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World 'better place' 25 years after nuclear test-ban treaty  

Twenty-five years after its adoption, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has made the world a safer place, experts say, despite never being ratified and concerns over North Korea.

Lena Waithe, Gillian Flynn to Become Book Publishers With Zando  

The two women are joining Zando, an independent publishing company founded last year that plans to work with authors and sell books in unconventional ways.

Britney Spears father monitored her calls and texts for years, new US documentary reveals   -9%

A US security firm hired by Britney Spears’ father monitored the pop singer’s phone calls and text messages during the court-sanctioned conservatorship she has lived under since 2008, according to a New York Times documentary released on Friday.In Controlling Britney Spears, Alex Vlasov, a former Black Box Security employee who said he worked with the singer’s team for nearly nine years, said the company “mirrored” the pop singer’s phone on an iPad by logging in to her iCloud account.A…

'I've noticed a big difference': Solskjr blames Klopp for penalty count video   20%

The Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has claimed that Jürgen Klopp’s comments earlier this year about how many penalties his side receive made a 'big, big difference' to the number his team are awarded.

Klopp said in early January that Manchester United had won more penalties in 'two years' than his Liverpool side had during his five-and-a-half seasons in charge.

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Evergrande collapse exposes lost world a lightning-fast economy left behind   3%

When the villagers left the Shengsi Islands in the early 1990s, China’s property market was at the start of a boom that would last until this year.

Elon Musk Must Be Pretty Relieved   -7%

The space tourists are back.

On Saturday night, the private astronauts braced themselves as their spacecraft streaked through Earth’s atmosphere, deployed parachutes, and then drifted down off the coast of Florida. When the capsule touched the waves, they might have heard a voice from mission control radio in: “Thanks for flying SpaceX.” As if the passengers had just touched down on a runway at O’Hare instead of surviving a fiery reentry. As if they hadn’t just spent three days flying higher than the International Space Station, with a window seat that looked out on the contours of entire continents.

The mission, known as Inspiration4, was the first-ever spaceflight of a crew made entirely of non-professional astronauts. The tech billionaire who chartered the trip for himself and three others paid “under $200 million” for it, and for that kind of money, SpaceX let him customize the experience, from the food menu to the flight plan. The crew—the businessman Jared Isaacman, the geoscience professor Sian Proctor, the physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, and the data engineer Chris Sembroski—spent their time in orbit doing a few science experiments and generally basking in the microgravity. They even made a call to Tom Cruise, who plans to fly SpaceX to shoot a movie on the space station someday.

But although money can buy you a wild trip into orbit, it cannot shield you from the forces of nature, nor guarantee that you’ll make it home safely. Last year, when SpaceX started flying professional astronauts to the space station on NASA’s behalf, I wrote that the company is now responsible for astronaut safety to a degree no private business has ever experienced. The same is now true for everyone who books their own seat. However easy or safe this mission might have looked, spaceflight is dangerous.

Over the years, I’ve talked with many people who worked in the American space-shuttle program, including the astronauts who flew on the vehicles, and they all say the same thing about space travel: that there will always be a bad day. That people will die. When I checked in with several retired astronauts ahead of Inspiration4’s launch, they were excited about the mission, and thrilled for its crew to see Earth as they once had. But their stance on the hazards hadn’t changed. Beneath the shiny veneer of private space travel, with its futuristic-looking spacesuits and touch-screen displays, is the hard reality of risk. A series of successful missions adds up only to that. The astronauts of America’s space-shuttle era know better than perhaps anyone else that each new launch presents a new opportunity for disaster. As one former shuttle astronaut put it to me: “The shuttle was pretty routine until it blew up.”

In the past, when new engineers joined SpaceX’s human-spaceflight program, they toured a special NASA room, closed to the public, where the agency keeps debris from the space-shuttle disasters that claimed the lives of 14 people. Benji Reed, the senior director for human-spaceflight programs at SpaceX, once told me that he often visits a memorial at Kennedy Space Center when he’s in town. Seven oak trees stand in a circle, one for each astronaut who died on the Challenger in 1986, the mission that included the first “ordinary” citizen, the high-school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

The SpaceX astronaut capsule, small and gumdrop-shaped, is safer than the spacious, winged space shuttles were. If SpaceX detects a malfunction soon after liftoff, the Dragon capsule can shove itself away from the Falcon 9 rocket and toward safety. The shuttles didn’t have such an escape system; they were far more technically complex, with overstuffed control panels. “You had switches literally right next to each other, and if you threw the wrong one, you could make your day a lot worse rather than a lot better,” Doug Hurley, a NASA astronaut, told me in 2019, while he was training to fly SpaceX’s Dragon. The capsule, he estimated, had only about 30 manual switches and circuit breakers, compared with about 2,000 on the shuttles.

[Read: SpaceX’s private astronauts are flying higher than the space station]

That first flight test, which Hurley and fellow NASA astronaut Bob Behnken completed last year, was quickly declared a success. The real assessment came well after the astronauts were out of the water, when engineers looked at the data and inspected the hardware. It turned out that during Hurley and Behnken’s descent through the atmosphere, the heat shield, the hardware that protects the capsule from the scorching conditions of reentry, eroded more than SpaceX had expected.

SpaceX officials said that there was “nothing to be concerned” about, but the company decided to redesign part of the heat shield, and to also make a change to the capsule’s parachute, which had deployed closer to the water than anticipated. It’s not uncommon for engineers to discover a few uncomfortable truths post-flight, even some that really make them wince. “It does not matter how close you get to failure, as long as you don’t cross the line,” George “Pinky” Nelson, a retired NASA astronaut, once told me. Nelson flew on the last shuttle mission before the Challenger disaster, and on the mission that resumed the program two years later, after NASA decided it would keep flying.

The Dragon program’s history hasn’t been without incident. About a year before Hurley and Behnken launched, a Dragon capsule was destroyed in an explosion. SpaceX had been running some tests on the spacecraft on the ground at Kennedy Space Center, igniting its engines. The smoke could be seen for miles on the Space Coast, but SpaceX stayed mostly quiet about the incident, even refusing to comment on some up-close video footage, shared widely, that showed the capsule engulfed in flames.

[Read: The new ‘right stuff’ is money and luck]

The Dragon capsule that the Inspiration4 crew used transported four professional astronauts to the space station last year. SpaceX didn’t modify much aside from installing a big, bubble-shaped glass window so that its first private customers could have a good view. Isaacman told reporters before launch that the crew had just spoken to Musk, who “did give us his assurances again that the entire leadership team is solely focused on this mission and is very confident.”

Sandy Magnus, a retired astronaut who flew on the shuttle program’s final mission, in 2011, told me she wasn’t worried about the Inspiration4 crew for that reason. Of course SpaceX was going to be on high alert for its first-ever flight of private astronauts. Reed told reporters this week that SpaceX wants to fly paying customers “three, four, five, six times a year at least.” But another successful mission, another beautiful splashdown, doesn’t guarantee the next one—that’s the lesson NASA personnel have tried to impart on SpaceX, in briefings, meetings, and lectures. Complacency kills. “Ten flights down the line, when it becomes routine, that’s when you really have to be careful,” Magnus said. The Challenger disaster occurred when senior NASA officials ignored warnings from engineers about a piece of hardware that could fail in very low temperatures, and though it hadn’t happened before, the shuttle was about to launch in some unusually cold weather. Years later, engineers noticed that some foam insulation on the shuttles peeled away during launch, but the situation seemed fine—until some of that foam damaged Columbia’s heat shield in 2003, causing the shuttle to break apart during reentry.

[Read: America’s new vision of astronauts]

What will the consequence be for private space travel if the worst occurs? If disaster happens while SpaceX is transporting NASA astronauts, the agency could decide to give SpaceX another chance after some years of careful investigation and reckoning. But what if the lost astronauts are ordinary people, enticed on board by someone wealthy enough to invite them? That would be up to SpaceX, and Elon Musk. Musk has long said that he envisions a future where space travel resembles air travel. Franklin Chang-Díaz, a retired NASA astronaut who flew on the space shuttle seven times—and is one of only two people with that many spaceflights—told me that he believes the industry is moving in that direction. The deadly mistakes of early air travel led to safety improvements, but now “most people don’t pay attention to the fact that you’re going to be flying in a pressurized vehicle, and you’re going to be flying at 30,000, 40,000 feet about the Earth, and going at 400, 500 miles per hour,” Chang-Díaz said. “All you want is just to have your internet and maybe something to drink.”

Space travel is not like that now, and won’t be for some time. It is more like climbing Mount Everest, or some other similarly extreme adventure—among the riskiest vacations humankind has to offer. In this new chapter of spaceflight, paying customers, buoyed not by a sense of national duty, as the first astronauts were, but by something personal, will have to make their own risk calculations—for themselves and the family they might be leaving on Earth. Because, as any astronaut would tell you, spaceflight is always harder on the families.

Nelson said that NASA officials kept his family more closely in the loop as he trained for his post-Challenger mission than they had before previous missions, in an effort to reassure them, and SpaceX has taken similar measures so far. Arceneaux, Inspiration4’s youngest astronaut, told me that a meeting with SpaceX’s engineers, which she attended with her mother, gave her what she needed to feel that she trusted the company. She understood the risk, but she felt as confident as she could. The greater public isn’t mentally prepared for disaster in the same way. “I think the public, in the back of their mind, knows that astronauts have been killed before,” Nelson said. But it’s always a shock. “The public never expects people to die,” he said.

Russia fumes as Israel ends its streak of Olympic golds in rhythmic gymnastics   10%

Russian Olympic figures – and a lawmaker – decry 'injustice' after Linoy Ashram takes home the gold after 20 years of Russian wins

Dalai Lama backs bid to save Edinburgh cafe he inspired  

Reka Gawa opened the Himalaya Cafe after a chance meeting with the spiritual leader almost 20 years ago.

Fed flags a rate hike as soon as 2022; tapering could start in November   5%

The Federal Reserve has signalled it may start raising its benchmark interest rate sometime next year, earlier than it envisioned three months ago and a sign it’s concerned that high inflation pressures may persist.

Nets Rookie DayRon Sharpe Goes Apartment Shopping.   15%

Day’Ron Sharpe, the 29th overall pick in this year’s N.B.A. draft, is making himself at home in New York as he gets ready for his first season alongside the Nets’ big stars.

A garden snail: it knows the rose only by its smell and soft petals | Helen Sullivan   10%

Or you for 10, if you keep it as a pet

A garden snail is eating your roses. “Little snail / Dreaming you go / Weather and rose / Is all you know,” wrote Langston Hughes. It is night time, the snail’s time, after dew or rain – when the snail is happiest, because the conditions are optimal for slime-walkers.

The snail is blind. It knows the rose only by its smell and soft petals. You think you can hear the rasping of tiny teeth: scraping, scraping away at your roses. The snail is deaf: it does not hear your complaints. It could terrorise you for five years – or 10, if you chose to keep it as a pet.

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Former MP Marwan Tabbara gets 3 years' probation after pleading guilty to assault  

Former Kitchener South-Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara has received a conditional discharge and was placed on three years' probation after pleading guilty to two counts of assault and one of being unlawfully in a dwelling house.

'Hamilton' Star Leslie Odom Jr. Hosts Tony Awards Concert  

Odom, 40, won a Tony Award in 2016 for “Hamilton,” and this year was nominated for two Academy Awards for his work as both a performer and songwriter for the film “One Night in Miami.”

Antarctic: Exhibition recalls Ernest Shackleton's final quest   26%

It's 100 years since the great Antarctic explorer set out on his last voyage to the White Continent.

Fugees return to New York for their first gig in 15 years after a three-hour wait   -8%

The rap trio kick off their just-announced world tour to an eager audience but fall into old habits of tardiness

Dressed in a red frock that flounced as she performed, the rapper, singer and musician Lauryn Hill told the eager but weary crowd: “Respect the miracle. Respect the miracle of this union” three and a half hours later than billed.

Related: Fugees announce reunion world tour, 25 years after The Score

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Emmys 2021: All the looks from the red carpet  

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were in-person again this year, and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars shone on the carpet.

The 2021 National Book Awards Longlist: Poetry  

Some of this year’s contenders wrestle with the human dimension of environmental catastrophe.

Jo Lasorda, widow of Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda, dies at 91   62%

Jo Lasorda dies at 91. No cause of death has been given. She and Tommy Lasorda were married 70 years until the legendary Dodgers manager died in January.

Ambedkar institute in Punjab to begin MBBS admissions  

The National Medical Commission has issued a letter of intent for 100 MBBS seats to the Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences in Mohali, Punjab, to start from this year, an official said.

Iran nuclear talks to resume in the next few weeks Foreign Ministry   -4%

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh announced on Tuesday that talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal will resume “in the next few weeks,” after negotiations stalled earlier this year.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Delivery robots take the strain out of shopping in UK town  

Six-wheeled automated vehicles, launched three years ago, barely get a second glance as they ply the residential streets, some 80 kilometres (49 miles) north of London.

Ethiopian, Yemeni or Ashkenazi? Traditions behind Rosh Hashanah breads   -20%

Whether you like dipping a bit of challah into a bowl of honey or go for the Sephradi bolo, the meaning behind round baked goods connects Jewish communities worldwide on the New Year

Starz series 'BMF' set in Detroit nails smallest details about the city   10%

''BMF" is a fictionalized account of the early years of Demetrius and Terry Flenory, brothers from Detroit who built a multi-state drug empire.


Ontario patients fear vision loss as no end in sight to optometrists' dispute with province   -30%

After enduring four painful eye surgeries this year alone, Lisa Adams needs to get a new prescription. The problem is she can't get an appointment as optometrists continue to turn away OHIP patients as part of a job action against the provincial government.

Chinese state media says Canadas two Michaels confessed guilt, allowed bail for medical reasons   9%

The return of Huawei Technologies’ executive Meng Wanzhou to China after nearly three years on bail in Canada was met with overwhelming attention domestically, including hours of live coverage on television and social media.In stark contrast, state media has been largely silent over the release of two Canadians who were detained days after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in what it is widely believed to be a quid pro quo – until nationalistic tabloid Global Times published a story on it at around…

Emmys best-dressed: European fashion versus Hollywood glamour  

The red carpet was given an international style injection at this year’s vastly different ceremonies.

From the Archives, 1981: Parramatta, the power and the glory   2%

Forty years ago, a combination of “power, experience and that little extra class” gave Parramatta their first Rugby League premiership.

Moulin Rouge! and The Inheritance Take Top Honors at Tony Awards   12%

The ceremony, held for the first time in more than two years, honored shows that opened before the pandemic and tried to lure crowds back to Broadway.

Who says vegan latkes arent delectable?   37%

Starring leeks, yams, buckwheat and chard – recipes for vegan pancakes that are great on Hanukkah and all year long

Richard Buckley, fashion journalist and husband of designer Tom Ford, dies at 72   37%

Designer and filmmaker Tom Ford said it was love at first sight when he met Richard Buckley in an elevator 35 years ago. Buckley died Sunday night.

Ola Kamara has rocketed up MLSs scoring list. Heres how he got there.   -3%

Kamara will enter Saturday’s home game against FC Cincinnati two goals ahead of Seattle’s Raúl Ruidíaz for MLS’s Golden Boot, awarded to the highest scorer and last won by a D.C. player 10 years ago.

The Supply-Chain Mystery   7%

Why, more than a year and a half into the pandemic, do strange shortages keep popping up in so many corners of American life?

The best science-fiction author to read this year   23%

Many of his Western peers enjoyed great success outside the sci-fi community and became cultural icons. But Jewish Polish author Stanisław Lem – born 100 years ago this week – remained relatively unknown. His writings on man’s insignificance and technology’s futility may have played a role

You dont need a PhD to tune into birds. Just open your ears to the soundtrack of your neighbourhood | Erin Lennox   37%

I learned that loving birds is best done by walking in the sun, being curious and appreciating the chatter. Not by sitting on my own looking at books and screens

I once saw a picture of a kid standing proudly next to his science project. It was a handmade poster and emblazoned across the top was the strikingly catchy title: “Birds: they’re fucking everywhere!”Obviously photoshopped, these words nevertheless struck me as being both funny and more or less true.

Many years ago, camping in the Cathedrals in Victoria, I woke early to a strange, whirring birdcall. Groggily, I unzipped the tent enough to stick my head out and squinted unattractively in the dawn light. The bird I saw had astonishing violet-blue eyes and was sort of, I dunno, stripy? I am, you may have guessed, a novice birder. So, I did the exact thing that any experienced birder will tell you not to do. I pulled my head back inside my tent and went straight for my field guide. If you too are new to birding, here’s a tip: your field guide isn’t likely to fly away in the next few seconds and (if you’re not me) you have this ace thing called working memory. So get your priorities straight, put down your field guide (or, more likely these days, your phone) and give your new friend your undivided attention. Because life is short and this moment is fleeting.

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Tel Aviv remains second-most expensive city in European housing market survey  

For the second year in a row, Tel Aviv is in second place out of 62 cities examined in Deloitte's survey

Little Boots says Abba's new live band is 'badass cool'   6%

The pop star is joining Abba's live band next year, after crowd-funding her sparkling new album.

Dozens protest after seven weekend shootings in Israel claim more Arab victims  

Ninety-three murders in the Arab community this year comprise 71 percent of all murders in Israel in 2021

Our Differences in Age and Skin Color Meant Nothing to Us.  

Constance Collins and Matthew Steuer, 24 years her senior, met five years ago as each was about to begin a teaching job in Africa.

Prayers outside, but no more Zoom: U.S. synagogues prepare for another COVID holiday season  

A few weeks ago, congregations across America were looking forward to hosting in-person services for the Jewish new year and Yom Kippur. Now, the delta variant is playing havoc with their best-laid plans