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Italian Space Agency Sending First Espresso Machine to Space

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Astronauts on the International Space Station will soon be waking up to the refreshing aroma and taste of authentic Italian coffee.

ISSpresso, an espresso machine designed by engineering company Argotec and coffee roaster Lavazza in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, is one of the many items headed to space in April 2015.

“We have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time…In fact, today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso — the indisputable symbol of made in Italy products,” said the Giuseppe Lavazza, vice-president of Lavazza in a press release.

The device is the first capsule-based coffee machine to be sent to space and the first designed to handle its microgravity conditions in which the physics behind the dynamics and movement of liquids differ from that on Earth. Microgravity refers to “zero gravity” or weightless.

“The fluid dynamic in a microgravity environment is different from the one observed on Earth,” Antonio Pilello, a spokesperson for Argotec told ABC News in an email. “Since you are weightless in orbit, there is no up, down, left nor right. For this reason we designed our system to be capable of making coffees without being affected by gravity.”

The machine is comprised of a steel tube to transport water while being able to tolerate over 400 bars of pressure. The machine, weighing 20 kilograms, also has extra important components to maintain safety protocols issued in accordance with specific regulations set by the Italian Space Agency.

ISSpresso will also offer other options, including caffe lungo, tea, infusions and broth, allowing food to be re-hydrated. Astronauts will be able to drink these substances using small pouches with valves that are inserted into and draw coffee from the machine.

Pilello told ABC News that only instant coffee is available for astronauts right now.

Work on the machine has been percolating for a year to develop and a few months to test until it was approved for space. It was originally scheduled to leave for the ISS on Nov. 23 with Samantha Cristoforetti, the first woman from Italy to travel to space. The launch date for the device was postponed for unknown reasons.

A public relations spokesperson for Lavazza confirmed to ABC News the change in date but could not comment at this time. The Italian Space Agency did not return emails for comment.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Song of The Day

Iran Nuclear Negotiations Near Deadline; Parties Remain Deadlocked

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

State Department photo/ Public Domain(VIENNA) — With three days left until this round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program concludes, the outcome appeared so uncertain Friday that Secretary of State John Kerry reversed his travel plans, first announcing that he would be leaving Vienna, where negotiators have huddled, for Paris, and a few hours later saying he’d actually be staying in the Austrian capital.

It’s clear what the United States and its allies want from Iran: a significant and irreversible rollback of its nuclear program, plus ironclad monitoring of any remaining civilian nuclear activity, in exchange for sanctions relief. But the parties, while remaining tight-lipped in public, have not yet agreed on how to implement such a deal.

There are really only three possible scenarios that could arise come Monday: the talks conclude with a deal, no deal or an agreement to extend the talks with some outline for how to proceed.

DEAL

Most observers and some participants have said a comprehensive deal by the start of next week is probably not going to happen.

“Right now, I think it’s going to be difficult to get to where we want to go. It’s not impossible,” Tony Blinken, the nominee to be the next deputy secretary of state, added during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Iran and the Western negotiators, made up of the United States plus five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, remain far apart on many of the core issues under discussion, including the number and kind of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to keep, under a final deal, in order to enrich uranium for a peaceful nuclear program; the length of such a deal; and the way in which economic sanctions on Iran get phased out.

But on the off chance the sides do reach a deal by Monday, members of Congress are already signaling they will seek to impose additional sanctions on Iran if it continues any nuclear activity, even for what it contends is a peaceful civilian program.

NO DEAL

Many skeptics of an Iran nuclear deal say they don’t want diplomacy to fail, but they also don’t believe the Iranian regime is sincere in its desire for a strictly peaceful nuclear program. It has become a common refrain in Washington and Israel that no nuclear deal is better than a bad one; it just depends on one’s definition of a “bad” deal. Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a video message earlier this month against “rush[ing] into a deal that would let Iran rush to the bomb.”

In this way, the potential failure of these talks might give relief to those doubters, like Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He testified in Congress Thursday, saying negotiation is the right way to go, but “the dispute that is taking place now is between those who are skeptical of Iran and those who may be skeptical but they fundamentally believe…that we have a chance to fundamentally change the Iranian regime’s approach to its nuclear weapons program.”

Those participating in the negotiations have warned that failure to reach a deal could lead to dire consequences. “There’s no question that, if everything goes away, escalation will be the name of the game on all sides, and none of that is good,” Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the top U.S. negotiator, said in a speech Oct. 23.

But others contend that no one really knows what would happen if these talks fail. Asked that question in the same hearing as Dubowitz, Gen. Michael Hadyen, who served as the director of the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration, responded, “That’s why we left this, an ugly baby, for the next administration. We didn’t have any good answers.”

INTERIM DEAL

Secretary of State John Kerry may have tipped his hand to what the parties believe will happen when he said during remarks in Paris Thursday, “we’re driving towards what we believe is the outline of an agreement that we think we can have” — a far cry from a comprehensive deal.

More likely is another interim agreement that extends the talks with the stipulation that Iran continue to freeze progress on aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. That’s what happened back in July, when the negotiations were originally supposed to end, and the parties decided to extend until No. 24, which is three days away.

But even in the past month, the political situation in the United States has only gotten more hostile to a deal with Iran. Forty-three Republican senators, plus 11 incoming GOP senators-elect, have already pledged they will attempt to impose additional sanctions on Iran if it’s allowed to continue any nuclear development in a final agreement.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Powerful Al Qaeda Group Slams Door on ISIS’s Leader

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Al Qaeda’s most potent affiliate, the Yemeni branch of the terror group, Friday strongly rejected the Islamic “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq declared by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an announcement that terrorism experts said is good news for the West.

Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari, a top Shariah (Muslim law) official from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), slammed the door on al-Baghdadi, saying they were “surprised” in June when the former al Qaeda-Iraq leader declared a “caliphate” stretching from northern Syria across large portions of Iraq and anointed himself “caliph.”

“We do not see the authenticity of the establishment of such a Caliphate, nor what follows it of consequences,” al-Nadhari said in a 28-minute video released by Yemen’s AQAP Friday.

He referred to al-Baghdadi and his fighters in ISIS as “brothers” but said declaring a caliphate improperly has led to rifts beyond the bloody falling out of ISIS in Syria with core al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s replacement, and al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. Al-Nadhari cited infighting among other jihadi groups in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and strongly affirmed AQAP’s loyalty remains to Zawahiri and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, despite some groups pledging oaths of “bayat” to al-Baghdadi.

“I think it’s pretty significant. It underscores the depth of the rift between ISIS and al Qaeda and that they’re not going to align anytime soon,” said Matthew Olsen, an ABC News contributor who served for three years as director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center.

He said the fracture among the two most lethal Islamist terror organizations is better than them joining forces against the West.

“Al Qaeda and the Islamic State [ISIS] are still potent in their own right. But they really are at odds with each other,” Olsen said.

The AQAP message likely was approved by Nasir al-Wuhayshi, its top leader and Zawahiri’s potential heir to core al Qaeda. It came as a response to al-Baghdadi’s latest audio speech on Nov. 13, in which he boasted of the pledges of loyalty from a slew of jihadi groups.

“It’s further proof that al Qaeda and the Islamic State don’t work together,” said Rita Katz, director of the private research firm SITE Intelligence Group, who provided a translation of the al-Nadhari speech. She said jihadis reacted angrily to the AQAP message.

“It is important that it came from one of AQAP’s top Shariah officials, al-Nadhari, as the argument about the legitimacy of the Caliphate is a religious one. It is more appropriate that such rejection comes from al-Nadhari, a recognized Shariah scholar, and not from Wuhayshi,” Katz told ABC News.

“Aside from keeping Wuhayshi above the fray, having their top Shariah official make the statement is also likely a way to highlight the fact that most serious jihadi scholars have come down firmly against ISIS,” added terrorism expert J.M. Berger, co-author of a forthcoming book on ISIS’s rise.

The announcement comes after months of anticipation after ISIS swept across Iraq in a blitz that caught the Obama administration off guard.

For months, AQAP’s messages on Iraq and Syria have avoided taking sides, as many Yemeni fighters joined the estimated 16,000 foreign jihadis who have fallen in with ISIS in the region between Iraq and Syria they call “al Sham.” Instead, the Yemeni terror group — which has attempted at least four air attacks on the U.S. homeland since 2009 using undetectable bombs smuggled aboard passenger and cargo jets — had repeatedly called on mujahideen fighters there to end their bloody infighting and focus on America and its “apostate” allies.

“We hold our brothers in the Islamic State responsible for all the consequences of these interpretations and dangerous steps [and] weakening the strength of the mujahideen, which is an inevitable result of fighting,” AQAP’s al-Nadhari said in the message on Friday.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nugget of Knowldege

US Military Conducts 30 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — The U.S. military continued its attack against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria, launching 30 more airstrikes between Wednesday and Friday.

According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), six of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed four staging areas, two buildings and two tactical units, and suppressed a fighting position.

Another airstrike in Syria damaged a barrack near Ar Raqqah.

In Iraq, the remaining 23 airstrikes were spread out between Bayji, Sinjar, Kirkuk, al Asad, Mosul, Ramadi and Tal Afar, and destroyed various targets in those areas.

CENTCOM said all the aircraft used in the attacks managed to exit the areas safely.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Home Instead Senior Care

Kerry Changes Plans, Extends Stay in Vienna for Iran Talks

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

State Dept photo(VIENNA) — Secretary of State John Kerry is staying put — at least for one more night — after initially announcing he would leave the Iranian nuclear talks in Vienna just after one day.

According to a U.S. official, Kerry has delayed his Friday departure from the Austrian city to continue consultations there.

The official said it is not yet known when Kerry will leave but he will stay in Vienna overnight.

Earlier, the State Department said Kerry was leaving to Paris on Friday to meet with European officials about the ongoing negotiations.

The travel change comes as the clock keeps ticking towards Monday’s deadline.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pet of the Week

Ukraine Celebrates Anniversary of Protests that Sparked Revolution

Friday, November 21st, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) — Ukraine on Friday is celebrating one year since the first student-led protests kicked off in the country, sparking a revolution that toppled the government and led to a stand-off with Russian-backed separatists in the east.

Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Ukraine on Friday, reiterated the United States’ support for the country’s sovereignty in the face of an encroaching Russia.

“It’s simply unacceptable in the 21st century for countries to accept to redraw borders by force in Europe or anywhere for that matter,” he said.

Biden said the U.S. is prepared to increase sanctions on Russia and support Ukrainian sovereignty, but the government must work towards better integrating Russian-speaking minorities.

“We’re looking for opportunities to improve Ukraine’s business climate and increase trade and investment. But it all depends on following through on the reforms which have begun,” he said.

During his time in Ukraine, Biden met with the country’s newly elected prime minister. The vice president was also scheduled to lay a wreath but pulled out of the ceremony over security concerns.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Metal Depot

New Homes, Worker Ban Heighten Tension in Middle East

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — At a time when tensions in Jerusalem are already sky-high, Israel on Wednesday approved plans to build 78 new homes in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders and domestic critics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are furious. The U.S. State Department has also criticized the move.

But it’s not the only incident that has exacerbated tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Another announcement to bar Arab Israeli workers has set off a national uproar.

Citing security concerns after Tuesday’s synagogue attack, the mayor of the southern city of Asheklon on Thursday banned Arab Israeli construction workers at pre-schools.

The decision has been publicly condemned not just by Arab Israeli leaders but by Netanyahu, the defense minister and the justice minister.

Arab Israeli lawmaker Achmed Tibi called the move, “racist” while Israeli leaders say discrimination against Arab Israelis is not just unacceptable, it’s illegal.

Israel’s attorney general and rights groups are expected to fight the mayor’s move.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Pope Francis Takes on Capitalism at UN Conference on Hunger

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

FAO via Getty Images(ROME) — Speaking to a United Nations conference on hunger in Rome Thursday, Pope Francis once again took on capitalism.

The pope called it painful to witness how the “primacy of profit” and speculation obstruct the fight against hunger and malnutrition around the world.

In the past 12 years, hunger has fallen by about 20 percent. But millions in the West overeat to the point of obesity, while 800 million continue to go hungry, with malnutrition being linked to almost half of the deaths of young children around the world.

Pope Francis added that no form of political or economic pressure that exploits the availability of foodstuffs can be considered acceptable.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Kids Kare PC

Two US Naval Supply Ships Collide in Arabian Sea

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

File photo. U.S. Navy / Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob I. Allison(MANAMA, Bahrain) — Two U.S. Naval supply ships collided in the Gulf of Aden, according to Navy officials. 

The USNS Amelia Earhart and USNS Walter S. Diehl collided in the gulf between Yemen and Somalia early Thursday morning as they began a replenishment operation.

Both ships appeared to have only minor damage and will continue their assigned missions, the Navy said.

The Navy plans to conduct an investigation to determine the collision’s cause.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Kerry to Join Iran Nuke Talks in Vienna

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 by

Posted in World News

State Dept photo(VIENNA) — Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Vienna on Thursday, where he’ll join the nuclear talks with Iran.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry is coming to the Austrian city to “check in” on the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Psaki added that Kerry’s departure date is “not yet determined,” leaving open the possibility that he may leave before Monday’s deadline.

If Kerry goes home, it may be a sign that a deal is dead. If he travels elsewhere, he might be continuing the sidelines negotiations he’s done from London and Paris.

Officials, meanwhile, are working hard to lower expectations of a deal this week, and some are now openly debating whether an extension is necessary.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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