Scientists discover ‘planet-killer’ asteroid threatening Earth

An asteroid discovered by a group of American scientists is the largest potentially hazardous one found in over eight years

A giant asteroid could potentially cross paths with Earth, a group of American scientists have warned, adding that the one they recently discovered is the biggest detected in over eight years. Named 2022 AP7, the celestial body is 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) wide, the team revealed, adding that its potential impact would be felt across multiple continents.

“So far, we have found two large near-Earth asteroids that are about one kilometer across, a size that we call ‘planet killers’,” Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Earth and Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science and the leading author of a paper describing the discovery, said in a press release. But only 2022 AP7 has an orbit that makes it potentially dangerous for Earth, according to the scientists.

 The ‘planet killer’ asteroid was hiding somewhere between Earth and Venus, making it difficult to detect. Astronomers have to look in the Sun’s direction to study this area, and state-of-the-art orbital telescopes like James Webb or Hubble cannot be used in such studies since the Sun’s glare would burn their sensitive optics.

“Only about 25 asteroids with orbits completely within Earth’s orbit have been discovered to date because of the difficulty of observing near the glare of the Sun,” Sheppard explained. In this particular case, the scientists made the discovery using the Dark Energy Camera of the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Read more

Giant asteroid closes in on Earth – NASA 

Although the inner solar system still remains largely a terra incognita when it comes to asteroids, the scientists believe that this area contains few potential dangers for Earth. 

“There are likely only a few [near Earth asteroids] with similar sizes left to find,” Sheppard said, adding that most of them likely have orbits that would never put them on a collision course with Earth. It is also unclear when, if ever, 2022 AP7 could pose an acute danger to Earth.

Yet, according to, astronomers already monitor as many as 2,200 potentially hazardous asteroids that are more than one kilometer wide. Such space rocks potentially pose a danger to the entire planet since even a 50-meter-wide asteroid could damage an entire city like London if it explodes over its center, the media outlet notes.

An asteroid called Apophis has an orbit that is dangerously close to Earth. Back in 2020, scientists warned that it could hit the planet in 2068. Later that same year, the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences said that the 370-meter-long space rock could come within the orbits of some of our communication satellites as early as in 2029.

Pelosi attacker faces 50 years in prison

Canadian-born David DePape was in the US illegally, Fox News reported, citing immigration sources

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the actual target of David DePape, the man who broke her husband Paul’s skull with a hammer, authorities revealed on Monday in the charging documents. DePape faces up to 50 years in prison for assaulting an official’s family member and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. 

He also appears to be in the US illegally, Fox News reported, citing sources in immigration enforcement.

DePape, 42, was arrested last week after police found him wrestling with Paul Pelosi at the couple’s San Francisco home. He reportedly struck Pelosi’s head with a hammer, sending the 82-year-old to the hospital for surgery. According to the criminal complaint made public on Monday, DePape told the police he was really after Nancy Pelosi – who was in Washington, DC at the time.

“DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her,” the FBI said in an affidavit. “If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth’, he would let her go, and if she ‘lied’, he was going to break ‘her kneecaps’.” After Paul Pelosi told him his wife would not be home for several days, “DePape reiterated that he would wait.”

Read more

Nancy Pelosi’s husband hospitalized after attack

It was San Francisco police who arrested DePape after finding him struggling with Pelosi over a hammer. After the officers arrived, police say DePape wrested the hammer away and swung it into the older man’s head. Among the evidence recovered at the site were zip ties, rope, tape, gloves and broken glass at the rear of the house, according to the FBI.

DePape reportedly admitted breaking into the Pelosis’ home by using the hammer to shatter a glass door and later using it to strike Paul Pelosi.

As the ambulance was taking Pelosi away to surgery, he told the police that DePape had showed up in his bedroom at 2:30am demanding to talk to “Nancy” and that he had never seen him before, again according to the court papers.

DePape was born in Canada and came to the US 20 years ago, but had overstayed his visa and was in the country illegally, a source in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News.

He now faces up to 20 years in prison for “attempted kidnapping of a US official on account of the performance of official duties” and up to 30 years for “assault of an immediate family member of a US official with the intent to retaliate against the official on account of the performance of official duties,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said on Monday.

Russia’s ‘Most Devastating’ Ukraine Missile Strikes, Repels Sevastopol Attack, Suspends Grain Deal, Advances on Ugledar

Russia’s ‘Most Devastating’ Ukraine Missile Strikes, Repels Sevastopol Attack, Suspends Grain Deal, Advances on Ugledar
News Topic 658

Dutch anarchists squat in Russian billionaire’s house

The group is protesting the Yandex founder’s wealth as well as the conflict in Ukraine

Squatters have occupied the Amsterdam property of Arkady Volozh, the billionaire founder of  Russian search engine Yandex. The group’s members say they took over the sanctioned Russian’s building to protest the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the activities of capitalist “parasites.”

Volozh is sanctioned by the EU and as such is currently prohibited from selling or maintaining the building, NRC reported on Monday. With the property held in limbo, squatters moved in on Thursday, and banners reading “against war and capitalism” now hang from the facade of the building, located on a residential street in the affluent southern part of the city.

The Dutch news site noted that the police have visited the squatters, but the outcome of the visit is unclear. It is also unclear how many people are staying in the building, or how they gained access.

Read more

EU reveals condition for unblocking Russia’s assets

In a statement, the squatters said that they were “against the war, against the greed of oligarchs and billionaires and against parasites that empire creates.” Their sit-in was staged “in support of Ukrainian and Russian anarchists who are fighting against their state,” the group added.

Volozh resigned as Yandex’ CEO earlier this summer after his name appeared on the EU’s sanctions blacklist. The company, however, has continued to flourish, and announced the recruitment of some 2,000 new employees in July. Later that month it announced plans to sell weather forecasting technology to companies in Mexico and Brazil.

Yandex is Russia’s largest technology company and is used for around 60% of searches in Russia. Its holding company, Yandex NV, is registered in Amsterdam.

US government worked with Big Tech to censor social media – Intercept

Documents show how Homeland Security sought to dodge the First Amendment ban on censorship

The US government worked hand in glove with social media platforms to censor online “misinformation” – such as the factually true Hunter Biden laptop story – The Intercept revealed on Monday, citing internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained through leaks and public records requests. Moreover, the DHS plans to continue censoring opinions about Covid-19, “racial justice,” and US support for Ukraine going forward.

“Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the US government has used its power to try to shape online discourse,” Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein write in Monday’s report.

One of their major revelations is that tech companies – including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft and LinkedIn – met with the FBI and other government agencies every month, before and since the 2020 election. Facebook even set up a special portal for “takedowns” that requires a law enforcement email to access.

Read more

US puts ‘disinformation board’ on hold

The process is also outlined in emails between DHS officials, Twitter, and the NGO Center for Internet Security, while meeting notes show that the government called on tech platforms to “process reports and provide timely responses, to include the removal of reported misinformation from the platform where possible.”

Many of the documents surfaced due to the lawsuit by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican currently running for the US Senate. Among them was the revelation that two FBI officials were involved in high-level communications with Facebook to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story: Laura Dehmlow, the section chief of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) and Elvis Chan, a special agent in the San Francisco field office.

The factually true story published in October 2020 was denounced as “Russian disinformation” by Democrat Joe Biden and most corporate outlets, and the New York Post was suppressed on both Facebook and Twitter.

Another document from March shows Dehmlow telling Twitter executives that subversive information on social media could undermine support for the US government.

READ MORE: Zuckerberg says Facebook censored Hunter Biden story after FBI warning

Created in 2019 in response to claims by Democrats that “Russian influence” on social media somehow got Donald Trump elected in 2016, the FBI’s FITF would later expand its purview to “disinformation analysis” about Covid-19. 

A draft of the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review – a strategy document leaked to the Intercept – shows the DHS intends to target “inaccurate information” on topics including “the origins of the [Covid]-19 pandemic and the efficacy of [Covid]-19 vaccines, racial justice, US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of US support to Ukraine.” 

Jen Easterly, a Biden nominee heading the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), texted a Microsoft employee in February, saying she was “trying to get us in a place where Fed can work with platforms to better understand mis/dis trends so relevant agencies can try to prebunk/debunk as useful.”

Read more

US is world’s ‘greatest propagator of disinformation’ – Senator

At a conference in November 2021, Easterly argued that “the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure, so building that resilience to misinformation and disinformation, I think, is incredibly important.”

CISA meeting minutes also show Election Security Initiative director Geoff Hale urging the use of third-party nonprofits as a “clearing house for trust information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”

The Biden administration has sought to dismiss Schmitt’s lawsuit as lacking standing and argued that social media voluntarily removed posts without any “coercive” influence from the government – which would be prohibited under the First Amendment. 

“If a foreign authoritarian government sent these messages, there is no doubt we would call it censorship,” Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told The Intercept.