America

Volcano Pacaya erupts, Guatemala

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A volcano has erupted in Guatemala, prompting the authorities to consider the evacuation of some 3,000 people living in the area. The Pacaya volcano began spewing ash and lava after a powerful explosion on Saturday afternoon. New explosions were seen on Sunday, with ash clouds reaching a height or at least 4km (3 miles).

The volcano is 2,500 meters (8,300 ft) tall.
The volcano is 2,500 meters (8,300 ft) tall.

Flights have been diverted from the area, some 50km (30 miles) south of the capital, Guatemala City.

The Pacaya is one of three active volcanoes in the Central American nation. The other two are the Fuego and the Santa Maria.

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US navy jet crashes during test flight

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A supersonic combat jet crashed Saturday afternoon on a training complex in rural Nevada, the Navy said.

The F/A-18C Hornet went down about 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon in western Nevada, an hour’s drive east of Reno.

The aircraft was conducting a training flight. Navy personnel were en route to the scene Saturday night and had not yet “confirmed the status of the aircraft crew member,” according to a news release.

The plane was assigned to the air station’s Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.

Plane crash kills three in Hawaii

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A plane crashed late Wednesday in Maui County, Hawaii, killing three people and injuring three more, said Maui County spokesman Rod Antone.

The plane went down about a mile from the airport in Lanai City. The injured were taken to hospital, Antone said.

715 new planets discovered by NASA

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Our galactic neighborhood just got a lot bigger. NASA on Wednesday announced the discovery of 715 new planets, by far the biggest batch of planets ever unveiled at once.

By way of comparison, about 1,000 planets total had been identified in our galaxy before Wednesday.

Four of those planets are in what NASA calls the “habitable zone,” meaning they have the makeup to potentially support life.

One of those four is about twice the size of Earth and orbits a star half the size of Earth’s sun in a 30-day cycle.

The other three planets in habitable zones also are all roughly twice the size of Earth. Scientists said the multiplicity technique is biased toward first discovering planets close to their star and that, when further data comes in, they expect to find a higher percentage of new planets that could potentially have a life-supporting climate like Earth’s.

The planets, which orbit 305 different stars, were discovered by the Kepler space telescope and were verified using a new technique that scientists expect to make new planetary discoveries more frequent and more detailed.

“We’ve been able to open the bottleneck to access the mother lode and deliver to you more than 20 times as many planets as has ever been found and announced at once,” said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.

Canadian doctor sentenced for patient abuse

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A Canadian doctor who sexually assaulted 21 sedated patients while they helplessly watched has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Anaesthesiologist George Doodnaught, 65, abused the women, aged 25 to 75, while they were in his care.

George Doodnaught
George Doodnaught

The victims testified that they had been conscious when Doodnaught kissed, fondled and assaulted them, but they were unable to move.

All but one of the attacks occurred at North York General Hospital in Toronto.

The assaults – mainly conducted between 2006-10 – were concealed from other medical staff only by a surgical drape.

U.S. may withdrawal from Afghanistan

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The Obama administration told Afghanistan on Tuesday that for the first time it has started planning for the possible withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of the year if no security agreement is signed.

Statements by the White House and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel showed President Barack Obama’s impatience with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the agreement that would keep several thousand American troops in the country after combat operations conclude this year.

In a phone call with Karzai on Tuesday to discuss upcoming elections for a new Afghan leader, Obama made clear that time was running out to properly plan for keeping any U.S. forces in the country beyond 2014, the White House said.

But why were they there in the first place? Official reports claim that it was to keep a close eye to terrorism in that country, to avoid any future attacks. But the truth is that they are invading the country. Not by the typical invasion, they’re not there to claim the territory, they’re there in an economic invasion. Afghanistan, and in general the Middle East, has a lot of petroleum production. The army there keeps the country to selling the petroleum to any other country other than the U.S.

But will this end now that they’re planning on a possible withdrawal?

Polio-like illness has more cases

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“About 20” cases of a polio-like syndrome have been identified in California children over the past 18 months, a Stanford University researcher says.

Dr. Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, has written a report about five of the early cases.

In that report, which will be presented in April at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, neurologists said they had identified five patients who developed paralysis in one or more of their limbs between August 2012 and July 2013. All five children had been vaccinated against the poliovirus. Treatment did not seem to help the children regain their motor function (read more about this here)

Samples from two of those children tested positive for enterovirus 68, a rare virus that has been linked to severe respiratory illness in the past.

“About 20 cases have been identified in the U.S. so far, all in California, and all occurring in the past 18 months,” Van Haren