Al Jazeera


Pakistan Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah 'killed in drone attack'

Al Jazeera

The leader of Pakistan's Taliban armed group has been killed in neighbouring Afghanistan's Kunar province, the Afghan defence ministry said on Friday. "I confirm that Mullah Fazlullah, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in an joint air operation [with the US] in the border area of Marawera district of Kunar province," Mohammad Radmanish, spokesman for Afghan defence ministry, told Reuters news agency, adding the air attack was carried out at about 9am local time on Thursday. In a separate statement to the Associated Press news agency, Radmanish said that two other armed fighters were killed alongside Fazlullah. Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (known by the acronym TTP) acknowledged that its leader had been killed, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency. TTP accused the Afghan intelligence service NDS, which has long been suspected by Pakistan of harbouring Fazlullah, of providing information for the drone attack.


NASA robot finds 'building blocks for life' on Mars

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A NASA robot has found more building blocks for life on Mars, the most complex organic matter yet from 3.5 billion-year-old rocks on the surface of the red planet, the US space agency said on Thursday. The unmanned Curiosity rover has also found increasing evidence for seasonal variations of methane on Mars, indicating the source of the gas is likely the planet itself, or possibly its subsurface water. The data, collected through drilling into the lowest point of the red planet's Gale crater, is part of the US space agency's newly widened search for organic molecules that could indicate past life on the surface of Mars. Additional data from the robotic probe confirms the detection of "seasonal patterns" in methane levels, NASA geophysicist Ashwin Vasvada said in the live-streamed announcement. NASA scientist Chris Webster confirmed that water has been found on the martian surface and has been present for "a very long time," which points strongly toward a "habitable environment".


Why science should respect the BDS picket line

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A week after the May 14 tragic events in Gaza, an email sent through an international mailing list for researchers in statistical sciences landed in my inbox. It was inviting mailing list members to attend a conference to be held in Jerusalem. Normally I don't engage in mailing list discussions, and they, in fact, tend to be rare on this mailing list. But this time I decided to "reply to all". As someone who supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, I took the opportunity to appeal for a boycott of all academic events in Israel including the one mentioned in the email.


How a Bernie Sanders resolution is normalising the war on terror

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Donald Trump launched his presidency with the killing of nine children. Only a week after taking office, the reality star turned commander-in-chief ordered a made-for-TV raid in the dead of night that saw Navy SEALs storming a rural village in Yemen. "A fierce gunfight turned into an intense aerial bombardment," the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported. By dawn, 14 militants had been killed - along with 25 civilians, among them the 8-year-old daughter of extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaqi. Awlaqi and his 16-year-old son had already been killed in separate US drone strikes in 2011.


Mohammed bin Salman and the gold rush of singularity

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Masayoshi Son, with a net worth of $21.5bn, is reputed to be Japan's wealthiest person. He is also one of the world's slickest and smartest salesmen. In September 2016, Son met then Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. By the end of the 45-minute meeting, bin Salman, MBS, as he is known, had committed $45bn from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) to Son's Vision Fund. That's nearly half the value of what has become the biggest investment fund the world has ever seen.


1,700 ordered to evacuate after Hawaii volcano erupts

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About 1,700 residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes after an eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens were issued a mandatory evacuation order after an eruption on Thursday sent lava shooting up from a crack in a street. "It sounded like if you were to put a bunch of rocks into a dryer and turn it on as high as you could. You could just smell sulphur and burning trees and underbrush and stuff," Jeremiah Osuna, a resident who captured drone footage of the scene, told Honolulu television station KHON. On Friday morning, the Hawaii Country Civil Defence Agency said the volcanic activity still continued and another vent had opened up overnight.


Age of Terror: Art since 9/11 explores complexities of conflict

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London, UK - The echo of a football bouncing against an apartment wall gradually transitions into the boom of falling bombs until the child's game ends in a final, deafening roar. Khaled Abdulwahed's video, Tuj - inspired by the artist's return to his native Damascus in Syria - is an explicit reference to the complicated reality of war and the resilience of those in its midst. The messy nature of contemporary conflict and the confused understanding of it are the central themes of Age of Terror: Art since 9/11, which opened in October 2017 and runs until May 28. It has so far drawn more than 12,500 visitors. Rebecca Newell, IWM head of art, says the exhibition responds to the desire of visitors to the museum that it addresses contemporary conflict and has attracted a new kind of audience.


Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss: Why Google honours him today

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Born 241 years ago on April 30, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss is often described as the "Prince of Mathematicians" and hailed for his contributions to number theory, geometry, probability theory and astronomy. In the German mathematician's honour, Google is changing its logo in 28 countries to a doodle of him and his achievements. Gauss was born in 1777 in Brunswick to poor, working-class parents. His mother, who was illiterate, never recorded her son's birthday. However, she recalled that he had been born on a Wednesday, eight days after the Feast of Ascension, 40 days after Easter.


ILA 2018: Drone technology showcase in Berlin air show

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Many of the world's leading aircraft makers are in Germany for the ILA Berlin Air Show, with the focus this year on drone technology. Its development is helping spark a revolution in sustainable flight.


New 'battle plan' to improve life at France's deprived suburbs

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When Emmanuel Macron announced his bid for the French presidency in November 2016 from Seine-Saint-Denis, the poorest suburb in France, the message was clear: improving the social situation in the French banlieues, or suburbs, was one of his priorities. Seine-Saint-Denis, located just northeast of Paris, had long been synonymous with the conditions that blight France's banlieues - about 10 percent of France's population live in deprived areas with high unemployment and poverty rates, crime and substandard education. Recently, the Macron government announced plans to attempt what three of the preceding governments have tried to do since these banlieues came into existence: tackle what it calls "the discrimination and deprivation" faced by people living in poor suburban areas. One of the previous plans was introduced by the French politician Jean-Louis Borloo in 2004 under the presidency of Jacques Chirac. But Borloo's "social cohesion plan", which sought to improve employment and housing opportunities, did not go far.