NASA telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star.

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist’s concept appeared on the cover of the journal, Nature, on 23 Feb 2017. (Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-sized planets around a single star. At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets. This exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. In contrast to our Sun, the TRAPPIST-1 star is so cool that liquid water can survive on planets orbiting very close to it, closer than is possible on planets in our solar system. All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. This finding will allow astronomers to develop their plans for the James Webb Telescope launching in 2018, which will be sensitive enough to detect factors related to habitability on exoplanets.

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Hate crime is feared as two Indian engineers are shot in Kansas.

Tributes to three gunshot victims were outside Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kan., the scene of the attack, on 24 February 2017. (Image Courtesy of Amy Stroth for The New York Times)

Two Indian engineers were shot in a bar in Kansas on 22 February 2017. Adam W Purinton, a frequenter of Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe was escorted out after he racially abused Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, two immigrants from India who spent their weekends at the club. Moments later, he returned in a rage and fired on the two men, authorities said. Mr. Kuchibhotla was killed, and Mr. Madasani was wounded, along with a 24-year-old man named Ian Grillot, who had tried to apprehend the gunman. Mr. Purinton, 51, was extradited to Kansas from Missouri on Friday, and he is charged with premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder. The attack, which the federal and local authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime, reverberated far beyond both states. It raised new alarms about a climate of hostility toward foreigners in the United States, although the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, strongly rejected the notion. Mr. Purinton was scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Austins Bar, meanwhile, planned to reopen on Saturday.

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Media blocked from White House briefing. 

The Q&A session took place off camera in Sean Spicer’s West Wing office. (Image courtesy of Alex Brandon)

On 24 February 2017, the White House barred several news outlets from a press briefing, and specifically handpicked conservative outlets in favour of Donald Trump. Outlets seeking to gain entry whose requests were denied include The Guardian, The New York Times, Politico, CNN, BuzzFeed, BBC, The Daily Mail, and others. Known conservative news outlets such as Breitbart News, The One America News Network and The Washington Times were allowed into the meeting, as well as TV networks CBS, NBC, Fox, and ABC. The Associated Press and Time were invited but boycotted the briefing in solidarity with those barred from entering. The decision to bar certain outlets came hours after President Trump declared once again that the media was “the enemy of the American People.”

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VX nerve agent allegedly killed Kim Jong-nam.

A molecular model of VX, a nerve agent used in chemical weapons. (Image courtesy of Science Sour)

The banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent is the fast-acting poison used in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia last week. The preliminary police analysis shows evidence of the nerve agent on the eyes and face of the victim. Kim Jong-nam died as he was being transported to the hospital from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 13 February 2017. Malaysian police have arrested four people in connection with the attack, and continue to search for additional suspects.

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“Lipstick Under My Burkha” banned from Indian theatres. 

“Lipstick Under My Burkha” explores the lives and desires of four Indian women. (Image courtesy of Prakash Jha)

The award winning movie “Lipstick Under My Burkha” has been banned by India from movie theatres. The move from India’s Central Boar of Film Certification (CBFC) has unleashed outrage. The movie, which follows four different women, their sex lives, and their desire for men, was considered “lady orientated” and contained words of “abuse” and “audio pornography.” The filmmaker, Prakash Jha, said that they will be appealing the decision with the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

Source and more information can be found here.