Air Force drops non-nuclear “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan.

Donald Trump becomes the first US president to use the MOAB in combat. (Image courtesy of YouTube)

The US military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on a cave and tunnel complex in Afghanistan, serving as a stark reminder of a US war now in its sixteenth grinding year. The bomb, officially called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, is thirty feet long, weighs nearly eleven tons and produces a devastating above-ground explosion that sends a cloud roiling high in the sky. Like the US retaliatory missile strike in Syria last Friday, the use of the monster munition in Afghanistan is more symbolic than tactical since it is unlikely to change the course of America’s longest war. With a kill-cost ratio of sixteen thousand dollars per casualty, the MOAB is the most expensive offensive weapon deployed in the history of US attacks in the Middle-East. However despite the costs, President Trump described the attack as “very, very successful.”

Source and more information can be found here.

Man dragged off United Airlines flight to make space for staff.

Doctor dragged off United Airlines flight after it was overbooked. (Image courtesy of Independent UK)

A leaked email to airline employees has revealed that a passenger who was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight was removed for staff to take his seat. The man—who said he was a doctor and needed to get home to treat patients the next day—was filmed with blood flowing down his chin after his encounter with a security officer. In a letter to employees, the United Airlines’ parent company chief executive, Oscar Munoz, revealed the company had been trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline, which resulted in four passengers being told to get off the flight. When no one agreed to leave the flight, they selected four passengers at random. Three got off, but the fourth refused, resulting in violent outrage by staff members.

Source and more information can be found here.

Saturn moon “able to support life.”

Jets of water spew from the south pole of Enceladus. (Image courtesy of BBC)

New observations made by the Cassini probe have shown that Enceladus, Saturn’s ice-crusted moon, may support life. Cassini’s chemistry analysis strongly suggests the Enceladean seafloor has hot fluid vents: places on Earth that are known to teem with life. Yet, the existence of such hydrothermal systems is not a guarantee that organisms are present on the little moon as its environment may still be sterile. The new results make a compelling case to return with more sophisticated instrumentation technologies that can re-sample the ejected water for clear evidence that biology is also at play. The Cassini mission is coming to a close. Having spent twelve years circling Saturn, it is running low on fuel and will be dumped in the atmosphere of the ringed planet in September to ensure it cannot collide with Enceladus at some future date and contaminate it.

Source and more information can be found here.

Malala Yousafzai becomes honorary Canadian.

Malala Yousafzai addresses the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Image courtesy of Adrian Wyld)

Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who survived a Taliban bullet in 2012, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, delivered a speech filled with hope, perseverance, and inspiration on 12 April 2017 as an honorary Canadian citizen. Malala used her speech as an opportunity to ask Canada to take a global lead in ensuring more girls can go to school. The nineteen-year-old specifically asked that girls’ education be a centerpiece at the next G7 summit. Her speech was met with thunderous applause and praise by those in attendance. Malala is now the sixth honorary Canadian citizen following the Dalai Lama, the Aga Khan, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Raoul Wallenberg.

Source and more information can be found here.

Newspaper fears retribution for reports on Chechnya anti-gay violence.

Novaya Gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muratov. (Image courtesy of AFP)

The Russian daily Novaya Gazeta says that it is alarmed by a Chechen Muslim call for “retribution” after the paper reported on violence against gay men in Chechnya. Chechen Muslims said the report insulted their faith and the dignity of Chechen men. On 1 April 2017, Novaya Gazeta reported that more than one hundred people had been detained in Chechnya for suspected homosexuality, and at least three had been killed. Ramzan Kadyroc, the authoritarian leader, denied allegations and called them “lies,” while his spokesman Alvi Karimov said that “there are no gay people in Chechnya.” If Russia fails to prosecute anyone, the LGBT Network says it will file a case at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Source and more information can be found here.