- Senate Democrats reached a deal with their Republican counterparts on a stopgap bill on Wednesday night to avert a looming shutdown, as the government funding is set to expire on 30 September. If the debt ceiling is not raised the United States might be dragged into a crushing default, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned in her Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month.
- Special Counsel John Durham issued a new set of subpoenas on 30 September, including to Perkins Coie, a law firm with close ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The move followed the indictment of the firm’s former partner Michael Sussmann for making a false statement to the FBI and could be an indication that Durham may be trying to build a broader criminal case, according to CNN. The allegedly false statement made by Sussmann relates to his meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker on 16 September 2016. However, the lawyer stated falsely that he was not doing this work on behalf of any client, making Baker believe that Sussmann was acting as a “good citizen”, the indictment says. In reality, the lawyer acted on behalf of specific clients, including a US technology industry executive and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign, the document emphasises.
- Sweden is developing its capacity to launch satellites into the orbit. The space base Esrange outside the city of Kiruna in the northernmost part of the country is planned to start operation in the summer of 2022. Esrange was established in the 60’s as a launching range and research centre. Since 1966, almost 600 rockets and weather balloons have been launched from the base, mainly for research purposes. Its location some 200 kilometres above the Arctic circle and surrounded by a vast wilderness, which is seen as largely beneficial for many of these purposes. As of now, the EU lacks the ability to launch satellites from European soil. Europe’s Spaceport is situated in the northeast of South America in French Guiana, an overseas department of France. Remarkably, though, the investment in promoting satellite capability in Europe doesn’t come from the EU, but through a loan agreement of SEK 120 million ($13.6 million) between the state-owned space company SSC and the Nordic Investment Bank.
- Electric car-maker Tesla is moving its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Houston, Texas, its co-founder Elon Musk has announced at the annual shareholders’ meeting, citing limits to expanding the company in the Bay Area.
- Amazon’s CEO made it known that the online giant may look for greener pastures. The world’s largest online retailer is by far the biggest private employer in Seattle with more than 50,000 workers. That distinction has proved a headache in recent years, with some residents and government officials blaming the company for exacerbating homelessness and traffic. “I’d say the last five years, the city council has become less enamored with business or with Amazon,” Jassy said during an event hosted by technology news site GeekWire.
- More than 10,000 unidentified bodies have been buried in mass graves in Baja California since 2010, official data shows. Authorities have continued to bury unidentified bodies in such graves in recent years despite the practice being outlawed in 2015, the newspaper Milenio reported. Angélica Ramírez, a member of a collective of family members of missing people, told Milenio that up to 20 bodies are buried in a single grave. Many of the graves haven’t been completely filled in, meaning that plastic bags containing body parts are visible. Medical refuse such as latex gloves and face masks used by forensic investigators often end up in the graves with the nameless victims of violence. If a body buried in a mass grave is later identified, the victim’s family can hire a gravedigger to exhume the remains. However, the cost – as high as 80,000 pesos (about US $3,900) – is prohibitive for many. The Baja California government doesn’t make any contribution to the cost.
- An ancient mangrove forest hidden in rainforest in the heart of the Yucatán Peninsula is the focus of a new study by researchers from Mexico and the United States. Located 170 kilometers from the ocean on the banks of the San Pedro Martir River in the municipality of Balancán, Tabasco, the ecosystem is unusual because mangroves are usually found along tropical and subtropical coastlines. “Combining multiple lines of evidence, we demonstrate that this extant forest is a relict from a past, warmer world when relative sea levels were 6 to 9 meters higher than at the present,” the researchers said in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement agencies have batted down claims that an infamous serial killer who murdered at least five people in northern California in the late-sixties has been identified. According to officials in California cited by the San Francisco Chronicle, the man identified by a posse of private investigators as the so-called Zodiac Killer is not currently a suspect in the case.
- Having examined photos of Mars obtained by NASA’s Perseverance rover, a team of scientists has pinpointed a place where biosignatures may potentially be found. According to CNET, researchers suggest that certain areas in an ancient river delta that was once located near the rover’s landing zone in the Jezero Crater could still harbour “fossilised evidence of extraterrestrial life.” The team, whose study was recently published in the journal Science, also turned their attention toward the Kodiak, a butte that sits near the main delta.
- The Canadian government has asked the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to order former US army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning to come to the country so that she can participate in her immigration hearing in person and then be deported, but the request was dismissed, National Post reported. The request was sent last week in anticipation of the hearing on whether Manning, who was responsible for the leak of thousands of US classified documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has the right to enter Canada. Manning said she wanted to go to Canada to visit friends. The hearing was held by videoconference.
- Last Week, Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane said that incidents at the border with China will continue to occur “as long as the boundary is not settled”. India maintains the Line of Actual Control — a loosely demarcated boundary with China, measuring 3,488 km long, while Beijing considers it only 2,000 km long. Around 200 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops came face-to-face with Indian soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh near Yangtse in the Tawang Sector last week during a patrol, News18.com reported on Friday, citing government sources.
- A U.S. nuclear submarine sustained damage and some crew members were injured when it “struck an object” while operating at depth a week ago in one of the most sensitive bodies of water on the planet, the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the USS Connecticut, a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, struck the unidentified object on October 2, “while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.” China on Friday demanded more information on the U.S. Navy accident that took place somewhere off its east coast.
News Burst 9 October 2021