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  • Scientist Claims There Is No Mystery Surrounding the Bermuda Triangle

     

    Many unanswerable mysteries have befallen us over the years - the meaning of existence, for instance, or how Michael Owen actually manages to consistently reach new levels of annoying on a daily basis.

    However, rather than study the burning question of Owen's 'personality', people have spent time doing research into things like the Bermuda triangle.

    There have been numerous incidents where ships and planes have mysteriously disappeared in that loosely-defined area of the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Florida to Puerto Rico and the island of Bermuda.

    Scientists have been baffled by the disappearances, which have claimed at least 1,000 lives in the last 100 years, according to reports.

    However, dispelling any rumors of supernatural happenings in the area, which spans approximately 500,000 square kilometers, Australian scientist Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has claimed there's no such mystery - the ships and planes that have gone missing are due to human error.

    "According to Lloyds of London and the US coast guard, the number of planes that go missing in the Bermuda Triangle is the same as anywhere in the world on a percentage basis," Dr. Kruszelnicki said "It is close to the equator, near a wealthy part of the world, America, therefore you have a lot of traffic."

    This is a bit different to what Dr. Steve Miller, a satellite meteorologist at Colorado State University, found after spending a lot of time looking at the cloud formations over the area.

    He believes that hexagonal clouds that create 170mph 'wind air bombs' are to blame. Apparently, these 'bombs' are powerful enough to flip over ships and cause planes to fall from the sky, the Mirror reports.

    Speaking to the Science Channel's 'What on Earth' program, he said: "You don't typically see straight edges with clouds. Most of the time, clouds are random in their distribution."

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  • US police are now using drones to gather evidence on crime investigations

    US police departments are training officers to fly drones in order to aid criminal investigations, traffic accidents and other emergency operationsYuneec
    Hundreds of police departments across the US are now starting to use hexacopter drones to aid criminal investigations by remotely gathering evidence.

    Over 350 police departments are now training officers to become drone pilots and simulating emergency response in a crisis. The police foresee unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) being used for a variety of purposes, including locating a gunman by flying past windows during a school shooting; photographing and monitoring traffic accidents; or tracking missing people.

    One example is Cecil County, Maryland, where the sheriff's department recently used its brand new Yuneec Typhoon H Pro drone to fly over a property where it was suspected that stolen construction equipment was being stored. The police flew the drone over a house in Elkton and on the video feed they spotted the equipment being hidden in the back yard behind the property.

    The police took the images and video footage to a judge that night, and within a few hours, were able to get a warrant, arrest the suspects and seize the stolen equipment.

    According to Fox News, this is believed to be the first successful use of a drone to solve a criminal case.

    "I would say that flight was about as perfect as it could get. It was flawless. The flight went off very well. I think we were in the air a maximum of 10 minutes," said Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams.

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  • Yousra Elbagir: Sudan's 'big and beautiful' pills for women

    "Everyone in the family knows why she's sick, but she won't own up to it. She's had to stop taking the pills on doctor's orders."

    In our series of letters from African journalists, Yousra Elbagir looks at how some Sudanese women are turning to black market substances in their quest for beauty.

    While skin bleaching is a long-standing cosmetic staple across Sudan, a newer craze is sweeping the nation.

    Many young women are turning to prescription pills in order to gain weight, and hopefully gain the curvaceous figures they see as the standard of beauty.

    Away from the regulation of trained pharmacists, fattening pills are illegally dispensed by the same small shops which sell topical bleaching creams and other popular beauty fixes.

    Sold individually, in small bags and emptied sweet containers, they are completely devoid of any information about medical risks.

    An open secret

    It is difficult to estimate how many women in Sudan use these products to gain weight, because many are reluctant to admit to it.

    "Pills are handed out in the village like penny sweets," says Imitithal Ahmed, a student at the University of Khartoum.

    "I've always been scared [to use them] because I've seen family members fall ill and close friends become dependent on appetite stimulants.

    "My aunt is on the brink of kidney failure and has blocked arteries from taking too many fattening pills, trying to get a bigger bum.

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  • Rock-Hewn Churches Mark Old ‘New Jerusalem’ in Ethiopia

     

    LALIBELA, ETHIOPIA-It’s a darkness so complete, it feels like a physical thing. The guide’s bright scarf serves as my beacon until it disappears into the deepest gloom imaginable, and I start to feel a bit claustrophobic as I follow him. All of the clichés apply, including the one about (not) seeing your hand in front of your face. I’ve never known the true meaning of that other one — about the light at the end of the tunnel — until we near the end of this 30-metre one, and emerge in a church courtyard. I ask the guide, Moges Melkamu, what people call that particular passage. “Oh, we just call it hell,” he says, lightly.

    I’m in Lalibela, a small town cradled in the mountains of northern Ethiopia and home to 11 rock-hewn churches. Commissioned by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela back in the 13th century, these places of worship had been created as a new Jerusalem for Ethiopian Orthodox pilgrims. Now recognized and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they continue to pull in people by the thousands from around the world, drawn to the biggest attraction in a country where tourism is on the rise.

    I start the day at the largest of them all, Biete Medhane Alem, or House of the Saviour of the World, descending from ground level and circumnavigating the structure before we enter. Melkamu explains the basics as we go. We pass portraits of devotion — an impossibly elderly woman with a red-crossed hat reciting prayers, a man folded in behind the pillars of the church, doing the same — and Melkamu notes that Ethiopia had been one of the first countries to adopt Christianity. Actually mentioned in the biblical Book of Acts, Ethiopia adopted Christianity as its official state religion in the fourth century.

    The churches here had been constructed at the direction of King Lalibela after the sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187. Carved from grey basalt and volcanic red scoria, “these were built by Ethiopians — with the help of the angels, of course,” Melkamu says.

    It seems wherever we go, we see the faces of angels — Ethiopian ones —with beautiful round faces flanked by wings, staring at us from the ceiling, or from frescoes on the walls.

    At Biete Maryam (House of Miriam), Melkamu pauses to kiss the doors before entering, then shows us the icons inside, which include ancient frescoes depicting the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt.

    We also see priests everywhere, their heads wrapped in turbans and a wooden staff always at the ready. They gather together and walk past reading and talking and, like everyone else, praying.

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  • Controversial laptop ban on US-bound flights from Middle East and North Africa lifted

    The ban on laptops on flights from the Middle East to the US has been lifted.Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images

    The US has ended its controversial four-month ban on passengers carrying laptops on board flights from the Middle East and North Africa, federal officials said on Thursday (20 July).

    The ban, which went into effect in March, prohibited all electronic devices larger than a smartphone from being carried in the passenger cabins of flights from 10 airports in the region and affected nine airlines, mostly Middle Eastern carriers.

    This week, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was the last airport to be taken off the laptop ban list.

    In June, Homeland Security secretary John F. Kelly announced that there would be new aviation security measures for all international flights into the country to avoid expanding the laptop ban.

    The new rules included conducting "heightened screening" of all electronic devices, more sophisticated and thorough screening of passengers, expanding canine screening and increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas.

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  • Chester Bennington Commits Suicide

    The Los Angeles County coroner has confirmed the death of the star – with TMZ reporting he was found dead at a private residence in Palo Verdes Estates, Los Angeles.

    His body was discovered this morning just before 9 am.

    It is believed the singer hanged himself and was found by an employee.

    The singer is survived by his wife of twelve years, Talinda Ann Bennington (nee Bentley), and six children – Jamie, 21, Isaiah, 19, Draven, 15, Tyler Lee, 11, and Lily and Lila, 7.

    They are not thought to have been at the house when the incident took place, and Chester was alone.

    He was previously married to Samantha Marie Olit from 1996 – 2005.

    Chester, whose band Linkin Park spawned rock songs including Numb and Breaking the Habit, often focused his lyrics on personal struggle, depression, and addiction.

    The star was reportedly found in a private residence in Palo Verdes Estates in Los Angeles.

    Mike Shinoda, who also provides vocals for the band, confirmed the news on Twitter and wrote: “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

    One of the band’s latest singles, Heavy, released four months ago, focused on the topic of depression.

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