UN votes resoundingly to reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital – Trending Stuff

The United Nations bodys debate and vote highlighted for a second time in a week the international isolation of the United States over the Jerusalem issue

The United Nations general assembly has delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump, voting by a huge majority to reject his unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital.

The vote came after a redoubling of threats by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who said that Washington would remember which countries disrespected America by voting against it.

Despite the warning, 128 members voted on Thursday in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus that the status of Jerusalem which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians can only be settled as an agreed final issue in a peace deal. Countries which voted for the resolution included major recipients of US aid such as Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although largely symbolic, the vote in emergency session of the world body had been the focus of days of furious diplomacy by both the Trump administration and Israel, including Trumps threat to cut US funding to countries that did not back the US recognition.

But only nine states including the United States and Israel voted against the resolution. The other countries which supported Washington were Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Guatemala and Honduras.

‘We will remember this: US slams UN Jerusalem vote video

Twenty-two of the 28 EU countries voted for the resolution, including the UK and France. Germany which in the past has abstained on measures relating to Israel also voted in favour.

Thirty-five countries abstained, including five EU states, and other US allies including Australia, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. Ambassadors from several abstaining countries, including Mexico, used their time on the podium to criticise Trumps unilateral move.

Another 21 delegations were absent from the vote, suggesting the Trumps warning over funding cuts and Israels lobbying may have had some effect.

While support for the resolution was somewhat less than Palestinian officials had hoped, the meagre tally of just nine votes in support of the US and Israeli position was a serious diplomatic blow for Trump.

Immediately after the vote the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, described the result as a victory for Palestine. The Palestinians UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, described the result as a massive setback for the US.

They made it about them, Mansour told AFP. They did not make it about Jerusalem, so when you make it about them and to only be able to get nine votes to say no to it, I think it was a complete failure for their campaign.

Israels prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the UN vote out of hand.

Israel thanks President Trump for his unequivocal position in favour of Jerusalem and thanks the countries that voted together with Israel, together with the truth, said a statement from Netanyahus office.

Speaking to the assembly before the vote, Haley who earlier in the week told members that the US would be taking names returned to the offensive.

I must also say today: when we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have expectation that we will be respected, she said. Whats more, we are being asked to pay for the dubious privileges of being disrespected.

Haley added: If our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our investment in other ways The United States will remember this day.

Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict betweenIsraeland the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.

Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the citys boundaries and annexed it an act that was never recognised internationally.

Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its united and eternal capital. For their part, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. The unequivocal international view, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the citys status must be addressed in peace negotiations.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israels capital puts the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimises Israeli settlement-building in the east considered illegal under international law.

Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP

In his own speech Israels UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said UN members who backed the resolution were being manipulated. You are like puppets pulled by your Palestinian masters, he told the session.

While Thursdays resolution was in support of existing UN resolutions on Jerusalem and the peace process, the clumsy intervention by Trump and Haley also made the vote a referendum on Trumps often unilateral and abrasive foreign policy.

The debate and vote highlighted for a second time in a week the international isolation of the United States over the Jerusalem issue, following a similar vote in the security council on Tuesday in which it was outnumbered 14-1.

The threatening US posture, which had been denounced as both counter-productive and bullying, only seemed to have hardened the resolve of countries in opposing Trumps 6 December move.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen, called Trumps recognition null and void and reaffirmed 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including requirements that the citys final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also demands that all states comply with security council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not to recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.

Earlier on Thursday, as it had become clear that the US and Israel would be heavily defeated, Netanyahu preemptively denounced the vote calling the UN a house of lies.

The state of Israel rejects this vote outright, Netanyahu said. Jerusalem is our capital, we will continue to build there and additional embassies will move to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, whether or not the UN recognises this. It took 70 years for the United States to formally recognise this, and it will take years for the UN to do the same.

Michael Oren, Israels deputy minister for diplomacy, called for Israel to cut its ties with the UN and expel the organisation from its Jerusalem offices.

We must evict the UN from the scenic Governors House, where its bloated staff does nothing, and give this historic site to a school, a hospital or best yet a new US embassy.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

My fathers death has given me a love of men, of their vulnerability and tenderness – Trending Stuff

Aisling Bea with her father. Photograph: Aisling Bea

And then there was the letter.

My mother gave us the letter to read the day she told us, but, in it, he didnt mention my sister or me.

I had not been adored. He had forgotten we existed. I didnt believe it at first. When I was 15, I took the letter out of my mothers Filofax and used the photocopying machine at my summer job to make a copy so I could really examine it. Like a CSI detective, I stared at it, desperate to see if there had been a trace of the start of an A anywhere.

I would often fantasise that, if I ever killed myself, I would write a letter to every single person I had ever met, explaining why I was doing it. Every. Single. Person. Right down to the lad I struck up a conversation with once in a chip shop and the girl I met at summer camp when I was 12. No one would be left thinking: Why? I would be very non-selfish about it. When Facebook came in, I thought: Well, this will save me a fortune on stamps.

Sometimes, in my less lucid moments, I was convinced that he had left a secret note for me somewhere. Maybe, on my 16th no, 18th no, 21st no, 30th birthday, a letter would arrive, like in Back to the Future. Aisling, I wanted to wait until you were old enough to understand. I was secretly a spy. That is why I did it. I love you. I love your sister, too. PS Heaven is real, your philosophy essay is wrong and I am totally still watching over you. Stop shoplifting.

This summer was the 30th anniversary of his death. In that time, a few things have happened that have radically changed how I feel.

Three years ago, Robin Williams took his own life. He was my comedy hero, my TV dad he had always reminded my mother of my father and his death spurred me to finally start opening up. I had always found it so hard to talk about. I think I had been afraid that if I ever did, my soul would fall out of my mouth and I would never get it back in again.

Last year, I watched Grayson Perrys documentary All Man. It featured a woman whose son had ended his life. She thought that he probably hadnt wanted to die for ever, just on that day, when he had been in so much pain. A lightbulb moment it had never occurred to me that maybe suicide had seemed like the best option in that hour. In my head, my father had taken a clear decision, as my parent, to opt out for ever.

My father had always seemed like an adult making adult decisions, but I suddenly found myself at almost his age, still feeling like a giant child. I looked at some of my male friends gorgeous idiots doing their gorgeous, idiotic best to bring up little daughters, just like he would have been.

Finally, just after my 30th birthday, a box turned up.

The miserable people he had worked for had found a box of his things filed away and rang my mother (30 years later) wondering whether she wanted them or whether they should just throw them in the bin.

She waited for us to fly home and we opened it together three little women staring into an almost-abandoned cardboard box.

Now, most of the box was horse ultrasounds which, Ill be honest, I am not into. But there was also his handwriting around the edges and, then, underneath the horse X-rays and files, there were the photographs.

Any child who has lost a parent probably knows every single photograph in existence of that parent. I had pored over them all, trying to put together the person he might have been.

The photos in the box had been collected from his desk after he had died. We had never seen them before. They were nearly all of me. He had had all of these photos stuck on his desk. I was probably the last thing he looked at before he died.

My fathers death has given me a lot. It has given me a lifelong love of women, of their grittiness and hardness traits that we are not supposed to value as feminine. It has also given me a love of men, of their vulnerability and tenderness traits that we do not foster as masculine or allow ourselves to associate with masculinity.

To Daddy, here is my note to you:

Im sad you killed yourself, because I really think that, if you could see the life you left behind, you would regret it. You didnt get to see the Berlin wall fall or Ireland qualify for Italia 90. You didnt get to see all the encyclopedias that you bought for us to one day use at university get squashed into a CD and subsequently the internet. You have never got to hear your younger daughters voice it annoys me sometimes, but it has also said some of the most amazing things when drunk. I think you would have been proud to watch your daughter do standup at the O2 and sad to see my mother watching it on her own. Then again, if you hadnt died, I probably wouldnt have been mad enough to become a clown for a living. I am your daughter and I am really fucking funny, just like you. But, unlike you, Im going to stop being it for five minutes and write our story in the hope that it may help someone who didnt get to have a box turn up, or who may not feel in their right mind right now and needs a reminder to find hope.
Aisling

In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org

Australia votes ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage – Trending Stuff

Melbourne, Australia (CNN)Celebrations broke out across Australia after a two-month national postal survey came out “overwhelmingly” in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Results released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed 61% of the population voted to allow same-sex marriage, with 38% voting against.

Rainbow-colored smoke, confetti and cheers erupted in the center of Melbourne following the announcement, where hundreds of people had gathered to hear the result.

When couple Jane Mahoney, 28, and Josie Lennie, 26, heard the result they collapsed into each others’ arms in tears. “(Now) we need to save and also gets lots of fun ideas from the other gay weddings,” they told CNN.

More than 12.7 million people across the country, or 79.5% of the population, took part in the survey with every state and territory returning a majority “yes.”

Celebrations, singing and tears greeted the announcement in Melbourne.

It’s the beginning of the end of a long-running campaign to allow marriage equality in Australia, something already legal in the majority of English-speaking countries worldwide.

Speaking after the result, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it had been an “overwhelming” response in favor of “yes” and called for same-sex marriage to be legalized before Christmas.

“They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love. And now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten told the Melbourne rally the postal vote itself should never have happened.

“I feel for young people who had their relationships questioned in a way I wouldn’t have thought we would see ever again, but nevertheless what this marriage equality survey shows is that unconditional love always has the last word,” he said.

Politicians are expected to begin discussing the specifics of the same-sex marriage bill as early as this week.

However, even ahead of the release of the results, conservative politicians inside the Australian parliament were preparing for a fight over how marriage equality would be legalized.

Prominent supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated the decision. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce danced on stage in Sydney with author and actor Magda Szubanski, and urged Turnbull to “get on with it.”

Australian Olympic champion Ian Thorpe warned conservative politicians against delaying the legislation.

“(The result) spells it out loud and clear … If they play around with this issue any longer, it will be at their peril,” he told reporters Wednesday morning.

‘We didn’t want the vote’

Australia’s LGBT community was strongly against the idea of a national vote on same-sex marriage from the first time it was announced, fearing a bitter, divisive campaign.

A group of same-sex marriage advocates even took the government to Australia’s High Court in an attempt to stave off the survey. Their case was dismissed in an unanimous decision.

The two-month campaign was marred by harsh rhetoric and wild allegations of the consequences of a “yes” vote. Rainbow flags were sprayed with Nazi symbols in Brisbane while “no” advertisements claimed same-sex marriage would lead to “radical gay sex” education in schools.

Speaking after the “yes” result on Wednesday, Jacob Holman, 28, and his husband Damien O’Meara, 29, said they still believed the survey was “wrong.”

“We didn’t want the vote in the first place but we are so happy to have this win for our friends and the whole community,” Holman told CNN.

“The vote has helped to speed up the process but the true lesson here is that the process is wrong.” Holman and O’Meara were married in Scotland two years ago.

Australians long in favor of marriage equality

Australians have long been in favor of marriage equality, but multiple governments have maintained they wanted to keep the traditional definition in law.

In 2015, under pressure from moderates in his Liberal party to take action, then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced there would be a national vote, or plebiscite, to decide whether marriage equality should be legislated.

He was unable to get funding to hold the plebiscite after legislation was blocked twice in the Australian senate. Abbott’s successor, Turnbull, announced in August a national postal vote would be held.

It was one way to get around the funding issue, as the survey was run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, removing the need for parliamentary approval.

Voting opened on September 12 and Australians who had registered to vote had until November 7 to return their surveys.

Developing story – more to come

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Australia says yes to same-sex marriage in historic postal survey – Trending Stuff

A crowd celebrates the results of the postal survey in front of the State Library of Victoria Wednesday. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

When Turnbull took the prime ministership from conservative predecessor Tony Abbott in September 2015, he retained the Coalitions commitment to hold a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage before changing the law.

Labor, the Greens and other opposition parties blocked the proposed plebiscite in the Senate in November 2016 and August 2017, leading the Turnbull government to launch a $122m voluntary national postal survey to fulfil its election commitment to give Australians a say.

In a bruising three-month campaign, opponents of marriage equality including the Australian Christian Lobby, and the Catholic and Anglican churches in Sydney, claimed same-sex marriage would have far-reaching negative consequences for gender education. Former prime ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard warned that religious freedom and freedom of speech were at risk.

The yes camps Equality Campaign combined with moderate Liberals, Labor, the Greens, unions and progressive campaign organisation Get Up to argue that same-sex marriage was a matter of equality and fairness.

The campaign featured everyday Australians, their friends and families, emphasising that the only question was whether LGBTI Australians should be able to marry the one they love.

Despite assertions from Turnbull that the survey would be overwhelmingly respectful, the campaign has been marred by homophobic incidents and campaign material which continued largely unabated despite a special law passed to apply electoral law safeguards to the survey, such as authorisation requirements for campaign materials.

The campaign also featured two unsuccessful high court challenges against the expenditure of $122m for the survey, as marriage equality advocates fought to prevent the poll seen as an affront because it determined LGBTI peoples equality before the law by a majoritarian vote.

Public polling throughout the campaign showed consistent support for marriage equality and weekly estimates showed the survey was on-track for a record turnout.

The no campaign took increasingly bizarre turns, with Abbott using an assault that even his attacker said had nothing to do with marriage to rally Australians to his cause, and conservatives attempting to use US rapper Macklemores performance of his hit Same Love at the rugby league grand final to claim the national campaign they called for had inappropriately politicised Australian institutions.

The cross-party bill will be debated in the Senate on Thursday and the parliamentary sitting week beginning 27 November, with supporters of marriage equality aiming to pass a bill through both houses of parliament before they rise on 7 December.

Grisly pics show mass whale slaughter in Faroe Islands hunts – Trending Stuff

GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Gruesome pictures given to Fox News show the mass slaughter of whales and dolphins in a series of hunts in the waters around the Faroe Islands this summer.

The pictures were taken by volunteers from ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd Global posing as tourists on the Faroe Islands. The group told Fox News that its volunteers participated in “covert land-based patrols” to document the hunts over a 10-week period from July to early September this year.

The project’s goal was to expose “the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese,” according to Sea Shepherd UK Director Rob Read, in a statement emailed to Fox News. Some 18 volunteers from the U.K. and France took part, he added.

GRUESOME PIC SHOWS MASS SLAUGHTER OF WHALES IN FAROE ISLANDS HUNT

The hunts, or “drives” date back to the late 16th century.  Authorities on the islands allow islanders to drive herds of pilot whales into shallow waters, where they are killed using a ‘spinal lance’ that is inserted through the animal’s neck to break its spinal cord.

A grisly scene during a summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

Sea Shepherd Global said that its volunteers documented 9 separate hunts, which are known as grindadrap in the local Faroese language. The 9 hunts accounted for the deaths of 198 Atlantic white-sided dolphins and 436 pilot whales, according to the conservation group.

The Faroe Islands government slammed Sea Shepherd’s activities in a statement emailed to Fox News. “Sea Shepherd representatives will go to any lengths to paint a negative picture of the Faroese whale hunt as ‘barbaric’, ‘unnecessary’, ‘evil’ and ‘lunacy’ describing Faroese as ‘sadistic psychopaths’, with the aim of inciting anger and outrage against the people of the Faroe Islands,” it said. “They have chosen an easy target, as whale drives in the Faroe Islands take place in the open for anyone to watch and document.”

‘UNPRECEDENTED’ ORCA HUNTING FRENZY CAPTURED ON FILM

The government noted that whale meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been a valued part of the Faroes’ national diet. “Catches are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a whale drive and residents of the local district where they are landed,” it said. “Each whale provides the communities with several hundred kilos of meat and blubber – meat that otherwise had to be imported from abroad.”

Shallow water around the Faroe Islands is turned red during a summer 2017 whale hunt (Sea Shepherd Global)

One Sea Shepherd Global volunteer, whose identity has been withheld by the organization, described the Aug. 29 hunt at the Faroese village of Hvannasund.

“Witnessing a grind first hand was truly an eye-opening experience,” explained the volunteer, in a statement provided to Fox News. “As the pilot whales were driven to the shoreline by the small boats the intensity of the thrashing bodies grew. Hooks were sunk into the blowholes and the whales were dragged onto the shore in a sadistic game of ‘Tug of War.’ We witnessed whales seemingly bashing their heads against the stones in a frenzy.”

HUGE SEAL BATTLES OCTOPUS IN INCREDIBLE FIGHT TO THE DEATH

Sea Shepherd Global says that 46 long-finned pilot whales were killed in the Aug. 29 Hvannasund hunt.

A summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands photographed by a Sea Shepherd volunteer (Sea Shepherd Global)

An unnamed eyewitness also described a hunt at the village of Bour on Aug. 31, where 29 long-finned pilot whales were reportedly killed. “We recorded children attempting to remove the teeth of several whales with nothing more than a pocket knife as well as removing slices of what appeared to be a tumour on one whale,” said the Sea Shepherd volunteer, in a statement.

Around 1,700 pilot whales and white-sided dolphins (including the aforementioned hunts) have been caught in the Faroe Islands so far this year, according to the Faroe Islands government. “The annual long-term average catch of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is around 800 whales, with large fluctuations in total catches and the number of individual whale drives from year to year,” it added. 

MYSTERIOUS OCTOPUS INVASION ROCKS BEACH IN WALES

Official statistics show that 295 pilot whales were killed last year and 501 were killed in 2015.

Slaughtered whales in a summer 2017 hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

Faroese authorities say that whaling on the islands is sustainable. “The long-term annual average catch of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands represents less that 1% of the total estimated stock,” said the islands government, in its statement emailed to Fox News. “It has long since been internationally recognised that pilot whale catches in the Faroe Islands are fully sustainable.”

The hunts can happen at any time of the year and the long-finned pilot whales are not an endangered species.

FISHERMAN CATCHES FISH THAT GREW AROUND A DRINK WRAPPER

The ‘spinal lance’ used to kill the whales was designed by a Faroese veterinarian and ensures that the mammals lose consciousness and die within a few seconds, a spokesman for the Faroe Islands government told Fox News earlier this year. An entire pod of whales is typically killed in less than fifteen minutes, he said.

Carcasses on a dock after a summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

The islands’ government says that the pilot whale population in the eastern North Atlantic is approximately 778,000, of which around 100,000 are around the Faroes.

“Sheep farming, whaling and fowling have enabled the Faroe Islands as an island nation to maintain a relatively high degree of self-sufficiency in food production,” said the government, in its statement to Fox News. “In the Faroe Islands it is considered both economic and environmental good sense to make the most of locally available natural resources, and to maintain the knowledge required to use what nature can provide in a harsh oceanic environment.”

TEEN GIRL SURVIVES ‘JAWS’-LIKE SHARK ATTACK IN AUSTRALIA

The Faroes are a self-governing group of islands that is part of Denmark, but are not part of the European Union, where whaling is banned.

Activists have been urging the European Union to take action against Denmark over the Faroe Islands’ whale hunts.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Musk Wants to Build a Rocket That Will Get You Anywhere on Earth in an Hour – Trending Stuff

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has long dreamed of creating a human colony on Mars, is planning to build a new rocket ship code named “BFR” capable of traveling anywhere on Earth in under an hour.

If the concept becomes reality, Musk said a journey from New York to Shanghai can be done in about 30 minutes. The surprise announcement means that his Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which has already disrupted the aerospace industry with reusable launches, plans to ferry humans not just to distant planets but across this one as well, setting up a potentially competitive challenge to the commercial airline industry.

Elon Musk in Adelaide, Sept. 29.

Photographer: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

“If we are going to places like Mars, why not Earth?” Musk said Friday at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. Toward the end of Musk’s highly technical presentation, animation played on a big screen behind him, showing scores of people getting on a high-speed ferry in New York, then boarding the BFR on a platform in the water. The spaceship then travels to Shanghai in roughly half an hour.

“Fly to most places on Earth in under 30 mins and anywhere in under 60,” Musk wrote in an Instagram post after he’d left the stage without taking questions. “Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft. Forgot to mention that.”

Read more: All about Elon Musk — a QuickTake explainer

With many commercial satellite operators as customers, the revenue from those contracts will help fund the development of the BFR, which would be capable of carrying satellites to orbit, crew and cargo to the International Space Station, and complete missions to the Moon and Mars, said Musk. He said the BFR would contain 40 cabins capable of ferrying roughly 100 people at a time.

Red Dragon

Musk, 46, has a net worth of roughly $21 billion and has said in the past he’d use his own personal assets to help fund his vision. He first detailed his Mars plans in a talk at the IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico, a year ago and later published a paper about it, generating enormous excitement but raising concerns it included few details on financing. Musk promised his Twitter followers this summer that his updated Mars plan would address the lack of payment details — which he called “the most fundamental flaw” in his first take.

Previously, Musk had talked about sending an unmanned “Red Dragon” spacecraft to Mars in 2018. That plan, as well as the spacecraft, has been shelved. The new plan calls for the first BFR to land on Mars in 2022, followed by crewed missions in 2024.

Musk, who’s also CEO of electric-car maker Tesla Inc., founded SpaceX in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. The closely-held space exploration company currently flies the Falcon 9 rocket for customers that include NASA, commercial satellite operators and the U.S. military. The Hawthorne, California-based company also has plans to launch its own satellite network.

Drone Ships

The cost of a Falcon 9 launch is roughly $62 million, according to SpaceX’s website, with modest discounts available for contractually committed, multi-launch purchases. SpaceX’s rockets are designed for reuse, with rocket reusability now seen as key to making space travel affordable. SpaceX celebrated its first launch using a previously flown booster in March and regularly recovers the rocket’s first stage on land or on “drone ships” at sea.

SpaceX has completed 13 launches so far this year and has several missions on its manifest, including back-to-back launches slated for October 7th and October 9th. Musk said the first test flight of Falcon Heavy, a far more powerful rocket capable of heavy payloads and sending paying space tourists on a flight around the moon, will occur “hopefully towards the end of the year,” but that date has already slipped several times.

It appears that the BFR, which is in development, would ultimately replace the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy and the Dragon spacecraft, which currently ferries supplies to the International Space Station.

Red Planet

Mars is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Mars exploration got an enormous boost in August 2012, when NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on the Red Planet. The robotic vehicle continues to transmit breathtaking, high-resolution photographs of the dune-and butte-filled landscape to the delight of scientists and Curiosity’s 3.8 million Twitter followers.

Still, human colonization of Mars won’t be easy. Getting there will take several months, with unknown risks to the human body and psyche. Even if space explorers survive the 155 million-mile journey and subsequent first-ever manned landing, they would need to get to work immediately to create a habitable atmosphere, find water and produce the fuel needed to propel the rocket ship homeward. And Musk is famous, in part, for his aspirational timelines.

“SpaceX is in the business of making the impossible possible,” said Phil Larson, a former space policy adviser to President Barack Obama who worked for SpaceX and is now at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “Using the same principles, and diverse funding approach, that have taken them from their first launch 9 years ago to where they are today, it makes this seem within the realm of possibility.”

Musk has a busy agenda while in Australia. Later Friday, he will attend a Tesla Energy event at a wind farm. Tesla is selling its lithium ion batteries to utilities eager to find ways to integrate renewables like solar and wind with their electric grids.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Jerry Lewis, comedy icon and philanthropist, dead at 91 – Trending Stuff

Jerry Lewis, the rubber-faced, squeaky-voiced comedy legend who starred in films and musicals and also was known for his unflagging work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, died on Sunday, his publicist confirmed. He was 91 years old. 

Lewis’ publicist confirmed the news to The Associated Press.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes first reported Lewis’ departure.

Lewis “passed peacefully at home this morning of natural causes at the age of 91 with his loving family by his side,” manager Mark Rozzano said.

Lewis had gone recently through a series of medical issues and scares. In June 2012 he had been hospitalized for 2 nights in New York after collapsing with what was reported for a blood sugar problem.

He had been forced to cancel a show in Australia due to poor health in June 2011.  

Lewis was touring Australia to raise money for the nation’s Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, which is separate from the American Muscular Dystrophy Association, where he served as president.

He declared in 2011 he was retiring as sponsor of the association’s Labor Day Telethon, which he began hosting in 1966.

MDA would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Jerrys tireless efforts. His unyielding devotion matched only his enthusiasm for finding cures for neuromuscular disease to see the struggle through to the end.   Jerrys efforts on the annual MDA Telethon transformed the broadcast into an American tradition each Labor Day weekend for 45 years,” the organization said in a statement. Though we will miss him beyond measure, we suspect that somewhere in heaven, hes already urging the angels to give just one dollar more for my kids.”

In recent decades, Lewis also suffered from a back condition linked from a piano, in addition to heart issues. He reportedly had at least two heart attacks.

The comic who first gained fame as part of a duo with singer Dean Martin was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey.

His parents were entertainers and Jerry made his debut at age five on New York’s Catskill Mountains entertainment circuit.

He began using the professional name Joey Lewis, but later changed it to Jerry, reportedly to avoid confusion with comedian Joe E. Lewis.

In the summer of 1946, Lewis teamed up with Martin first with a nightclub act, then television and radio appearances. Martin was the debonair singer while Lewis was the zany sidekick with the huge grin and squeaky voice.

They went on to make a series of movies together before the venture ended in 1956 and both started solo careers.

Lewis became a major comedy star with his first solo film, 1957’s “The Delicate Delinquent,” followed closely by “Rock-A-Bye Baby” and “The Geisha Boy.” His later films included “The Bellboy,” “Cinderfella,” “The Nutty Professor” and “The King of Comedy.”

He also appeared in stage musicals and in 1994 made his Broadway debut as the Devil in a revival of “Damn Yankees.”

Lewis was respected abroad and a favorite of French critics, sometimes to the entertainment of fans in the home. In 2006 the French Minister of Culture awarded him the Legion d’Honneur, saying he had been the ‘French people’s favorite clown.”

Throughout his career, Lewis worked ceaselessly to raise funds for muscular dystrophy and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

He had been married twice, to Patti Palmer from 1944 and to SanDee Pitnick from 1983. He had five surviving sons from his first marriage (a sixth died) and a daughter from his second.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Tiny ‘meat-loving’ marine creatures ‘eat’ teenager’s legs at Melbourne beach – Trending Stuff

Experts left stunned by possible sea lice bites after Sam Kanizay emerged from the beach at Brighton with bleeding

A Melbourne teenager says his legs were covered in blood after they were eaten by tiny marine creatures at a Victorian beach.

When Sam Kanizay, 16, felt sore after soccer on Saturday, he decided to soak his legs at Dendy Street beach in Brighton.

He walked out in what his family said were marine creatures eating his legs covered.

He described so he went back in the water having sand on his legs when he got out, his father, Jarrod Kanizay, stated.

He moved back to his shoes and what he discovered was blood on his legs. They ate through Sams skin and made it bleed.

University of New South Wales marine invertebrates expert, Alistair Poore, said he had never seen a case like it.

Poore told Guardian Australia the biting must have been brought on by a marine invertebrate, most likely sea lice. But he said a high number of sea lice would be required to cause extensive bleeding.

If it is sea lice, then it is a dramatic illustration of it, Poore said.

He said frequently beachgoers mistook stinging from the remnants of jellyfish tentacles. But Poore stated the bleeding in this case appeared too severe.

The bleeding stops where employees were at a loss, and they moved to hospital.

Whenever we wiped them [his legs] down, they kept bleeding, he said.

There was a pool of blood on the ground [at the hospital]. Nobody knows what the creatures are. Theyve called numerous people, whether its toxicity marine or experts exerts and other medics around Melbourne at least… [and[ yep, no one [understands].

The next night, Kanizay went back to the beach with a pool internet filled with beef and captured the monsters he said were responsible.

What is really clear is these little things love meat, he said of a movie in a tray of water spilled chunks of meat, showing the bugs.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Toys R Us Collapses Into Bankruptcy Thanks to Crushing Debt – Trending Stuff

Toys “R” Us Inc.. , the ultimate toyland for a generation of postwar baby boomers, filed for bankruptcy due to a crushing debt load by a buyout and constant competition from warehouse and online retailers.

The retailer, which has 1,600 stores in 38 states, said after an attempt sparked a press report about a bankruptcy, spooking critical vendors and credit insurers its hand was forced. However, revive its business in time for the holiday buying season and it plans to make the best of the situation.

“Chapter 11 was certainly not the organization’s preferred outcome,” Chief Executive David Brandon stated in a court filing. “The timing of all of this couldn’t have been worse. ” He cited the immediate need to build inventory for the holiday season, which accounts for 40 percent of annual earnings. Thanks to a new $3.1 billion operating loan, the business plans to stabilize operations and reopen supply channels while in bankruptcy, he said.

The filing is the latest blow to a brick-and-mortar retail sector, which has seen a series of bankruptcies from Payless Inc. and Gymboree Corp. to Perfumania Holdings Inc.. Chains are reeling from store closures, slow mall visitors and the gravitational pull of Amazon.com Inc.’s lower costs and worldwide home delivery. More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or almost 1 billion square feet, may want to close, convert to other uses or renegotiate rent, based on data from CoStar Group.

‘Unrelenting Race’

To compete with Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart, “Toys “R” Us would have had to slash prices to keep traffic into its stores, “decreasing its earnings and cash flows in an unrelenting race to the bottom,” Brandon stated in the filing.

The reorganization will focus on investment in marketing, technology, and an experience which will help it compete in the new environment, Brandon said. The bankruptcy filing in Richmond, Virginia, estimated the company has more than $5 billion in debt, which it pays approximately $400 million a year.  

Much of that is the heritage of a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005 where Bain Capital, KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust loaded the company with debt to take it private. Since then, the Wayne, New Jersey-based series has struggled to dig itself out.

The $3 billion loan, from a JPMorgan Chase & Co.-led syndicate that includes some present lenders, will finance operations while it restructures the obligations, as reported by a company announcement. The funding is subject to court approval.

Staying Open

Operations will be continued by the company doesn & #x 2019; t plan and says its locations throughout the world.  It’s 1,600 stores, including Babies “R” Us, are complemented by sales through websites such as Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com.

Operations out of the U.S. and Canada, for example about 255 licensed stores, aren’t part of the Chapter 11 filing.  A Canadian unit plans to seek protection. In Australia, Toys “R” Us plans to add another five stores to its existing 39 by Christmas, said Jessica Donovan, a local advertising and marketing manager.

“Like any retailer, decisions about any future store closings – and openings – will continue to be made based on what makes the best sense for the business,” Michael Freitag, a spokesman for Toys “R” Us, stated in an email.

Mattel Inc.. , an integral supplier, said it stands by the business. “As one of our most important retail partners, we are committed to supporting Toys ‘R’ Us and its management staff as they work through this process, particularly as we approach the holiday season,” the toymaker said in an emailed statement.

Dangerous Dominos

While Brandon made some progress in cutting the closely held series’s obligations, he finally was unable to resuscitate its fortunes. He shot over Toys “R” Us in 2015 and sought to make shopping there a more enjoyable experience with product presentations and the “Hot Toy Finder” to help customers locate items. This past year, he set out a vision of kids “dragging their parents to our stores because they want to see what’s going on. ” 

Beginning in late August, the business tried to handle its debt load through talks with term loan lenders. A Sept. 6 report that a bankruptcy was being contemplated “started a dangerous game of dominoes” where the company lost the confidence of almost 40 percent of its domestic and international sellers, who refused to send products without cash in advance, cash on delivery, or payment of all outstanding obligations, according to Brandon’s court filing. This supposed Toys ’R’ Us needed another $1 billion in liquidity.

The organization’s roots date to 1948, when Charles Lazarus opened Children’s Bargain Town, a baby-furniture store, according to the Toys “R” Us website. He added toys and opened the Toys “R” Us in 1957.

The case is In re TRU-SVC, 17-34659, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

Tesla Finishes First Solar RoofsIncluding Elon’s House – Trending Stuff

First the Model 3 electric car. Now the solar roof. In just one week, Tesla has challenged two distinct industries with radically new products. 

Tesla has completed its first solar roof installations, the company reported Wednesday as part of a second-quarter earnings report. Just like the first Model 3 customers, who took their keys last week, the first solar roof customers are Tesla employees. By selling to them first, Tesla says it hopes to work out any kinks in the sales and installation process before taking it to a wider public audience.

“I have them on my house, JB has them on his house,” Musk said, referring to Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel. “This is version one. I think this roof is going to look really knock-out as we just keep iterating.” 

One of the first completed installations of a Tesla Solar Roof. 

Tesla

Tesla opened up its online store in May and began taking $1,000 deposits for smooth black and textured-glass roof tiles that are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing. From most viewing angles, the slick modern shingles look like standard materials, but they allow light to pass through onto a solar cell embedded beneath a tempered surface. The first installations were supposed to start in June. Tesla didn’t say when the actual installations took place.

The company has been adopting an Apple Store strategy for solar power since acquiring SolarCity Corp. last year for $2 billion. The idea is to cut down on the high price associated with actively identifying new customers, and instead attract them passively through its upscale auto stores in shopping malls and other high-traffic locations. Initial trials found the new approach was 50 to 100 percent more effective than at the best non-Tesla locations selling SolarCity products. Tesla halted SolarCity’s door-to-door sales earlier this year and is staffing up more than 70 stores for solar sales.

Can you tell which shingles have solar cells? 

Tesla

For total quarterly solar installations, Tesla rebounded a bit from an underwhelming first quarter—its first full quarter after it bought SolarCity. It deployed 176 megawatts, up from 150 megawatts the prior quarter, but less than the 201 megawatts that SolarCity installed in the second quarter of 2016. At least part of the slowdown may be due to the cessation of door-to-door sales. The company said it expects to see growth again in the fourth quarter. 

Production of the tiles began at Tesla’s Fremont solar plant in California, but will shift later this year to its new factory in Buffalo, New York, with additional investments from Tesla’s partner, Panasonic. Musk said previously that initial sales will be limited by manufacturing capacity. As production ramps up into 2018, sales will begin in the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere, along with the introduction of additional sculpted terra cotta and slate versions of the solar roof, according to previous reports from the company. 

Bloomberg

Tesla’s basic premise is to make solar ownership more attractive and affordable by eliminating the need to install both a roof  solar panels. Tesla says it will manage the entire process of solar roof installation, including removal of existing roofs, design, permits, installation, and maintenance. The company estimates that each installation will take about a week.

Tesla

 

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/