Fireball hurtling past Earth caught on camera (VIDEO)

Fireball hurtling past Earth caught on camera (VIDEO)
Astronauts at the International Space Station captured a rare moment when a fireball whizzed to Earth.

The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it footage was shared by astronaut Paolo Nespoli. It was captured on November 5 as part of a series of night-time photographs taken as the Space Station was flying over the southern Atlantic Ocean towards Kazakhstan. The images were put together in a time-lapse video with a 1-second interval.

A fireball is “basically a very bright meteoroid – a small bit of natural ‘space rock’ – entering Earth’s atmosphere and burning brighter than the background stars,” Rudiger Jehn of the European Space Station’s Space Situational Awareness Programme said.

We see many meteors from the @Space_Station but I was never able to get one on camera… this time I got lucky and filmed a , a very bright and fast meteoroid falling to  at about 40km/s! Can you spot it? 

The meteoroid can be seen between the 0:07 and 0:08 second mark, in the upper right section of the frame.

And here a closer look! Make a wish… I already did 😉 // E qui visto da più vicino! Esprimete un desiderio… Io l’ho già fatto 😉

“Indeed it looks like a bright meteor, or fireball,” Detlef Koschny, of the ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Programme explained.“When I stretch the scale then I can see that the object was below the airglow – assuming it was close to the Earth limb – see the brightness-adjusted screenshot below.”

Koschny said that the fireball can be seen “illuminating the clouds from above,” which means it was close to Earth.

“This particular meteoroid was moving much faster than typical, with an estimated speed of around 40 km/s.” Jehn said.

The video also captures a number of lightning storms, which are a lot easier to spot than the fireball.

Courtesy: RT

Coverage of sexual harassment claims carelessly blurs lines between minor misconduct and real abuse

Danielle Ryan
Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook or at her website
Coverage of sexual harassment claims carelessly blurs lines between minor misconduct and real abuse
It is undeniably a great thing that abusers like Harvey Weinstein are finally receiving their comeuppance, however overdue it may be. But in the aftermath of Weinstein’s downfall, we’re at risk of broadening the definition of sexual harassment too widely.

There is a vast difference between genuine sexual harassment, abuse or rape — and minor misconduct, flirting or otherwise inappropriate behavior in the workplace (or anywhere else). Yet, in recent weeks, the two have been dangerously conflated.

Since the deluge of Weinstein revelations, we’ve seen other ‘scandals’ emerge whereby some man or other may or may not have flirted inappropriately without reciprocation years ago. The fact that these kinds of minor accusations are making headlines and being portrayed as sexual misconduct or outright harassment is disturbing, to say the least. Not to mention, the irresponsible conflation of the two is an injustice and an insult to women — and men — who have experienced real harassment or rape at the hands of a genuine abuser.

Trial by social media

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen so many people in my social media feeds posting #MeToo statuses that what started as an important reminder that sexual abuse is indeed far too prevalent, has lost all meaning. When you see someone posting a #MeToo status today, are you to assume they were raped or that someone sent them an inappropriate text once?

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned last week over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. What started out as one accusation that Fallon inappropriately touched the knee of a journalist many years ago was revealed to be a genuine pattern of inappropriate behavior (attempting to kiss one journalist and making lewd remarks to another). Fallon’s resignation is appropriate in that context — but what is fascinating is that so many people were willing to condemn him when the only piece of information we had was that he had touched a woman’s knee.

That Fallon has indeed turned out to be a bit of a pervert is beside the point. He has admitted his behavior was wrong and resigned — but others have denied allegations being made against them. Nonetheless, we’re supposed to condemn them anyway. Have we just decided to do away with the presumption of innocence, or at the very least the idea that these matters should be dealt with through lawyers and courts, not on Facebook and Twitter? Are we supposed to completely ignore the possibility that just maybe, an accusation could be false?

This kind of trial by social media is dangerous. A simple tweet can brand a person as a rapist who deserves to lose their job and have their lives utterly destroyed in an instant — on nothing more than the say-so of another person.

Sterile culture

A couple of weeks ago, Adam Sandler found himself in the firing line when he touched actress Claire Foy’s knee twice during The Graham Norton Show. Some viewers were so outraged by the contact Sandler had made with Foy’s knee that she was forced to release a statement saying she was not angry or offended by Sandler’s gesture. If this kind of behavior is classed as sexual harassment or as outrageously inappropriate as some viewers suggested, we appear to be on our way toward living in a completely sterile, robotic and puritanical world where nobody can say or do anything for fear of pious backlash from the political correctness police.

There is also an insulting, sexist and patronizing element to all of this which makes women out to be weak-minded, overly sensitive creatures who can’t even handle a sexual joke being told in their presence. Or who are so vulnerable that they simply can’t be left alone to fend for themselves. One POLITICO journalist recently suggested that a good way to limit sexual harassment would be to make closed-door meetings in the workplace a fireable offense.

Small, practical step to limit sex harassment: Make holding closed-door meetings with ANYONE a fire-able offense. 

‘I don’t want to sit on your lap,’ she thought. But, she alleges, Mark Halperin insisted.

A star TV journalist falls from his perch amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.

It is frankly insane to think this is how to prevent sexual harassment. It is almost like saying that women are too vulnerable and weak to stand up for themselves behind a closed door — and men are too disgusting and perverted to resist harassing them when they are in a private setting. I for one would hate to work in an environment where you could get fired for closing a door, just in case someone might have harassed you.

Singer-songwriter Marian Call tweeted that all women want to live in a world where strangers and coworkers “never flirted” with them again. Well, how exactly does she know what all women want? Many a happy relationship has begun as the result of workplace flirtation or a chance meeting with a stranger. One has to wonder how Call feels about women who initiate flirtatious behavior themselves— because as shocking as it may be for some, this happens on a regular basis.

This obsession with defining every sultry glance or flirty comment as sexual harassment has got so out of hand that there are now even sexual consent apps available online to download. Yes, you are now supposed to stop in your tracks and click an “I consent” button on your phone before having sex. How romantic.

Can’t get it right

I recently witnessed an interesting discussion in an online forum. A man had asked if it was appropriate to apologize to a woman in the case of minor inappropriate behavior (making unwanted advances, flirting inappropriately, making sexist jokes, etc.) — or whether it was best to say nothing, move on and do better next time. He was attacked from every angle by women who acted like he was suggesting that men send an “oops, sorry” apology text for rape. Almost every single woman told him that an apology would be useless and inappropriate and he received a barrage of comments about how he just didn’t understand and was essentially an idiot for even posing the question.

Yet, the question was well-intentioned and coming from a man who seemingly wanted to examine his own behavior in light of recent events, and who simply wondered if an apology for very minor inappropriateness would be an excellent first step. Is that not what this is all about? Is it not a good thing that many men are thinking about this more seriously for the first time? I thought that’s what everyone wanted — but apparently not.

There is of course an expectation that both men and women will behave appropriately in the workplace. It is totally unacceptable to abuse or harass anyone or to make overt and inappropriate advances where there has been no indication they would be well-received. There is also no doubt that if someone has been made aware that his or her behavior has made someone uncomfortable in any way, the behavior should be stopped. It is also absolutely a good thing that the Weinstein scandal has made women feel more comfortable talking about cases of real, genuine abuse and harassment.

But, at the same time, we need to take a step back and think about what kind of world we want to live in. Do we want it to be one where a harmless flirtation or a sexual joke — or a social media allegation of a single inappropriate touch — can destroy your whole life and elicit comparisons with serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein?

There is no clear rulebook here, but we have to do better at distinguishing between true abuse and minor inappropriateness. To conflate the two does no one any good.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy: RT

2,000-year-old Sundial Changes Perception of Ancient Rome

One Marcus Novius Tubula apparently ordered the sundial to mark his noble appointment as tribune of Rome itself, say archaeologists after finding it in ancient town of Interamna Lirenas
By Ruth Schuster Nov 08, 2017

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One day around 2,000 years ago, a Roman named Marcus Novius Tubula ordered an elaborate sundial, University of Cambridge researchers report after finding it intact two millennia later during excavation in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino, in Italy.

Carved in limestone and 54 centimeters in width, the sundial’s concave face was engraved with 11 hour lines intersecting three day curves. Thus the device could give indicate the season: the winter solstice, equinox and summer solstice, the archaeologists say. Its gnomon (pointer) was mostly gone, but a bit of it survived under lead fixing.
The sundial is one of less than 100 of its type that have survived, say archaeologists.

Its even rarer inscription, in Latin, tells us about the man who commissioned it, say researchers from the University of Cambridge.

The Tubula sundial, in situ Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University

Conveniently for history buffs, the official had his name and status engraved on the sundial’s base.  Marcus Novius Tubula noted that he was the son (filius) of another Marcus. His office, the sundial states, was Plebeian Tribune (Tribunus plebis). It even states that he paid for it with his own money.

>Are 4-million-year-old stone-knife marks on bones a croc?
Given that Tubula went to the trouble to inscribe the sundial with his avowal that he had paid for it, it implies a gift for the benefit of others, Cambridge University archaeologist Alessandro Launaro told Haaretz: Tubula was stating that he hadn’t had it made using public resources to which he had access by virtue of his office.
“Civic munificence was expected of prominent members of any Roman community and the notation ‘de sua pecunia’ (which is very common) was meant to signify precisely that,” Launaro adds.
>Archaeologists startled to find remains of pregnant woman buried in King Solomon’s Mines

The Latin inscription on Tubula’s sundial Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University
Cui bono
Students from the Cambridge Faculty of Classics found the timepiece lying on its face while digging at an entrance to a theater. The sundial wouldn’t likely have been situated in the theater itself, because that was roofed, Launaro points out, so it wouldn’t have worked. Nor would it have been affixed to one of the theater walls because this kind of sundial requires a specific orientation, with the gnomon pointing south. The theater had no appropriate walls.
“The sundial would have featured on top of a pillar or column in an open space, like the forum , meaning the main public square, which lay about 50 meters away from where the sundial was found.”

Original surface of the Via Latina, the Roman road that passed by Interamna Lirenas

Or perhaps he had his own benefit in mind: “People looking at it to check the time would have been reminded of Tubula’s political success,” Launaro adds.
Upgrade from ‘Latin colony’
Though Interamna Lirenas was in the area now known as “Italy,” it had been set up by Rome as a “Latin” colony in 312 B.C.E., Launaro explains: “As such, its inhabitants were not considered Roman citizens, but citizens of a formally independent community, bound to Rome by a treaty of close political and military alliance. Following the so-called Social War (‘war with the allies’, from 91 to 88 B.C.E., Interamna was granted the status of a Roman municipium and its inhabitants became Roman citizens.”
While still having a large degree of administrative autonomy, its inhabitants would have then been entitled to vote in Rome’s assemblies and even run for public office, he explains.
Various considerations, including the lettering style, place the sundial’s inscription after the good people of Interamna had already been granted full Roman citizenship. And thus our Marcus Novius Tubula of Interamna Lirenas could have proudly have been elected to the position of a Plebeian Tribune of the great Rome, as opposed to a plebeian tribune of their local community.

Scan reveals fine detail of Tubula sundial Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University
Latin pre-Romanized colonies had their own officials, who were parallels to the Roman ones, Launaro explains: had the lettering style and name of the individual on the inscription suggested a date before the Social War, Tubula would have been a Plebeian Tribune of Interamna Lirenas.
He adds, “The sundial would have represented his way of celebrating his election in his own hometown.”
Marcus Novius Tubula was here
Other inscribed sundials from the era of ancient Rome also similarly reported information about the people who commissioned the object, Launaro says. “They made for an ideal benefaction as people would have looked at the sundial – and relative inscriptions – repeatedly during the day.”
Remarkably, there had been another artifact found at Interamna and engraved with the very same name – M(arcus) NOVIUS M(arci) F(ilius) TUB(ula) Q(uaestor), Launaro told Haaretz.
“It was a semi-circular stone basin, possibly part of a fountain,” he says – but the piece was last seen in the late 19th century has since, unfortunately, been lost. So it cannot be dated).
“If this individual was the same as the one mentioned in the sundial (which seems likely), the fountain would have been another gift by Tubula to the citizens of Interamna, probably in order to advertise and celebrate his election to the office of Questor in Rome (another step in his successful political career in the center),” Launaro speculates.
Ultimately, the discoveries about Tubula have led the archaeological community to change its views of Interamna Lirenas. “Given the lack of visible archaeological remains, it was traditionally interpreted to be a backwater, sleepy, somewhat declining community, very much placed at the margins of what was going on in Rome and Italy However, we had no idea that anyone hailing from Interamna had ever held an important office in Rome (Plebeian Tribuneship).”
The discoveries also drove home the thought that people from the periphery could rise high in Rome, and provides a meaningful counterpoint to the level of involvement that very prominent figures from Rome itself displayed at the local level, Launaro says: “For example, as recent research by the Cambridge team has further confirmed, in 46 B.C.E. Julius Caesar himself had become patronus (i.e. protector and political ally) of Interamna Lirenas, and Interamna is not by any means the only case.”
What makes Interamna very interesting is that there is no reason to believe that this town was in any way special, Launaro sums up: “That is exactly what makes it a potentially informative case-study about conditions in the majority of cities in ancient Rome 2,000 years ago.”
The 2017 excavation, directed by Dr Launaro of the Gonville and Caius College and Prof. Martin Millett of Fitzwilliam College, in partnership with Dr Giovanna Rita Bellini of the Italian Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone, Latina e Rieti, is part of a long-standing collaboration with the British School at Rome and the Comune of Pignataro Interamna and has been funded by the Isaac Newton Trust and Antonio Silvestro Evangelista.

read more:

Courtesy: Haaretz

Humans will turn Earth into ‘sizzling ball of fire’ by 2600, Stephen Hawking warns

Humans will turn Earth into ‘sizzling ball of fire’ by 2600, Stephen Hawking warns
World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has offered another apocalyptic prediction for Earth – this time warning that the planet will become a “sizzling ball of fire” in less than 600 years.

Hawking made the grim forecast via videolink to the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing, declaring humans will have to “boldly go where no one has gone before,” if they want humankind to survive for another million years.

The planet will be overcrowded by 2600 and increased power consumption will turn Earth into a sizzling fireball, according to the Cambridge mastermind.

‘Humanity at point of no return, in danger of self-destructing’ – Stephen Hawking 

Hawking offered some hope, however, via his Breakthrough Starshot project. The $100m research program backed by Russian Internet billionaire Yuri Milner and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg aims to reach the closest star outside of our solar system, in the hope that a livable planet might be orbiting it.

The intention is to send tiny spaceships propelled by beams of light to Alpha Centauri – one of the closest star systems to ours, 4.3 light-years away. “Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years,” Hawking said.

“Maybe if all goes well, sometime a little after the middle of the century, we’ll have our first picture of another planet that may be life-bearing orbiting the nearest star,” said Pete Worden, Breakthrough Starshot’s director and former head at NASA’s Ames Research Center who also spoke at the China summit.

  • Hawking also reiterated his AI fears this week. He told the Web Summit in Lisbon Monday that it may be the “worst event in the history of our civilisation,” and could conceivable destroy mankind.

Courtesy: RT

Paradise Papers: Apple shifted billions offshore to avoid tax

New relevations about Apple’s tax avoidance strategy are making headlines as the Paradise Papers scandal unfolds further. EU finance ministers are due to discuss the issue during talks in Brussels on Tuesday.

Apple iPhone X

Apple has denied accusations in the Paradise Papers investigation that it moved its operations from Ireland to an offshore center to avoid tax.

Documents cited by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday suggested that offshore law firm Appleby, which is based in multiple tax havens, helped the iPhone maker move billions of dollars in revenues collected in Ireland to the Channel Islands to head off increased European Union scrutiny of its tax affairs in Dublin.

Watch video02:35

‘Paradise Papers’ leak – Q&A with Robin Hodess, Transparency International

The revelations, which were also published by the BBC and New York Times, suggested that Apple had transferred funds to the island of Jersey, near the coast of Normandy, which is largely exempt from European Union tax regulations and where no corporate income tax is levied.

The Paradise Papers are the result of a year-long investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which studied some 13.4 million leaked documents revealing the scale of offshore tax avoidance schemes employed by large multinationals and the rich and famous.

Read more:U2 frontman Bono named in Paradise Papers tax evasion leak

The iPhone maker insisted the new report contained several “inaccuracies” and said it made changes to its corporate structure in 2015, which were designed to preserve tax payments to the US, not to reduce taxes elsewhere.

Apple said in a statement that it pays taxes at the statutory US rate of 35 percent on investment income from its overseas cash. It added that it follows the law in each country where it operates. The EU and US were informed of the reorganization at the time, it added.

Irland Apple Campus in Cork (Getty Images/AFP/P. Faith)Apple’s European headquarters are in an unlikely location, on a hill overlooking the Irish city of Cork

The Cupertino, California-based company said it was the largest taxpayer in the world, paying $35 billion (€30 billion) in corporate income tax over the last three years, including $1.5 billion in Ireland.

Both the US and EU have been scrutinizing Apple for its use of tax avoidance schemes using offshore finance centers. In 2013, a US Senate subcommittee found the tech giant had eluded tens of billions of dollars and that some $128 billion in profits had not been taxed by US authorities.

The company is also facing an EU demand for about $14.5 billion in taxes based on a ruling that its tax structure in Ireland amounted to illegal state aid.

Watch video01:47

Transparency advocates see opportunity as outrage over leaks grows

This week’s revelations could see Brussels step up efforts to force EU member states to close tax loopholes. France has recommended taxing multinationals on revenues generated in EU countries rather than profits, as they are more difficult to hide.

Read more: Offshore: The legal and the not so legal

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Monday singled out Apple, Google and Facebook for censure in response to the Paradise Papers revelations.

She said “greed” and “power” were a very “poisonous cocktail” used by big multinationals to drive out competition.

Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Vestager also highlighted the difference in policy between the EU and US over free markets.

“We want free markets, but we understand the paradox of free markets, which is that sometimes we have to intervene. We have to believe that it’s not the law of the jungle, but the law of democracy that works.”

mm/aos (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Courtesy: DW

Situation on Russia’s western borders shows ‘tendency to escalate’ amid NATO buildup – Moscow

Situation on Russia’s western borders shows ‘tendency to escalate’ amid NATO buildup – Moscow
Moscow must undertake measures to neutralize emerging threats on its western borders as NATO forces steadily intensify training and boost their presence in the region, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

“The military and political situation at our western borders remains tense and shows a tendency to escalation,”Shoigu said Friday at a session of Russia’s Defense Ministry Board.

The defense minister pointed out that NATO has been steadily gathering additional forces on Russia’s borders, namely beefing up anti-missile defenses and forming new multi-national brigades in Poland and the Baltic countries. NATO troops are not only getting closer to Russia, but constantly participate in various exercises.

“The intensity and scale of the operational and combat training of the bloc member-countries’ military forces near our borders are growing. Only in the past three months there have been over 30 drills in East European and Baltic states,” Shoigu stated, reiterating the notion that it is NATO which is ratcheting up tensions in Eastern Europe.

The hostile actions of the bloc’s countries force Moscow to strengthen its western border defenses, namely through improving the “combat strength of the Western Military District troops” as well as modernizing the system of bases, Shoigu said.

“We’re implementing a set of measures to neutralize the emerging challenges and threats,” he added. The Western Military District will receive more than 1,800 pieces of various new and modernized hardware by the end of this year, according to Shoigu. Delivery of the new hardware goes hand in hand with building the infrastructure to service and store it, the minister added.

Particular attention is being paid to soldiers and commanding officers honing their skills in practice, Shoigu pointed out, adding that the strategic joint Russia-Belarus ‘Zapad-2017’ drills played a major role in improving such training.

The war games, which took place in September, caused widespread hysteria in the Western media, fueled by a number of officials who leveled accusations ranging from the exercise being a smokescreen for a Russian “invasion” into neighboring countries, to it being a trick to leave behind and hide troops in Belarus.

As the military exercise concluded, the fears of an “invasion”appeared to pass. NATO has also failed to find any Russian troops left behind in Belarus, according to the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg. The official, however, accused Russia of exceeding the announced numbers of troops during the exercise, without providing any proof or figures to back up the claim.

Despite Moscow and Minsk stressing its defensive nature and transparency, Zapad-2017 was nevertheless held up by a number of Western countries as proof of a “Russian threat.” The drills were “countered” by NATO’s parallel exercises in Sweden, which hosted roughly twice the number of troops that took part in the Russian drills, and became the biggest military event in the country in 23 years.

The ex-chief of Russian Airborne Troops and current head of the country’s parliamentary committee for defense, Vladimir Shamanov, cautioned Western partners against “saber-rattling.”

“That would bring nothing positive,” he said, noting that the NATO buildup is simply increasing the risks of an armed conflict and “inflating of tensions” at Russia’s western borders. The official stressed, though, that despite the “bad”tendency a potential military conflict with NATO is still “unlikely.”

Courtesy: RT



Russian President Vladimir Putin personally took part in a late-night military drill of his nuclear-capable forces that launched four missiles across Russia, activating air and naval forces, the Kremlin announced.

The drill launched two ballistic missiles from east to west, landing in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk region and another two missiles were launched from the west of the country, landing in eastern Kamchatka, which is separated from Alaskan territory by the Bering Sea.

Tensions between Moscow and its western neighbors have been at a post-Cold War high since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its neighbor in the far-east, North Korea, is itself currently engaged in a tense nuclear posturing showdown with the U.S. Missiles flew near border regions both eastwards and westwards.

As part of Russia’s drill that took place on Thursday night, Russian forces launched the intercontinental ballistic missile Topol, tested as recently as last month, when troops fired one toward a range in Kazakhstan. Variations of the missile have a range of up to 10,500 kilometers, according to Global Security.

“The commander in chief carried out the launch of the four ballistic rockets,” Putin’s spokesman said, following the drill on Thursday, state news agency Itar-Tassreported. The administration usually does not take part in most military tests, leaving the announcements of it to the Ministry of Defense.

Read More: Russia boasts of how much Syrian land it has liberated. It is three times bigger than Syria.

The drill took place after sundown and included two nuclear submarines, which launched three of the four missiles, while the Topol was launched from a silo on the ground in Plesetsk, around the northwest.

In separate maneuvers that were part of the drill, warplanes Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 practiced hitting ground targets, state news agency RIA Novosti reported. The practice air raids took place in Russia’s western Saratov and Kaluga regions, as well as in its far-eastern Amur region.

The Ministry of Defense’s statement at the end of the drill announced that all had gone according to plan and “all training targets were successfully hit.” The ministry’s YouTube channel released video snippets of the nighttime drill, showing the missile launches and the jets taking off.

Zapad17-01Russia’s military is divided into four districts in the east, south, center and west, as well as a command for its Northern Fleet in the northwest. The split into four commands was introduced in 2010, with an update in 2014 to include a naval command in Severomorsk for Arctic naval activity.DANIELE PALUMBO/NEWSWEEK MEDIA GROUP

The Russian press is still anticipating a test of Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile upgrade, known as the Sarmat. Popular daily newspaper Kommersantreported earlier this week that a well-informed source close to the defense ministry said the much-delayed test launch of the Sarmat will take place before the end of the year.

The expected launch, which Russia’s military has neither confirmed nor denied, will reportedly take place on the same cosmodrome where Putin launched the Topol missile from on Thursday—Plesetsk.

Courtesy: Newsweek

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