Jeff Bezos unveils plans for space colonization

WORLD NEWS Jeff Bezos unveils plans for space colonization

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Billionaire Jeff Bezos announced his plans for space colonization on Thursday, starting with the moon.

The world’s richest man revealed the plans for the secretive project from his spaceflight company, Blue Origin, and announced his plan to create the building blocks for interplanetary travel and settlement.

“We’re going to build a road to space,” Bezos said at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday afternoon, adding that he doesn’t know how the colonies would be built but there are “certain gates, certain precursors” that would need to be established to ultimately meet that goal and Blue Origin was going to lead the way.

One key piece of infrastructure is “Blue Moon,” the company’s lunar lander, which has been in the works for three years, a jeans and blazer-clad Bezos said.

“It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay,” Bezos said, as a part of a rambling, long-winded talk about space, which planets are best (Earth), and comparing Amazon Prime deliveries to space payloads.

The Amazon founder was referring to comments by Vice President Mike Pence, who said it is the mission of the United States to return Americans to space in the next five years.

Despite repeatedly praising Earth as “the best planet,” Bezos identified pressing problems such as hunger, poverty, pollution and rampant energy use — and said he intends to focus on finding solutions for long-range problems before they become “urgent problems.”

His inspiration? American physicist Gerard O’Neill, who became interested in the idea of space colonization in 1969.

Bezos extolled his belief in the idea that humans could live in environments that were ideal and create colonies where heavy industry can be carried out without subjecting the earth to atmospheric pollution. He also did refer to coming back to Earth.

“Earth is the best planet. It is not even close. Don’t even get me started on Venus,” Bezos said.

The Amazon founder identified two initial goals that Blue Origin would focus on: a radical reduction in launch costs and establishing resources for space. Like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Blue Origin has focused on reusable rockets.

Blue Origin would begin by sending humans into space in 2019 on New Shepard — a suborbital vehicle designed for space tourism — which uses liquid hydrogen, an incredibly efficient fuel source.

“We’re going to be flying humans in New Shepherd this year,” Bezos said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Beijing vows retaliation after US increases tariffs on $200 billion of imports

WORLD NEWS Beijing vows retaliation after US increases tariffs on $200 billion of imports

daboost/iStock(BEIJING) — After the working dinner between U.S. and Chinese negotiators in Washington ended after only 90 minutes and without a last-minute deal, President Donald Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The response from China to the U.S. increasing levies on imported goods to 25 percent from 10 percent was immediate. At least on paper.

“China deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement released two minutes after the new tariffs took effect.

But Beijing has yet to announce exactly how it will retaliate.

The increased tariffs are a dramatic escalation in the year-long trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies, which had enjoyed an extended cease-fire since late November, when Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. That cease-fire was intended to create a window for negotiators to finalize a deal.

A final agreement was expected soon, at least until the U.S. side accused the Chinese of backtracking on commitments — angering Trump, who issued a Twitter threat to raise tariffs by the end of this week.

Bloomberg News reported that in the buildup to the midnight deadline, the MSCI AC World Index lost more than $2.1 trillion in value, but market reactions across Asia was mixed on Friday. Aside from Japan’s Nikkei, which closed slightly down, about minus .3 percent, most markets were trending slightly up. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed up almost 1 percent.

The Shanghai Composite even rallied in the afternoon session after an initial dip, closing up 3.1 percent. But, according to a Bloomberg News report, Chinese state-backed funds, often dubbed the “National Team,” were active in buying up domestic Chinese stocks after the tariffs went into effect, propping up the market.

The Chinese statement added that talks between the U.S. and China are ongoing and there was hope the two sides could still “work together to resolve existing issues.”

China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, is expected to reconvene with his U.S. counterpart, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday morning in Washington for a second day of talks.

The impact of the tariff hike unlikely will be felt for another few weeks. The increased taxes only apply to shipments leaving China after midday Friday and don’t affect shipments already in transit.

Because it usually takes about three weeks for container ships to travel from Chinese ports to destinations in America, negotiators still could reach an agreement before shipments arrive.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

CDC to block imports of dogs from Egypt, citing rabies concerns

WORLD NEWS CDC to block imports of dogs from Egypt, citing rabies concerns

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(NEW YORK) — The Centers for Disease Control will announce Friday a temporary ban on dogs imported to the U.S. from Egypt, citing multiple instances of dogs that contracted rabies in Egypt being brought to the U.S. in recent years.

Officials say Americans’ appetite for adopting puppies has fueled what regulators call an international smuggling operation that skirts U.S. regulations.

“The motives behind illegal puppy importation are not immediately obvious. However, a closer look reveals a big business driven by profit at the expense of the health and welfare of the underage puppies,” the CDC says in a blog post.

“Importers aim to get around these regulations, because customers demand puppies as young as 8-weeks. Profits decline by the thousands with each month a puppy ages. The puppy-loving public creating the demand is part of the problem,” the post continues.

The CDC estimates 100,000 dogs are imported from countries at high-risk for rabies every year. Three rabid dogs have been imported to the U.S. from Egypt since 2015, some with falsified health paperwork.

In 2017, “Operation Dog Catcher” was launched after agents from Customs and Border Protection, the CDC, and United States Department of Agriculture veterinarians identified more frequent large shipments of puppies at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The operation discovered smuggling operations where dogs from overseas “puppy mills” are shipped to the U.S. as rescue dogs valued at $0, then sold to the public online or on social media under false or misleading information claiming they were bred in the U.S.

The most recent recorded incident was in February of this year, according to the CDC, when 26 dogs imported from Egypt were adopted or placed in foster homes through a rescue in the Kansas City area. One of the dogs bit a vet technician and tested positive for rabies.

The U.S. has been free of canine rabies since 2007, according to the CDC, but the agency says even one imported dog with the virus could create a public health threat if they interact with people or other animals that go untreated.

“The importation of just one dog infected with CRVV risks the re-introduction of the virus into the United States,” the CDC says in a draft of it’s public notice, which will be officially posted Friday.

The CDC says it has worked with international health organizations to try to clear up the problem but that officials in Egypt have not provided enough information to guarantee the health of imported dogs. Imports will be suspended until the CDC and other federal agencies determine appropriate controls are in place in Egypt to prevent exports of rabid dogs.

While U.S. law says dogs coming into the U.S. have to be healthy and at least six months old, Operation Dog Catcher found animals with fraudulent health documents and vaccination records. In addition to rabies, dogs can spread other diseases that can spread to humans and other animals, such as parasites or skin infections.

The CDC and animal advocacy groups say members of the public should research breeders and ask to visit facilities or see inspection reports, even though the full records are not publicly available online. The CDC says that adopting from credible animal shelters in the U.S. also helps decrease demand for puppies sold through fraudulent operations.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

Scoreboard roundup — 5/9/19

Sports News Scoreboard roundup -- 5/9/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:


Cincinnati 3, Oakland 0

Cleveland 5, Chi White Sox 0, 5 Innings
LA Angels 13, Detroit 0
NY Yankees 3, Seattle 1
Houston 4, Texas 2

Chi Cubs 4, Miami 1
Colorado 12, San Francisco 11
St. Louis 17, Pittsburgh 4
Arizona 3, Atlanta 2, 10 Innings
Washington 6, LA Dodgers 0

Philadelphia 112, Toronto 101 (series tied 3-3)
Portland 119, Denver 108 (series tied 3-3)

Boston 5, Carolina 2 (Boston leads series 1-0)

NY Liberty 89, China National Team 71

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019

‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ cast talks ‘Avengers: Endgame’ & more with Jimmy Kimmel

Entertainment News  'Spider-Man: Far from Home' cast talks 'Avengers: Endgame' & more with Jimmy Kimmel


Courtesy Sony Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — (SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “AVENGERS: ENDGAME”) On his show Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel welcomed cast members from Spider-Man: Far From Home — that is, Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cobie Smulders and Jacob Batalon.

The latest Far From Home trailer, released Monday, became the biggest digital launch in the history of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with 135.2 million views in 24 hours — a feat that might not have been reached if Holland, who stars as the web-slinging superhero, hadn’t figured out how to post it to social media.

“It’s no secret, I’m not very good at Instagram,” said Holland, who called himself, essentially, an old man for having to FaceTime his co-star, Zendaya, who wound up sending him instructions on how to post a video to Instagram.

Spider-Man: Far from Home takes places after Avengers: Endgame, which prompted Kimmel to ask a question surely on a lot of people’s minds: if it’s been five years since Thanos snapped half the universe away, why are Peter Parker and his pals still in high school?

Holland could only turn to his co-stars and asked,  “Yeah, why are we still in high school?”

Holland and Smulders, the latter of whom plays agent Maria Hill in the MCU, were both present at Tony Stark’s funeral in Endgame. But Holland, who has a well-documented habit of unintentionally divulging spoilers in interviews, said he was kept in the dark up until the moment he showed up on set.

“This is how bad it is for me,” he said. “I was told it was a wedding.”

Kimmel also debuted a new movie clip from Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Spider-Man: Far From Home officially opens July 2.  Avengers: Endgame is from Marvel Studios and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Posted On 10 May 2019

‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ and ‘The Hustle’ among this week’s new movies

Entertainment News  'Pokémon Detective Pikachu' and 'The Hustle' among this week's new movies


Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton in “Pokémon Detective Pikachu”; courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures(NEW YORK) — Opening nationwide in theaters Friday:

* Pokémon Detective Pikachu — This motion capture/live-action adventure features Ryan Reynolds voicing the titular character from the popular Pokémon franchise, who helps out a teen — portrayed by The Get Down‘s Justice Smith — whose father has been kidnapped. Big Little Lies actress Kathryn Newton also stars. Rated PG.

* The Hustle — Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star in this female take on the 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin, about a pair of scam artists who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them. Rated PG-13.

* Poms — Diane Keaton leads the cast of this comedy about a group of older women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community. Also starring Pam Grier, Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jacki Weaver, 13 Reasons Why‘s Alisha Boe, Celia Weston and Rhea Perlman. Rated PG-13.

* Tolkien — Nicholas Hoult stars in this biographical drama about the early life of English professor J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. The Blind Side‘s Lily Collins co-stars, along with Colm Meaney. Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

* Charlie Says — This biographical crime drama is set years after the Charles Manson murders, when former Manson family members Leslie Van Houton, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins — played respectively by Game of Thrones‘ Hannah Murray, 13 Reason Why‘s Sosie Bacon and Impostors‘ Marianne Rendón — still under Manson’s spell and confined to an isolated cell block, destined to live out their lives under the delusion their acts were justified. A graduate student, portrayed by Nurse Jackie‘s Merritt Weaver, is enlisted to rehabilitate them. Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith plays Manson. Rated R.

* The Biggest Little Farm — Filmmaker John Chester’s documentary about he and his wife Molly’s attempt to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Rated PG.

* All Is True — Kenneth Branagh, who directed this biographical drama, also stars as William Shakespeare in this look at the final days of the renowned playwright’s life. Ian McKellen and Judi Dench also star. Rated PG-13.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 10 May 2019