-year-old father who had been missing since this week's mudslides in California has been found, increasing the death toll to 20. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says Pinit Sutthithepa's body was found Saturday afternoon. Sutthithepa's 6-year-old son, Peerawat, and his father-in-law, 79-year-old Richard Loring Taylor, were also killed. His 2-year-old daughter, Lydia, is still missing. The list of those still missing in the mudslides has now shrunk to four. Pinit Sutthithepa was identified as the 20th victim of this week's deadly Montecito mudslides Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office/AP The search for survivors of the tragedy in parts of California's Santa Barbara County continued over the weekend, even as hopes dwindled to find anyone alive, officials said. "We're still in rescue mode and we still hope to find someone alive, although the chances of that are becoming slim," said Justin Cooper, a spokesperson for the multi-agency response team. Deadly California mudslides, in pictures Another 900 emergency personnel arrived Saturday to join the relief effort conducted by more than 2,100 personnel from local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the American Red Cross. The ramped-up rescue effort is in response to urgent requests for additional manpower made earlier in the week. Heavy rains on Tuesday soaked the area near Montecito, north of Los Angeles, where vegetation had been stripped away by the largest wildfire in California's history last month. Sodden hillsides gave way, unleashing a torrent of mud, water, uprooted trees and boulders onto the valley below and killing people aged 3 to 89. The destruction covered 30 square miles (78 square km), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and forced the partial closure of one of California's most celebrated coastal roads, the heavily used Highway 101. Santa Barbara County Fire Capt Adam Estabrook and Engineer Rick Pinal search through a debris pile Credit: Reuters Officials ordered residents in most of the southeastern corner of Montecito, which is east of Santa Barbara, to leave their homes for what was likely to be one or two weeks. Many fled to nearby Carpinteria, where local resident Tessa Nash said they were communicating via a Facebook page called Carpinteria Swap, which is usually focused on buying and selling secondhand goods. Mudslides | Where am I at risk? In the last few days, Nash said, it has been carrying information about community-led blood drives and transportation tips. "We're really joined together," she said. "We're affected here in Carpinteria in the sense that we're taking these people in and a lot of people are out of work because they can't travel. It's a trickle down effect." (Additional reporting and writing by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Louise Heavens asnd Jeffrey Benkoe)
Neighbours of two parents charged with torturing their children and chaining them to beds have described the 13 siblings as acting “like they had never seen people before”. David and Louise Turpin each face nine counts of torture and 10 of child endangerment after police found their offspring, aged two to 29, malnourished in their darkened and filthy home. When Riverside County deputies arrived at the suburban house they found a number of the children chained and padlocked to beds in “dark and foul-smelling surroundings”.
Airbus will have no other choice but to halt the A380 programe if Dubai's Emirates airline does not place another order, the European aerospace giant's sales director, John Leahy, told a news conference on Monday. Originally launched in 2007, the A380 is the world's largest passenger airliner. Orders from Emirates, the main customer of the superjumbo, have stalled over the past two years.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday a new U.S.-backed, 30,000-strong force inside Syria constituted a breach of international law and Syrian sovereignty, joining Syria, Turkey and Russia in a vehement rebuke of the plan. On Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up a force that would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded by vowing to crush the new force and drive U.S. troops from Syria.
North Korea will send an 80-piece orchestra and a further 60 singers and dancers to perform concerts in South Korea during the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. The Samjiyon band will perform folk songs and "masterpieces" that call for reunification of the Korean Peninsula in concerts in Seoul and Gangneung, which is hosting a number of events in the Games, Lee Woo-sung, the head of the South Korean delegation to the talks, told reporters. The delegation from Pyongyang made its offer during a second round of discussions on North Korea's participation in the games with their South Korean counterparts on Monday. Speaking at the outset of the meeting, Kwon Hyok-bong, the head of the North's negotiating team, said: "We believe that a great symphony will be enthusiastically received." The North Korean delegation also included Hyon Song-wol, the glamorous leader of the all-female Moranbong Band and rumoured to have been Kim Jong-un's former girlfriend. The Moranbong Band perform in Pyongyang in 2016 Credit: AFP Ms Hyon, who is believed to be in her late 30s, is so highly regarded by the North Korean dictator that she was named an alternate member of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in October 2017. The opening ceremony for the 16-day tournament is scheduled to take place on February 9, with the next round of talks likely to consider a number of additional proposals from both sides. Discussions continue over the proposal that athletes representing both North and South Korea participate together in the opening and closing ceremonies under a "Korean Unification" flag, a blue outline of the peninsula on a white background. The two sides are also exploring the possibility of fielding a joint women's ice hockey team and have filed a request with the International Olympic Committee. Athletes from North and South marched together with a unification flag at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin Credit: AP If the IOC grants the request, it will be the first time that a unified Korean team will have taken part in an Olympic event. North Korea has also requested that its athletes, officials, media, performers and "cheering squad" members be permitted to travel to Pyeongchang across the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula. Seoul has agreed to guarantee the delegation's safety during its visit. The Samjiyon band is believed to have been formed in the late 2000s, Yonhap news reported, and has previously performed for high-profile foreign visitors to North Korea. Lee Woo-sung, of the South Korean delegation, answers questions after Monday's meetings Credit: AP "The two sides plan to discuss details, including the venue, stage conditions and other matters, through consultations", a joint statement said. "In this regard, the North will send an advance inspection team at an early date". Progress in the discussions to date has been rapid, although Pyongyang hinted on Sunday that there are still hurdles that need to be overcome. Apparently angered at comments by Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, about his continued commitment to removing all nuclear weapons from the peninsula, state media said Pyongyang could still decline to take part. "They should know that the trains and buses carrying our delegation to the Olympics are still in Pyongyang", the Korea Central News Agency said in an editorial. "We will, as ever, strive to improve the North-South ties, but will never remain an onlooker to sordid acts ... chilling the efforts".
Today is the day when many American politicians pretend to care about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, one of the wisest souls who attempted to save this sorry nation. While King did care about black and/or poor people in the United States and around the world, he was no American exceptionalist. “Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world,” King once said.
At least nine people including four Pakistani soldiers were killed in fighting in disputed Kashmir on Monday, India and Pakistan said. The Pakistani army said four of its soldiers and three Indian troops had been killed in an exchange of fire across the heavily militarised de-facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC). India denied it suffered any casualties, but said its soldiers had killed five "militants" who attempted to cross the LoC in a separate incident in Uri, 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar.
Swedish mobile network gear maker Ericsson
Russians murdered a man on British soil by torturing and burning him in his car, Ukrainian rebels have claimed. Mikus Alps, 33, was reported missing from his home in Guernsey last week. A shotgun and human remains were subsequently found in the Latvian’s burnt out car on the island’s south coast. He was said to have been a member of a volunteer brigade trying to expel Putin's troops from the Crimea for the last two years. Andriy Gergert, commander of the eighth detached battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, wrote on Facebook: "He was tortured and burnt in the car he used for the military needs of the battalion. “The Sicilian Mafia is a kindergarten compared to the methods used by the Kremlin to achieve its imperialist goals. For them there is no difference whether they kill in eastern Ukraine or in centre of Europe. And they won't stop. “I have no doubt that this was the Muscovites.” Friends of Mr Alps said he regularly handed over used cars to Ukrainian volunteers and had been threatened for providing aid to a Ukrainian battalion in Donbass. Patrick Rice, Guernsey's head of law enforcement, revealed that a “sombre and reflective” letter purporting to be from Mr Alps had been handed in to the station. He added: "We are aware that Mr Alps has connections with a pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian movement. "Given that it is yet to be formally confirmed whether Mr Alps is alive or deceased, there is no concrete evidence at this stage linking his involvement with this movement to his car being found burnt out." Forensic investigations will be completed later this week.
Chinese ships scrambled Monday to clean up a massive and expanding oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank off China, raising fears of devastating damage to marine life. The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of light crude oil from Iran, went under on Sunday after a new and massive fire erupted, sending a cloud of black smoke as high as one kilometre above the East China Sea. The search and rescue effort was cancelled and a clean-up operation began after a fire on the sea surface was finally extinguished on Monday, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Prominent Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead in a brazen drive-by shooting on Tuesday that risked fanning ethnic tensions in the volatile region. The killers struck on the very day that Belgrade and Pristina resumed EU-moderated talks on normalising ties after a hiatus of more than a year. Both Serbian and Kosovo Albanian officials refrained from explicitly accusing each other of being behind the killing as the international community urged the two sides to remain calm.
The top U.S. military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, said on Monday he was committed to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has been strained in recent weeks as Washington piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants. The United States has long blamed militant safe-havens in Pakistan for prolonging the war in neighboring Afghanistan, giving insurgents, including from the Haqqani network, a place to plot attacks and rebuild their forces.
A few years ago, Dodge stole a big march on the rest of the muscle car industry by introducing the 707 horsepower Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Although specially tuned versions of rival cars have been offered since with more horsepower than the Dodge Hellcats can boast, nobody has yet come up with a straight production model to rival them. Ford already caught the industry napping a little by unexpectedly announcing the Mustang Bullitt at this year's Detroit Auto Show, but some commentators had hoped the Blue Oval would have been bolder and gone further by revealing a new Shelby GT500.
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bitcoin slid as much as 18 percent on Tuesday to a four-week low, as worries about a regulatory crackdown on the market spread after reports suggested it was still possible that South Korea could ban trading in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin's slide triggered a selloff across the broader cryptocurrency market, with biggest rival Ethereum down 23 percent on the day at one point, according to trade website Coinmarketcap, and the next biggest, Ripple, plunging by as much as a third. Bitcoin traded as low as $11,191.59 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.