(The Washington Post) – Kurds fight the ISIS group while being bombed by Turkey – 

By Vivian Salama
BAGHDAD — Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Friday and Saturday in what were the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013.

The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group.

The Kurds of Syria and Iraq have become a major part of the war against the Islamic State group, with Kurdish populations in both countries threatened by the militants’ advance. Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds took part in cross-border operations to help rescue tens of thousands of displaced people from the minority Yazidi group from Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain in August last year and they continue to fight in cooperation with one another against the Islamic State group in areas along the Iraq-Syria border.
They have been somewhat effective in limiting the expansion of the Islamic State militants across northern Iraq but there are concerns that Turkish airstrikes on the PKK could jeopardize Kurdish positions.

WHO ARE THE KURDS?

The Kurds are an ethnic group with their own language and customs whose nomadic past led to their modern-day dispersal across several countries, mostly Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. Sunni Muslims make up the vast majority, but there is a sizeable Shiite population, particularly in Iran.

After the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires and the subsequent creation of these modern states, Iraq, Iran and Turkey each agreed to oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan, making them the largest stateless minority group in the world. With nearly 25 million people living in five countries, they continue to push for self-rule.

WHAT IS THEIR ROLE IN TURKEY?

Turkey is home to an estimated 15 million Kurds, about one-fifth of the country’s population of 76 million. Most are Sunni Muslim.

The PKK has fought a three-decade war, initially for independence and later for autonomy and greater rights for Kurds. The conflict with the PKK has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.
Turkey and its U.S. and European allies consider the PKK — which has Marxist origins — a terrorist organization for killing civilians in urban bombings.
In 2012, Turkey launched secret talks with the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to end the conflict. The talks were made public in 2013 and the PKK declared a cease-fire a few months later.

Kurds accused Turkey of not doing enough to help Syrian Kurds during the battle against Islamic State militants over the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, prompting violent clashes and straining the fragile peace process.

Tensions flared again after an Islamic State suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday killed 32 people. Kurdish groups held the Turkish government responsible, saying it had not been aggressive in battling the Islamic State group.

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party, said the strikes on the PKK in Syria and Iraq amounted to an end of the two-year-old truce. It called on the government to end the bombing campaign and resume a dialogue with the Kurds.

Turkey views Kurds in Iraq as an ally but is suspicious of Syrian Kurds who are affiliated with the PKK. Ankara is worried that Kurdish gains in Iraq and in Syria will encourage the aspirations of its own Kurdish population.

WHERE DO THEY STAND IN IRAQ?

Five million Kurds have their own government in Iraq’s semi-autonomous north and have significant representation in the central government with several key posts including the presidency, which is allocated to Kurds. They currently represent about 20 percent of Iraq’s population, making them the largest ethnic minority.

There are two main Iraqi Kurdish factions: The Kurdistan Democratic Party is led by Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is led by former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The factions fought a bloody war for power over northern Iraq in the mid-1990s, before agreeing to a power-sharing deal that ended the fighting in 1998.
The Iraqi Kurdish militia, known as the peshmerga, has been a major force in repelling the Islamic State group’s onslaught in recent months, with nearly a dozen countries rushing to its aid with weapons and training in the absence of genuine support from a strained Iraqi military.

The United States has been one of the most ardent protectors of Iraqi Kurds for over a generation, helping establish and enforce a safe haven in northern Iraq to protect them from Saddam Hussein. After the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials sought to give equal power to Kurdish politicians even in navigating the delicate rivalry between the factions.

WHERE DO THE KURDS STAND IN SYRIA?

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up more than 10 percent of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million people. They are centered mostly in the impoverished northeastern province of Hassakeh, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq.

The Kurdish Democratic Union party, or PYD, is the most powerful political force among Syria’s Kurds. The party is a deeply secular, and affiliated with the PKK. The People’s Protection Units, known by its Kurdish acronym YPG, is the main Kurdish fighting force in Syria.

Since Syria’s civil war began, the Kurds have made unprecedented gains, strengthening their hold on the far northeast reaches of the country and carving out territory where they declared their own civil administration in areas under their control. They have demonstrated a surprising resilience in their fight against Islamic State group militants in Kobani, pushing them out in January with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. More recently last month, they ejected the Islamic State group from their stronghold of Tal Abyad along the border with Turkey, robbing the IS of a key avenue for smuggling oil and foreign fighters.

___

Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.
Kurds fight the IS group while being bombed by Turkey Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options Resize Text Print Article Comments 4 Turkey strikes Kurdish militants in Iraq(1:55) Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, expanding and complicating the air war launched by Turkey against the Islamic State in Syria a day before.

Read Source:

Advertisements

(TheBlaze.com) Wild Animal Found Roaming NYC Streets Has Police Asking ‘What’s Next?’

USWild Animal Found Roaming NYC Streets Has Police Asking ‘What’s Next?’

The alligator, dubbed CockadoodleQ, died just 12 hours after being rescued. WABC-TV reported that it was likely an illegal pet that was released once it got too big for the owner to take care of.

“We have no knowledge of the conditions CockadoodleQ had lived in prior to his arrival that contributed to his death,” the ACC said in a statement. “Exotic animals such as alligators are illegal to have as pets in New York City.”

Witnesses told WABC that they believed the alligator could have been dropped off, or it could have come from the sewer or river. The alligator was found 50 feet from the Harlem River.

“He was pretty feisty,” Deputy Inspector Chris Morello told the New York Daily News.

Police said they believed the alligator was looking for water when they found it crossing the street.

“Some people were very surprised. They’ve never seen an alligator, never seen a reptile of that size let alone here in the city street,” Eddie Perez, a witness, told WABC.

An animal rescuer told the New York Daily News that the alligator appeared to have been one- or two-years-old.

Last week police rescued nine boa constrictors and an alligator from a Brooklyn residence, resulting in one arrest.

WABC reported that New York City’s health codes prohibit people from owning alligators as pets.

Read Source:

(WISH-TV) – Angie’s List to make changes after grading system flaw discovered | 

 

The changes come after an I-Team 8 investigation uncovered a flaw in the system that allows contractors to retain positive grades for work they complete, but doesn’t always penalize them when consumers pay in advance and the work is never started.

Here’s how it works:

Angie’s List allows paying members to review contractors, companies and even physicians by giving them letter grades and written comments.

The I-Team 8 investigation examined hundreds of pages of reviews from various contractors and found that in some cases, customers were indicating that work was never done even though some paid money in advance for services. Angie’s List says those reviews should have been considered “work done.”

Why is that significant?

Because Angie’s List ranks contractors by letter grade and gives more weight to those letter grades based on completed projects. So if customers are paying money in advance and no work is ever done by a contractor, those reviews aren’t counting as much – allowing contractors to hold onto inflated grades they perhaps did not earn.

In response to this finding, Angie’s List conducted an internal audit within the past 90 days and discovered that this is happening in almost 1 out of every 100 cases, according to Angie’s List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed.

“Let me be clear, reports where money exchanged hands are intended to be ‘work done’ reports,” said Angie’s List Founder, Angie Hicks, during a recent sit-down interview with I-Team 8.

Hicks, who co-founded Angie’s List with CEO Bill Oesterle, says she is willing to make changes and plans to add a pop-up window and additional follow-up emails to help guide consumers when they make reviews. Additional emails will also be sent to anyone who provides a “C” grade or lower to a contractor or company, regardless of whether work was completed or not.

Within 10 days, Angie’s List says it will:

  • Making that policy more clear
  • Reach out a second time to offer help to consumers who have a bad experience
  • Review its records to see if there are other cases that were mistakenly marked “work not done.”

One of the businesses examined during I-Team 8’s investigation was Carmel-based Green Frog Restoration, which was given a “C” by Angie’s List under the roofing category – that ranking including five “F” grades in the past year and one “A” from 2013.

Despite five “F’s,” Green Frog Restoration was showing it had a “C” ranking from Angie’s List. The same company was given an “F” ranking by the Better Business Bureau.

Barbara Duke knows what grade she would give the Green Frog Restoration. When asked, she said: “The F.”

Duke and her husband, Robert, said they were contacted by Green Frog Restoration, who asked if they could fix their roof, siding and shed following a hail storm. The Dukes said they agreed and signed a contract, turning over an insurance check worth $10,000.

“They come and got the check and then we didn’t hear anymore from them,” said Barbara Duke.

Barbara says she calls the company once or twice a week but no one answers. No one answered the door when I-Team 8 showed up at the Carmel business office listed as the company’s address. Our repeated phone calls were also not returned. An office manager at the business complex said she had not seen the tenants in a month.

Randy White also lost money to Green Frog Restoration.

“Whatever grade is below F, that’s what Green Frog should get,” White told I-Team 8 by phone.

When I-Team 8 notified Angie’s List that both White and the Dukes had paid money in advance but never received services, a spokeswoman confirmed that there were other similar instances and said that the company’s rating should be a “D.”

This isn’t the first time Angie’s List methods have been questioned. A federal lawsuit filed earlier this year alleged that contractors and companies can improve their position by paying advertising fees on the website. Angie’s List sought to have that case thrown out and a spokeswoman denied the assertions, saying that contractors and companies who advertise are held to a higher standard and are required to give discounts. Spokeswoman Cheryl Reed did not dispute, however, that discounts offered by the highest-rated companies are often at the top of Angie’s List.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Angie’s List plans to make significant changes to its review online system in the next 10 days.

Source: Angie’s List to make changes after grading system flaw discovered | WISH-TV

(The Alpena News) – Obama arrives in Kenya to open two-nation Africa visit

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — President Barack Obama has opened a two-nation tour of Africa focused on deepening economic and security partnerships with the continent and its people.

Obama landed in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Friday.

His father was Kenyan and the trip amounts to a homecoming of sorts for Obama, who is expected to spend time with family.

Obama’s agenda for Saturday includes co-hosting a U.S.-sponsored business summit and a meeting with Kenya’s president, followed by a news conference and a state dinner.

He’ll address the Kenyan people on Sunday before departing for Ethiopia.

Obama meets Monday with Ethiopia’s president and prime minister, holds a news conference and attend a state dinner.

He addresses members of the African Union on Tuesday before heading back to Washington.

 

Read Source: Obama arrives in Kenya to open two-nation Africa visit – TheAlpenaNews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Michigan, Community Information – The Alpena News

(SpaceRef) – NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 July 2015 – 

 

All six Expedition 44 crew members gathered inside the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony with new crewmates (front row from left) Kimiya Yui, Oleg Kononenko and Kjell Lindgren. In the back from left are Mikhail Kornienko, Gennady Padalka and Scott Kelly. Credit: NASA TV.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined their Expedition 44 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 12:56 a.m. EDT.

Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home.

The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth.

Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yiu are now the 217th and 218th people to board the International Space Station. This is the first visit for both Lindgren and Yiu, and the third for Kononenko.

Lindgren, Kononenko and Yui will remain aboard the station until late December. Kelly and Kornienko, who have been aboard since March 27, will return to Earth in March 2016 at the end of their one-year mission. Padalka, who also has been aboard since March 27, will return to Earth in September, leaving Kelly in command of Expedition 45. Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth in March 2016 with Expedition 46 after 342 days in space.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow Twitter updates from Kjell Lindgren, Kimiya Yui, and Scott Kelly, and follow Kelly on Instagram.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station on Twitter, follow the hashtag #ISS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/connect.

On-Orbit Status Report

43 Soyuz (43S) Launch/Dock: 43S launched at 4:02 PM CDT today and docked at 9:46 PM CDT. Hatch opening occurred at 11:56 PM CDT. With the arrival of Kjell Lindgren, Kimiya Yui and Oleg Kononenko the ISS returns to 6-crew operations. Following crew ingress, the ISS Safety Briefing will be performed to familiarizes the newly arrived crew with potential hazards and safety measures. The crew will also review emergency actions, roles and responsibilities and response to depressurization, fire and toxic events.

Fine Motor Skills: Kelly and Kornienko performed their Flight Day 120 session of Fine Motor Skills today. In this experiment crew members perform a series of interactive tasks on a touchscreen tablet. The investigation is the first fine motor skills study to measure long-term microgravity exposure, different phases of microgravity adaptation, and sensorimotor recovery after returning to Earth’s gravity. The goal of the experiment is to answer how fine motor performance in microgravity trend/vary over the duration of a six-month and year-long space mission; how fine motor performance on orbit compare with that of a closely matched participant on Earth; and how performance trend/vary before and after gravitational transitions, including the periods of early flight adaptation and very early/near immediate post-flight periods.

Space Headaches: Yui and Lindgren will perform their first Space Headaches questionnaire following their arrival on ISS. They will complete the questionnaire daily for their first week on orbit then once per week for the remainder of their mission. Headaches can be a common complaint during spaceflight. The Space Headaches experiment improves the understanding of such conditions which helps in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms and improve the well-being and performance of crew members in orbit. This can also improve the knowledge of similar conditions on Earth.

Russian Segment (RS) Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Preparations: Kelly gathered and transferred US tools in preparation for RS EVA #41 currently planned for August 10. Battery maintenance for Rechargeable EVA Battery Assemblies (REBA), Helmet Lights (HL), and Pistol Grip Tools (PGT) started last week will conclude this Friday.

Today’s Planned Activities
All activities are were completed unless otherwise noted.

Self-Reaction Test. Reaction Time Test (morning)
Morning Inspection. RSS 1, 2 Reboot / r/g 7437
Laptop RS1(2) Reboot / Onboard Computer System (БВС)
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor / r/g 9277
FINEMOTR – Experiment Ops
Replacement of SM Unit 800А АБ Module 3. Checkout of air duct sealing screws r/g 9395
Replacement of SM unit 800А Storage Battery Module No.3 – assistance / SM IVA
Fine Motor Skills – Experiment Ops / See OSTPV for Procedure
VEG-01 PLANT – Plant Photo
WRS Water Sample Analysis
TEPC Transfer
Replacement of SM unit 800А Storage Battery Module No.3 – assistance / SM IVA IMF
Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) – EVA Battery Assembly (REBA)
CALCIUM. Experiment session 10. / r/g 9396
Gathering US tools to support RS EVA
Transfer of Urine from RS/USOS EDV-U and brine from EDV-US to ТГК 425 (Aft) Rodnik БВ2 Tank r/g 9394
Verification of ИП-1 Flow Sensor Position / Pressure Control & Atmosphere Monitoring System (СКДС)
USOS EVA tools Transfer to support RS EVA
Medical Locket Kit Audit / r/g 9386
Battery Stowage Assembly (BSA) Battery Recharge Terminate
Start BSA Battery Charge
Closing USOS Window Shutters
Physical Fitness Evaluation (on treadmill)
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor
TOCA Data Recording
Soyuz 717 ODF Procedures
Closing USOS Window Shutters
ISS HAM RADIO Power Down
Review Hatch Opening from MRM1 and Arrival of Expedition 44 TV Coverage procedure.
MERLIN – Desiccant Swap
Scheduled Maintenance of Compound Specific Analyzer- Combustion Products (CSA-CP)
Activation of Soyuz 716 (MRM2) Gas Analyzer
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor
Closure of window shutters 6,8,9,12,13,14
СОЖ Maintenance
CONTROL. Switching Indicator-ISS P/L measuring modes
CQ outfitting after arrival
OTKLIK. Hardware Check
MPEG2 Multicast Test via Ku-band (Activation/Deactivation of TV data and MPEG2 Multicast controls)
Preparation of ТК 717 for Docking to MRM1
Comm Config before ТК 717 docking
Monitoring Soyuz 717 Rendezvous with ISS (MRM1)
Activation of MPEG2 Multicast TV Monitoring
Activation of mpeg2 multicast video recording mode
Video recording of capture and retraction through DC1 EV2 hatch during Soyuz 717 docking to MRM1
Switch MRM1 PEV – ТК to ELECTR CONTR position
Closing Applications and Downlink of MPEG2 Multicast video via OCA
Gathering exercise equipment
ТК 717 – MRM1 Interface Leak Check
Start Drying 2 space suits
Comm Reconfiguration for Nominal Ops after 717 Docking
Respiratory Support Pack Checkout
HABIT – Hardware activation
Hardware Setup in SM for Expedition 44 Arrival TV Coverage from SM
VEG-01 PLANT – Plant Photo
Equipment Setup in MRM1 for Hatch Opening TV Coverage from MRM1
JRNL – Journal Entry
Soyuz-MRM1 Hatch Opening TV Coverage of Expedition 44 Arrival
Soyuz-MRM1 Hatch Opening ‘
TV Coverage of Expedition 44 Arrival
Handover of the 3rd space suit and gloves for drying in ТПК 716
Closing Applications, Deactivation of camcorders and TV data monitors
Drying the 3rd spacesuit in ТК 716 – start
Safety briefing after ТК 717 docking
Photo of a scuff mark left by Active Docking Mechanism probe on the MRM1 Passive Mechanism Receiving Cone
Video downlink via OCA of capture and retraction during Soyuz 717 docking to MRM1
Handover of Expedition 43 Crew
Termination of Suit 1,2 Drying (ТК 717)
Installing the 1st pair of gloves for drying (ТК 717)
Download docking cone internal surface photos to OCA
CASKAD. Manual Mixing in Bioreactor
ТК 717 Deactivation (without GA deactivation)
Terminate drying the first pair of gloves and start drying the second pair (ТК 717)
ТК 717 Deactivation (without GA deactivation)
SHD1ST – Survey Completion
Terminate drying the second pair of gloves (ТК 717)
Stowage of the 1st and 2nd space suits and gloves after drying
Terminate the 3rd suit drying, start drying the 3rd pair of gloves (Soyuz 716)
Terminate drying the 3rd pair of gloves (ТК 716)
Handover of the 3rd space suit and gloves after drying in ТК 716
Stowage of the 3rd suit and gloves in TK 717 after drying
Closing USOS Window Shutters
Self-Reaction Test. Reaction Time Test (evening)
Completed Task List Items

None
Ground Activities
All activities were completed unless otherwise noted.

OPM execution
Soyuz docking operations
Three-Day Look Ahead:

Thursday, 07/25: Crew off duty following 43S Docking
Friday, 07/24: Lab RPCM R&R, JAXA PCG install, Emergency Roles & Responsibilities review
Saturday, 07/25: Crew off duty, housekeeping
QUICK ISS Status – Environmental Control Group:

Component – Status
Elektron – Off
Vozdukh – Manual
[СКВ] 1 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV1”) – On
[СКВ] 2 – SM Air Conditioner System (“SKV2”) – Off
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Lab – Standby
Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) Node 3 – Operate
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Lab – Shutdown
Major Constituent Analyzer (MCA) Node 3 – Operate
Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) – Standby
Urine Processing Assembly (UPA) – Standby
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Lab – Off
Trace Contaminant Control System (TCCS) Node 3 – Full Up

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Source: NASA International Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 July 2015 – SpaceRef

(POLITICO) – New York Times alters Clinton email story

By DYLAN BYERS 7/24/15 4:58 AM EDT
The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive report about a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes.The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.”That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”The Times also changed the headline of the story, from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton’s possible role. The article’s URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.One of the reporters of the story, Michael Schmidt, explained early Friday that the Clinton campaign had complained about the story to the Times.“It was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them,” Schmidt said.Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, said in an email that Clinton always followed “appropriate practices.”“Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted,” Merrill said.The inspectors general request comes after their assessment that Clinton’s private email account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The Times’ report notes that it is not clear whether the contents of the emails were marked as classified by the State Department when then-Secratry of State Clinton sent or received them.Clinton’s use of a private email account at the State Department has been a subject of intense scrutiny by both the media and Republican adversaries for months. No news outlet has been more aggressive in its coverage of that issue than the Times.The Times’ report also includes the following error: It states that a hearing in Washington about the State Department’s refusal to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests had taken place on Monday. That hearing took place last week.UPDATE (2:12 p.m.): The Times issued the following correction on Friday:”An earlier version of this article and an earlier headline, using information from senior government officials, misstated the nature of the referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state. The referral addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that personal email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.”

Source: New York Times alters Clinton email story – POLITICO

 (ABC News) – The Latest: Silent 911 Call Alerts Police to Oklahoma Deaths

 

The latest on the stabbing deaths of an Oklahoma family (all times local):
The latest on the stabbing deaths of an Oklahoma family (all times local):

4 p.m.

Authorities have identified two adults who were among five family members stabbed to death in a suburban Tulsa home as well as an 18-year-old family member who is one of two brothers suspected of the killings.

Broken Arrow Police Cpl. Leon Calhoun said Thursday the dead include parents David and April Bever. Calhoun says 18-year-old Robert Bever is one of two teenagers being held pending charges being filed in their deaths. Three other victims and two family members who survived the attack have not yet been identified.

Calhoun says the brothers are suspected of stabbing to death their parents, a sister and two brothers. Police say the children are a girl approximately 5-years-old and boys approximately 7- and 12-years. A 13-year-old sister was wounded in the attack while a 2-year-old girl was uninjured.

———

2:30 p.m.

Authorities say the stabbing deaths of five members of a Tulsa-area family by two family members “is the worst single criminal event in Broken Arrow history.”

Broken Arrow police Cpl. Leon Calhoun said Thursday that 16- and 18-year-old brothers are suspected of stabbing to death their parents, a sister and two brothers. Police say the children are a girl approximately 5-years-old and boys approximately 7- and 12-years old. A 13-year-old sister was wounded in the attack and is hospitalized while a 2-year-old girl was found in the family home uninjured.

No names have been released.

Calhoun said the suspects are being questioned by investigators.

———

12:40 p.m.

An Oklahoma state medical examiner has arrived at a Tulsa-area home where five members of a family were found stabbed to death.

Coroner’s vans also arrived early Thursday afternoon at the home in Broken Arrow to remove the bodies that were found about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Two bodies that lay covered in the yard were the first to be removed; they were placed in green body bags and placed in the van.

Police responding to a wordless 911 call found the bodies, in addition to a 13-year-old girl with stab wounds and a 2-year-old girl who was uninjured. The 13-year-old girl is hospitalized in stable but serious condition.

Two male teenagers are in custody. Police say they and the victims are related.

———

12:15 p.m.

Police say officers couldn’t initially get into a Tulsa-area home after receiving a 911 call, but forced their way in after hearing moans from inside.

The bodies of five people were later found at the home. A 2-year-old girl found inside the home was uninjured.

Broken Arrow police Cpl. Leon Calhoun said Thursday that officers were unable to enter the home when they arrived Wednesday night. But after hearing moans, they forced their way in and found a 13-year-old girl who survived the stabbing attack. They pulled her outside.

Calhoun says the girl is now hospitalized in stable but serious condition.

He says officers re-entered the home and pulled two more victims to the lawn because it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were dead or if the attacker was still inside. The bodies of three other victims also were found inside the home.

Two teenagers are in custody. Police say they and the victims are related.

———

10.20 a.m.

Authorities say a 13-year-old girl who was wounded in the fatal stabbing of five of her family members at their Tulsa-area home is in stable but serious condition.

Broken Arrow police Cpl. Leon Calhoun said the girl remains in a hospital after surgery Thursday. She was taken there in critical condition following the Wednesday night stabbing.

Calhoun says a 2-year-old girl who was found uninjured in the home is in state custody.

The names of the victims have not been released.

Investigators at the scene can be seen entering and leaving the home.

Police found the victims about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday following an “open 911” call in which someone dialed for help but didn’t speak. Two teenagers who police say are also a part of the family are in custody.

———

9:25 a.m.

Authorities say it could take some time before they release the names of five family members who were found stabbed to death in their Tulsa-area home.

Broken Arrow police Sgt. Thomas Cooper said Thursday that police are working to notify next of kin, but noted that the five dead and the two teenagers in custody are all members of the same family. A girl who was found in critical condition with stab wounds and another juvenile found uninjured in the home are also members of the family, but the specific nature of the relationships has not been released.

Police found the victims about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday following an “open 911” call in which someone dialed for help but didn’t speak. Cooper says police traced the call to the address where the victims were found.

———

7:45 a.m.

Authorities say five people were found stabbed to death in a Tulsa-area home following an “open 911” call in which someone dialed 911 but didn’t speak.

Sgt. Thomas Cooper says police traced the call about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to the address where the victims were found. Two male relatives aged 18- and 16-years were arrested soon after.

Cooper said Thursday that the dead includes adults and children and that they are all related, but he didn’t explain how. He says a girl also found at the home was in critical condition with stab wounds and that another juvenile found there who was not injured is in state custody.

He says an investigation of the home could take all day and that the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation is assisting.

———

7:05 a.m.

Police in Oklahoma say five members of a family were found stabbed to death in their Tulsa-area home and that two teenage relatives are in custody.

Broken Arrow police Sgt. Thomas Cooper says police were called to a home late Wednesday and found five people dead from stab wounds. A girl survived with wounds, and another child in the home was not harmed.

Cooper said at the scene Thursday that the suspects are boys aged 16 and 18.

He says they fled the home before police arrived but that a tracking dog trailed them. He says the victims and the detained teenagers are related.

Cooper also says Broken Arrow typically only sees one or two homicides every couple of years.

———

3:45 a.m.

Police in eastern Oklahoma say five people have been found dead and two teenagers were taken into custody.

In a news release, Broken Arrow police Sgt. Thomas Cooper says officers were called to an address Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. for an unknown problem.

When they arrived, Cooper says officers found the five deceased victims and a child who was still alive and was brought to the hospital in critical condition. Another child was found unharmed.

The news release says a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, who are both related to the victims, were taken into custody.

The news release calls the case a homicide investigation. No other details were immediately available.

Broken Arrow is southeast of Tulsa.

7:45 a.m.

Authorities say five people were found stabbed to death in a Tulsa-area home following an “open 911” call in which someone dialed 911 but didn’t speak.

Sgt. Thomas Cooper says police traced the call about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to the address where the victims were found. Two male relatives aged 18- and 16-years were arrested soon after.

Cooper said Thursday that the dead includes adults and children and that they are all related, but he didn’t explain how. He says a girl also found at the home was in critical condition with stab wounds and that another juvenile found there who was not injured is in state custody.

He says an investigation of the home could take all day and that the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation is assisting.

———

7:05 a.m.

Police in Oklahoma say five members of a family were found stabbed to death in their Tulsa-area home and that two teenage relatives are in custody.

Broken Arrow police Sgt. Thomas Cooper says police were called to a home late Wednesday and found five people dead from stab wounds. A girl survived with wounds, and another child in the home was not harmed.

Cooper said at the scene Thursday that the suspects are boys aged 16 and 18.

He says they fled the home before police arrived but that a tracking dog trailed them. He says the victims and the detained teenagers are related.

Cooper also says Broken Arrow typically only sees one or two homicides every couple of years.

———

3:45 a.m.

Police in eastern Oklahoma say five people have been found dead and two teenagers were taken into custody.

In a news release, Broken Arrow police Sgt. Thomas Cooper says officers were called to an address Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. for an unknown problem.

When they arrived, Cooper says officers found the five deceased victims and a child who was still alive and was brought to the hospital in critical condition. Another child was found unharmed.

The news release says a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, who are both related to the victims, were taken into custody.

The news release calls the case a homicide investigation. No other details were immediately available.

Broken Arrow is southeast of Tulsa.

Read Source: The Latest: Silent 911 Call Alerts Police to Oklahoma Deaths – ABC News

(CNN.com) – Louisiana theater shooting: Two women killed. Shooter, John Houser kills self.

Police chief: Theater shooter intent on escaping

By Ray Sanchez and Pete Burn, CNN<

Story highlights
Mayci Breaux, 21, was a college student who worked at a Lafayette clothing store< Jillian Johnson, 33, co-owned a toy and gift shop in the Louisiana city Nine others were injured in the movie theater shooting (CNN)One co-owned a gift and toy shop. Another was a college student who also worked at a women's clothing store.Jillian Johnson, 33, and Mayci Breaux, 21, were among those shot Thursday night by a gunman at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater at a showing of the Amy Schumer comedy, "Trainwreck."Jillian Johnson, 33, was killed in the Lafayette theater shooting, police Chief Jim Craft said.Breaux, of Franklin, Louisiana, was killed at the scene, and Johnson, who was from Lafayette, died a short time later at a nearby hospital, Lafayette police Chief Jim Craft said."Don't lose sight of the fact that these two individuals had a vision, had a name, had a future," said Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police. "It wasn't to die as they did horribly in this theater here."Of the nine others injured, one was in critical condition Friday morning, and two had been released, Craft said. Authorities identified the gunman as 59-year-old John Russell Houser.Mayci Breaux, 21, a college student, was also killed in the theater shooting. An online business profile identifies Johnson as the co-owner of the Red Arrow Workshop. The business is described as a gift, apparel, accessories and toy shop. Johnson owned the shop with her husband, Jason Brown, the website says.She was "obsessed with Fats Waller," and her all-time favorite movie was "Coal Miner's Daughter," according to the site."Pretty much any time you go in, she is there and doing work," a friend, Caitlin Sonnier, said of Johnson's presence at the shop. "She was very devoted to it."Johnson was also part of a band, the Figs, which was at the "forefront of a movement of a younger generation embracing Cajun/folk music traditions and making them popular and 'cool' again," another friend, Molly Rowe, said via email."She was ... a phenomenal musician, which is what most of the community knew her for," Rowe said.Kimberly Wooten said the impression Johnson made on people was lasting."She was a creative being," Wooten said. "She made life better, from what she said ... from her hand to what she made. Her and her husband are just such a presence here in Lafayette, and Lafayette has become such a better place just for not only Jillian but her entire family."The Red Arrow Workshop posted a message on its Facebook page."Our hearts are shattered," the post said. "We will love you forever. She was a once-in-a-lifetime gal. A mother, daughter, sister and a truly exceptional wife. She was an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur and a true renaissance woman. She was the love of my life and I will miss her always."And tributes to Johnson appeared on her Facebook page.E. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, offered thoughts and prayers for the families and friends of the victims. Johnson graduated from the university in 2004."The entire campus mourns the loss of lives in our Lafayette community," Savoie said in a statement.The statement said Johnson founded apparel store Parish Ink in downtown Lafayette and River Ranch as well as Red Arrow Workshop in Lafayette and New Orleans. She had been a producer at KRVS, a National Public Radio affiliate on campus."Jillian Johnson was a much-loved creative talent known throughout the community," Savoie said.Breaux attended Louisiana State University-Eunice, according to LSU President F. King Alexander.She worked at Coco Eros, a women's clothing store in Lafayette. Her employer posted on Facebook that "many of you had come to know and love Mayci" during her time working there."Nothing ever prepares you for a loss... Much less the loss of such an amazing young woman," the Coco Eros post said. "We are deeply saddened."The store was closed Friday "in memory of our beloved friend," her employer posted on Facebook.Houser killed both women and wounded the others after opening fire from the back of the theater before shooting himself, Craft said. Authorities said he was a "drifter" from Alabama who had arrived in Lafayette in early July and didn't appear to know anybody there, much less the victims.Who was the gunman?
CNN’s Greg Botelho and David Williams contributed to this report.

Source: Louisiana theater shooting: Two women killed – CNN.com

(CNN.com) – Louisiana theater shooting: Two women killed

Police chief: Theater shooter intent on escaping

By Ray Sanchez and Pete Burn, CNN<

Story highlights
Mayci Breaux, 21, was a college student who worked at a Lafayette clothing store< Jillian Johnson, 33, co-owned a toy and gift shop in the Louisiana city Nine others were injured in the movie theater shooting (CNN)One co-owned a gift and toy shop. Another was a college student who also worked at a women's clothing store.Jillian Johnson, 33, and Mayci Breaux, 21, were among those shot Thursday night by a gunman at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater at a showing of the Amy Schumer comedy, "Trainwreck."Jillian Johnson, 33, was killed in the Lafayette theater shooting, police Chief Jim Craft said.Breaux, of Franklin, Louisiana, was killed at the scene, and Johnson, who was from Lafayette, died a short time later at a nearby hospital, Lafayette police Chief Jim Craft said."Don't lose sight of the fact that these two individuals had a vision, had a name, had a future," said Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police. "It wasn't to die as they did horribly in this theater here."Of the nine others injured, one was in critical condition Friday morning, and two had been released, Craft said. Authorities identified the gunman as 59-year-old John Russell Houser.Mayci Breaux, 21, a college student, was also killed in the theater shooting. An online business profile identifies Johnson as the co-owner of the Red Arrow Workshop. The business is described as a gift, apparel, accessories and toy shop. Johnson owned the shop with her husband, Jason Brown, the website says.She was "obsessed with Fats Waller," and her all-time favorite movie was "Coal Miner's Daughter," according to the site."Pretty much any time you go in, she is there and doing work," a friend, Caitlin Sonnier, said of Johnson's presence at the shop. "She was very devoted to it."Johnson was also part of a band, the Figs, which was at the "forefront of a movement of a younger generation embracing Cajun/folk music traditions and making them popular and 'cool' again," another friend, Molly Rowe, said via email."She was ... a phenomenal musician, which is what most of the community knew her for," Rowe said.Kimberly Wooten said the impression Johnson made on people was lasting."She was a creative being," Wooten said. "She made life better, from what she said ... from her hand to what she made. Her and her husband are just such a presence here in Lafayette, and Lafayette has become such a better place just for not only Jillian but her entire family."The Red Arrow Workshop posted a message on its Facebook page."Our hearts are shattered," the post said. "We will love you forever. She was a once-in-a-lifetime gal. A mother, daughter, sister and a truly exceptional wife. She was an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur and a true renaissance woman. She was the love of my life and I will miss her always."And tributes to Johnson appeared on her Facebook page.E. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, offered thoughts and prayers for the families and friends of the victims. Johnson graduated from the university in 2004."The entire campus mourns the loss of lives in our Lafayette community," Savoie said in a statement.The statement said Johnson founded apparel store Parish Ink in downtown Lafayette and River Ranch as well as Red Arrow Workshop in Lafayette and New Orleans. She had been a producer at KRVS, a National Public Radio affiliate on campus."Jillian Johnson was a much-loved creative talent known throughout the community," Savoie said.Breaux attended Louisiana State University-Eunice, according to LSU President F. King Alexander.She worked at Coco Eros, a women's clothing store in Lafayette. Her employer posted on Facebook that "many of you had come to know and love Mayci" during her time working there."Nothing ever prepares you for a loss... Much less the loss of such an amazing young woman," the Coco Eros post said. "We are deeply saddened."The store was closed Friday "in memory of our beloved friend," her employer posted on Facebook.Houser killed both women and wounded the others after opening fire from the back of the theater before shooting himself, Craft said. Authorities said he was a "drifter" from Alabama who had arrived in Lafayette in early July and didn't appear to know anybody there, much less the victims.Who was the gunman?
CNN’s Greg Botelho and David Williams contributed to this report.

Source: Louisiana theater shooting: Two women killed – CNN.com

(Honolulu Star-Advertiser) -Hawaii Local Breaking News and Headlines – Remains found in car pulled from lake likely man missing for 43 years – Hawaii News –

SAWMILLS, N.C. » A rusty, mud-caked sedan pulled from the bottom of a lake in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains could bring closure to the family of a retired Air Force sergeant who disappeared 43 years ago.

Investigators believe human remains found in a 1968 Pontiac Catalina recovered Tuesday from Lake Rhodhiss belong to Amos Shook, who was reported missing on Feb. 19, 1972. The model matches the car that belonged to Shook, and investigators found his identification and wallet in the car.

“We found a wallet and some ID cards in it. It amazed us how preserved that stuff was,” Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones said at a news conference.

The four-door sedan showed some rust, but the windows were intact after it was pulled from the lake about 75 miles northwest of Charlotte. There were no signs of foul play.

Sheriff’s Lt. Aaron Barlowe said the remains are being sent to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy. Medical examiners will try to use dental records for a positive identification, but may need to use DNA testing that could take weeks.

“Circumstantially, everything points to it being Mr. Shook, but we can’t conclusively say that yet,” he said Thursday.

Shook’s daughter, 57-year-old Pamela Shook Kolbe, said she met with a detective from the sheriff’s office last month to gather more information about what happened to her father for a family genealogy project she was working on. She said the conversation spurred the detective’s interest, and authorities decided to revisit the lake after she gave them a newspaper story from the 1970s about failed attempts to find him by dragging the lake.

This time, a dive team used advanced sonar — something not available when Shook first disappeared — to find the car in 30 feet of water.

Kolbe said her father — who was separated from her mother at the time— had gone on a date the Saturday night he disappeared. Kolbe said she doesn’t think his car ended up in the lake by accident and she says that he would not have committed suicide.

“He would have never left us,” she said.

But Kolbe, who was only 14 at the time, said she also did not know of anyone who might have wanted to harm her father.

She and her family have felt a range of emotions since the body was found, but overall she is happy that the discovery is likely to bring them some closure.

“All we’ve got right now is bones, but hey — I’m thankful for that. We don’t have him back the way we would have preferred him to come back to us. But if this is all we’re going to get of him, this is what we’ll take,” she said.

Few records from the original investigation were left when investigators searched their files, Jones said.

“Records from that far back, there’s not a lot that was left because I know we looked for it,” he said.

Shook, who was 44 when he disappeared, had retired from the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant and lived in the town of Sawmills, which lies just north of the lake. Kolbe said that he worked in a textile mill.

The mostly rural area was home to the first modern furniture factories starting in the late 19th century, according to a county website, and empty buildings in the heart of Sawmills point to its manufacturing past.

Shook’s surviving family members live throughout Tennessee, and some are coming to meet with investigators on Friday to discuss the case.

Given the time that’s passed, authorities may not be able to say definitively what happened to Shook. But the sheriff said he hopes the discovery gives his family some peace of mind.

Tressie Andrews, a 70-year-old former neighbor of Shook’s, said her children often played with Shook’s children. Andrews said she never heard a disparaging word about Shook.

“He was a very good man from all I ever remember,” Andrews said. “The kids were just normal kids. Their son stayed here many a night, and my son stayed down there.”

Johnny Wilson, 62, farms 180 acres not far from here Shook lived. He drove a school bus in the years before Shook’s disappearance and remembers picking up his children.

The boat ramp currently at the site where the car was found wasn’t there at the time of the disappearance, he said. In 1972, the area consisted of a campground bordered by woods and a fast-food stand accessible by a semicircle road.

According to Wilson, the car was found to the left of where that old campground was located. He said the discovery of the car will help the family heal.

“I think a 14-year-old girl needs to know what happened to her daddy,” Wilson said, referring to Kolbe.

Drew reported from Raleigh, N.C.

 

Source: Hawaii Local Breaking News and Headlines – Remains found in car pulled from lake likely man missing for 43 years – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

(Miami Herald) – Turkey allows US to use key air base to strike Islamic State 

(CNNPolitics.com) – Bob Corker to John Kerry: ‘You’ve been fleeced’ by Iran – 

(abc news) –

Tom LoBianco and Stephen Collinson, CNN

At Thursday’s hearing, it was clear that Republicans and several Democrats have concerns about the Iran nuclear agreement.
The hearing was more notable for substance and detailed examination of the deal’s provisions rather than political fireworks.

Washington (CNN)A largely skeptical panel of senators grilled Secretary of State John Kerry over the Iran nuclear deal Thursday, as both sides tried out new lines of attack sure to be repeated throughout the agreement’s 60-day congressional review period.

Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there is no “unicorn” or “fantasy” alternative if the U.S. rejects the deal, which the administration maintains will keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon but which many Republicans see as providing Iran a path to a bomb.

But Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennesse Republican, said that the U.S. had been “fleeced” and that Kerry had “turned Iran from being a pariah, to now Congress being a pariah” in the course of making the agreement.

And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, repeatedly warned that the next president could overturn the deal, which isn’t a binding treaty.

In the shorter term, Congress could vote against the deal at the end of the 60-day review. President Barack Obama has promised to veto such a vote, but would need to round up a significant number of Democrats in order to sustain the veto.

At Thursday’s hearing, it was clear that several Democrats also have concerns about the deal. In one of the hearing’s more heated exchanges, New Jersery Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez seemed to give voice to widespread frustration in Congress that members hadn’t been more closely consulted during the negotiating process.

When Kerry tried to break in when Menendez, who is extremely skeptical about the deal, was listing his reservations, the senator replied testily: “I have limited time. You’ve been with the Iranians two years. I have seven minutes.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, who has yet to say whether he will support the deal, did praise it for rolling back Iran’s nuclear program but worried about what would happen when it expires in 15 years.

However, Sen. Babara Boxer, a California Democrat, defended the deal and took issue with Corker’s comments.

Still, though no senators appeared to climb down from entrenched positions against and for the deal, the hearing was more notable for substance and detailed examination of the deal’s provisions rather than political fireworks.

Kerry said that the U.S. could not simply ignore Iran or walk away from the plan, which calls for new oversight and controls on uranium enrichment in return for an end to economic sanctions.

He laughed briefly in the middle of his testimony before landing on a new Obama administration argument.

“Folks, they already have what they want. They got it 10 years ago or more,” Kerry said. “This isn’t a question in giving them what they want. I mean, it’s a question of how do you hold their program back?”

He told the senators: “Let me underscore the alternative to the deal we have reached is not — as I’ve seen some ads on TV suggesting disingenuously — it isn’t a ‘better deal,’ some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation.” He continued, “That is a fantasy, plain and simple, and our intelligence community will tell you that.”

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, however, made clear that Republicans are less than convinced and have every intention of continuing to challenge the deal, suggesting it is the deal’s supporters who are out of touch with reality.

“Anyone who believes this is a good deal joins the ranks of the most naïve people on earth,” he said.

 
Source: Bob Corker to John Kerry: ‘You’ve been fleeced’ by Iran – CNNPolitics.com

(NBC News) – Two Killed, Eight Injured in Louisiana Theater Shooting…58 year old shooter 

(ABC NEWS)

by M. ALEX JOHNSON and ERIN CALABRESE
UPDATE: A 58 year old white male stood up after 20 minutes of showing of movie, “Train Wreck” and began shooting then killed himself.
At least two people are dead including the gunman and at least six others were injured in a shooting Thursday night at the Grand movie theater on Johnston street in Lafayette, Louisiana, authorities told NBC News.

City Marshal Brian Pope told the local newspaper The Advertiser that the gunman was dead. Lafayette police told NBC News that the shooting occurred at the Grand Theatre on Johnston Street about 7:30 p.m.

Acadian Ambulance Service told NBC News that eight people were injured, with two people dead. It wasn’t immediately clear whether those who died were listed among the eight wounded or were separate.

Acadian Ambulance Service told NBC News that two people were dead at the scene. Police said they believed one of them was the gunman.

“We believe the scene is safe at this time,” Sgt. Kyle Suarez told NBC News.

Eight other people were transported to three hospitals. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said he was on his way to Lafayette and asked for prayers for the victims.

This is a developing story. Refresh this story for more.

Repeating:

Two people were killed and at least six others were injured in a shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, authorities told NBC News.

Read Source: Two Killed, Eight Injured in Louisiana Theater Shooting – NBC News

(msnbc) – news, video and progressive community. Lean Forward.

msnbc

The shows you love, issues that matter: Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes, Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Joe Scarborough.

Source: msnbc: news, video and progressive community. Lean Forward.

(CSMonitor.com) – NASA finds ‘cousin’ to Earth in age-old quest for other worlds 

NASA announced Thursday that its planet-hunting mission, Kepler, has found an exoplanet that very closely resembles our own.

  • T. Pyle/JPL-Caltech/Ames/NASA/Reuters
    View Caption
  • NASA has found Earth’s closest lookalike to date.

The space agency announced Thursday that its planet-hunting mission, Kepler, has discovered an exoplanet that is comparable to our own in age and size, orbiting a Sun-like star at a distance that makes it neither too hot nor too cold to support life.

Kepler 452b, as the planet is called, is the smallest known planet outside our solar system that is in the habitable zone of a G2-class star, like the Sun. It is about 6 billion years old, 60 percent larger than the Earth in diameter, and sits in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,400 light-years away from Earth.

Recommended: What makes a planet livable? Five things scientists look for.

Its discovery – 20 years after scientists first proved that stars other than our own host planets – marks a milestone in humankind’s 2,500-year-old quest for other worlds.

“Today the Earth is a little less lonely, because there’s a new kid on the block,” Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., said at a Thursday news conference announcing the discovery. “We believe … that this is the nearest thing that we’ve found to an Earth system analogue, a twin system to our own.”

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, called the new planet a “close cousin to the Earth.”

It wasn’t until the 1990s that scientists confirmed that suns across the universe host their own planets. But the quest to find another habitable planet dates as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose philosophers challenged their contemporaries to conceive of the universe as infinite, and populated with a multitude of inhabited worlds.

Roman poet Titus Lucretius Carus is most frequently credited with originating the idea that the universe is infinite, in his poem “On the Nature of Things“: ” ‘Tmust be confessed in other realms there are / Still other worlds, still other breeds of men, / And other generations of the wild.”

During the Renaissance, Giordano Bruno disputed the uniqueness of the sun, suggesting in 1584 that the stars were other suns like ours, with their own planets. For his efforts, he was burned at the stake for heresy.

But all this remained pure conjecture until the development of the telescope in the early 17th century. Within a century or so, astronomers began noticing that stars varied in their brightness, and that they moved with respect to one another.

In 1925, Edwin Hubble proved the existence of other galaxies – clusters of stars similar to the Milky Way. His discovery “forever alters our view of the universe,” according to NASA.

Seventy years later, Swiss astrophysicists Michel Mayor and Didier Quelozdiscovered the giant planet 51 Pegasi b, the first planet found to be orbiting a main-sequence star. The hunt for Earthlike planets has since taken on growing sophistication, through tools such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Canadian telescope MOST. Spitzer in particular has been crucial in discovering water on an exoplanet.

Kepler’s launch in 2009, and developments in data interpretation since, have pushed the quest for habitable worlds further forward. Including the discovery of 452b, Kepler has now identified a total of 4,675 exoplanets.

And while there’s still plenty we don’t know about our newly discovered “cousin,” scientists are optimistic about the future. Projects such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), scheduled to start in the next few years, suggest NASA has every intention of continuing the search for the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe?

“This is a great time we’re living in,” said Dr. Queloz, who was present at Thursday’s conference. “This is just the beginning of a very long journey.”

CSMonitorCSMonitorAstronomyEllipses that drive us dottyIs this moon of Jupiter covered in sea salt? -Google celebrates Inge Lehmann, discoverer of Earth's inner coreWhat would life look like on Saturn's largest moon?Hunt for other Earths just got a bit more sophisticated - #exoplanets #SuperEarth#Briefing: What did #Philae learn in its first 57 hours on the comet?#MarsOne: Who would sign up for one-way trip to #Mars? This guy.Why do comets smell so bad?Monster solar flare: Why is the sun acting up now? -Does #Saturn's moon Mimas have an ocean under its icy surface?Pictures of the 'Supermoon' from around the world - Huntsville, AlabamaNASA's Mars 2020 rover: tools it will use to hunt for ancient microbial life #MarsIs it possible for US astronauts to travel to the International Space Station via trampoline?Hidden sea on Saturn's moon Enceladus revealed, boosting hopes for lifeSeven science lessons from #DoctorWho - It's possible that our universe isn't the only universeThe cold, dry climate of #Antarctica is perfect for astronomy, say scientists.For $75,000, a balloon ride to the mid-stratosphereWhy over 1,000 people are competing to go to Mars – and not come backMars colony project launches plans for 2018 test missionTitan's 'Great Salt Lake'? North pole of Saturn moon looks like Utah.Rare photograph of (itty bitty) Earth as seen from SaturnAs largest star in Milky Way dies, fascinated scientists look onNASA's Juno probe unexpectedly shuts down briefly en route to JupiterPlanet poseurs could confuse the search for extraterrestrial lifeDon't panic: Earth has at least 1.75 billion years to go, scientists sayDid life on Earth come from a #comet? #astronomyDeath spiral: why the universe is producing fewer starsAre you a space whiz? Take our quiz! #AstronomySpitzer telescope revolutionized how we see the universeMenu on Mars could include sushi, borschtHow a pink planet is shaking up planet-formation theoryPortrait of Earth from #Saturn a reminder of just how amazing we areComet ISON: Will the 'Comet of the Century' live up to the hype?King Midas in space? Rare star collision produces gold.US scientists seek to prevent another meteor explosionMystery radio bursts coming from space – but probably not from E.T.Thanks to clouds, some 60 billion planets are habitable in #MilkyWayFour habitable #planets orbiting three tiny suns? New first in planet-hunting.Chinese #astronaut teaches 60 million kids from space - #education #scienceBizarre #supernova completely normal in every way, find astronomersLittle Green Men? New type of star breaks all the pulsar rulesPlanets are basically gigantic cosmic dust bunnies, new study saysCuriosity rover says goodbye to 'Mars Rat'Alien planet photo: Super-hot planet spotted only 300 light-years awaySending humans to Mars holds radiation risk, study shows - Full story: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0530/Sending-humans-to-Mars-holds-radiation-risk-study-showsWhy doesn't Venus have oceans? Study offers intriguing new theory.Soyuz takes shortcut to International Space StationA vacation to the moon: Worth the splurge?'Space Oddity'? First rock video sung and shot in space wows David Bowie.Colossal hydrogen bridge between galaxies could be fuel line for new stars - #Astronomy
Scientists have discovered a ‘mega-earth’
NewsFix

Read Source: NASA finds ‘cousin’ to Earth in age-old quest for other worlds – CSMonitor.com