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Top Asian News 3:49 a.m. GMT

Top Asian News 3:49 a.m. GMTJAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers in Indonesia say a child is the only survivor from the crash of a light commercial plane in a mountainous region of the easternmost province of Papua that left eight other passengers dead. The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Porter single-engine plane operated by Dimonin Air was on an estimated 42-minute flight when it was reported missing Saturday. The local army chief says the plane was found after crashing near the airport of Oksibil. Col. Jonathan Binsar Sianipar says a child is the only passenger found alive and has been evacuated to Oksibil. He gave no other details, including the child's age or condition.


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Arab Israelis rally against Jewish nation-state law

Tens of thousands of Arab Israelis and their supporters chanted against "apartheid" and for "equality" on Saturday in central Tel Aviv at a rally protesting a law that declares Israel the nation state of the Jewish people. Israeli Jews also joined the...

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Nationalists and anti-racist protesters to square off by White House one year after Charlottesville violence

Nationalists and anti-racist protesters to square off by White House one year after Charlottesville violenceWhite nationalists and anti-racism protesters will face off just metres from the White House on Sunday as both mark the one-year anniversary of violent clashes in Charlottesville.  Both groups have been given permission to demonstrate in separate sections of Lafayette Square, a shady park that looks onto the back of the US president’s residence.  Attendees of "Unite the Right 2", a follow-up to the controversial far-Right protest last year, have been told to bring Confederate flags, wear body cameras and expect to be provoked.  A collective of counter-protest groups will stage a rally earlier in the day before congregating at the park and have vowed to drown out the white nationalists’ message.  Secret service officials will join officers from Washington DC’s police force and the National Park Service to ensure there is no repeat of the violent clashes this time last year.  On that day Heather Heyer, 32, died and dozens of others were injured when a car crashed into protesters who were opposing the original Unite the Right rally.  The rally had been organised to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, a Confederate general. James Alex Field Jnr, a 20-year-old man living in Ohio with far-Right links, was later charged with Ms Heyer's second-degree murder.  The incident led to one of the most controversial moments of Donald Trump’s presidency as he blamed “both sides” for the violence - the white nationalists and anti-racism protesters.  A group wearing anti-fascist labels visits the site where Heather Heyer was killed during the 2017 "Unite the Right" protests in Charlottesville Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder The comment triggered a wave of condemnation from politicians and campaigners, including senior Republicans, over Mr Trump’s failure to call out racism.  On Saturday Mr Trump issued a pre-emptive call for peace, tweeting: “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division.  “We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!” Mr Trump was accused of being a "racist" and using the n-word this week by a former White House aide and Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault Newman in a new book.  A spokesman for Mr Trump dismissed the claims, saying the book was riddled with inaccuracies and the product of a "disgruntled former White House employee".  Charlottesville, a Virginian city around 100 miles south-west of Washington DC, rejected a request from Unite the Right’s organisers to hold an anniversary demonstration there.   Nonetheless it has been placed in a state of emergency by Ralph Northam, the Virginian governor. Hundreds of officers will be deployed and a number of streets closed.  The white nationalist protest will instead take place in Washington DC from 5pm to 7.30pm and will see attendees march through the city to Lafayette Square.  Counter-protesters will hold a rally earlier in the day before also heading to the park. Between three and four thousand people in total are expected to attend, for both sides.  Makia Green, a 26-year-old core organiser for Black Lives Matter DC, told The Telegraph that she hoped the group’s counter-protest would send a powerful message.  She said: “I want people to know that the power of black communities across the world is going to be stronger and vaster than the white supremacist hate that we’ve been experiencing.”


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NASA postpones for 24 hours launch of historic spaceship to Sun

NASA postponed until Sunday the launch of the first ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the Sun on a mission to plunge into our star's sizzling atmosphere and unlock its mysteries. The next launch window opens at 3:31 am (0731 GMT) on Sunday, when ...

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Nasa's Parker Solar Probe to launch mission to 'touch the Sun'

Nasa's Parker Solar Probe to launch mission to 'touch the Sun'Launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida aborted on Sat morning Nasa to send spacecraft into the Sun's atmosphere Parker Solar Probe is as heat-resistant as a spacecraft gets Aim is to make 24 passes through the corona during 7-year mission   9:32AM Launch aborted There is clearly still an issue - possibly with the helium regulator. The launch window has expired and Nasa will now aim to reschedule the launch within 24 hours. 9:17AM Launch is back on New launch time set for 9.28am BST (4.29am ET). 8:56AM No go on launch The launch has been delayed. It's not clear what the issue is, but there is a "launch window" of around 45 minutes. The countdown clock was halted at the T-4 minutes. 8:35AM What are the questions the mission hopes to shed light on? Magnetic fields How can the Sun's atmosphere, called the corona, reach temperatures exceeding a million degrees Celsius if the star's surface is "only" 6,000 C (10,800 degrees Fahrenheit)? "That's the big question: what's heating the solar corona?", said Thierry Dudok de Wit, an astrophysicist at France's National Centre for Scientific Research. One likely suspect is electromagnetic waves. Energy is stored in magnetic fields, the thinking goes, that are constantly stirring up the visible surface of the Sun, called the photosphere, and releasing energy into the solar atmosphere. The FIELDS instrument - which captures the scale and shape of electric and magnetic field - is designed to help scientists figure out how, when, and where that energy release occurs. Solar wind Another mystery is how solar wind - composed of ionised gases streaming outward from the Sun at 500 kilometres per second (nearly a million miles per hour) - accelerates. Finding out would help scientists forecast major space weather events that can adversely impact Earth's magnetic field and, in some cases, change the orbit of satellites and create electrical disturbances. The solar wind carries a million tons of matter into space every second. Enter the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons Investigation (SWEAP), which will count the most abundant particles in the solar wind - electrons, protons and helium ions - and measure their velocity, density and temperature. "This could help us do a much better job of predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth, triggering space weather that could disrupt GPS, radio, radar and the electric grid," said Justin Kaspar, a professor at the University of Michigan and a principle investigator for the Parker Solar Probe. This handout photo released by NASA shows the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back on August 10, 2018, Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Particle acceleration The Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (ISOIS) harnesses a pair of instruments to measure the full life-cycle of electrons, protons, ions: where they come from, how they accelerate, how they move out of the Sun through interplanetary space. "These are high-energy particles that travel at phenomenal speeds approaching the speed of light," said Dudok de Wit. "They reach Earth" - 150 million kilometres (more than 90 million miles) distant - "in 30 to 60 minutes." Earth's magnetic shield protects us from these potentially harmful particles, he noted. "But the day we go to Mars, we'll need to be able to predict solar eruptions of these particles, which can be deadly," he told AFP. Close up The Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) is the only imaging device on board. Never will a camera have come so close to the Sun. WISPR will look at the large-scale structure of matter spewing outward from the Sun as it approaches the probe, to compliment the detailed physical measurements of other instruments. NASA scientists know what they are looking for, but have allowed for the element of surprise. "We have ideas about what will be found, but the most important results may well come from observations that are completely unexpected," said Mark Wiedenbeck, a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and part of the ISOIS team. 8:30AM Night sky is lit up Light from the xenons on the rocket lighting up the sky as well as we near launch #ParkerSolarProbe#SolarProbe#DeltaIVHeavypic.twitter.com/SuAdIws8Pn— Sawyer R. (@thenasaman) August 11, 2018   8:13AM Dr Parker inspected the spacecraft yesterday What an incredibly special moment to stand in front of @ULALaunch’s #DeltaIV Heavy rocket with Dr. Eugene Parker just hours before his namesake spacecraft - Parker #SolarProbe - launches into space. Something I will never forget. Thanks for the tour @ToryBruno. pic.twitter.com/fTXSeMOJdx— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) August 10, 2018   8:01AM The Parker Solar Probe's projected journey The Sun's gravitational pull keeps everything in our solar system. Even though the Sun has a powerful pull, it takes 55x more energy to go to the Sun than to Mars! See how our #SolarProbe will make the journey when it launches at 3:53am ET today, Aug. 11: https://t.co/LevTP7RR1bpic.twitter.com/Nv7xHwNDHi— NASA (@NASA) August 11, 2018   7:38AM Final preparations ahead of the launch The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe is illuminated ahead of launch Credit: Nasa   7:36AM How and why the Parker spacecraft is so tough SUPERHERO-WORTHY SHIELD Parker's lightweight heat shield is just 4 ½inches (11 centimeters) thick. But it can withstand 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius) as well as extreme radiation, thanks to its high-tech carbon. Although the corona reaches millions of degrees, it's a wispy, tenuous, environment and so the spacecraft won't need to endure such severe temperatures. The 8-foot (2.4-meter) shield will face the sun during the close solar encounters, shading the science instruments in the back and keeping them humming at a cool 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). As one scientist notes, this is a shield Captain America would envy. SEVEN YEARS IN HOT PURSUIT The spacecraft's path to the sun runs past Venus. It will fly by our solar system's hottest planet seven times over seven years, using the gravity of Venus to shrink its own oval orbit and draw increasingly closer to the sun. The first Venus flyby is in October, followed by the first dip into the sun's corona in November. There will be 24 orbits between Venus and the sun, with the final three putting Parker closest to the sun - just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers) out - in 2024 and 2025. That's a scant 4 percent of the 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) between Earth and the Sun. This handout illustration obtained July 6, 2018 courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins APL shows an artists conception of NASAs Parker Solar Probe, the spacecraft that will fly through the Suns corona to trace how energy and heat move through the stars atmosphere BREAKING RECORDS The records will start falling as soon as Parker takes its first run past the sun.. The current close-to-the-sun champ, NASA's former Helios 2, got within 27 million miles (43 million kilometers) in 1976. Parker will come within 15.5 million miles (25 million kilometers) in November and then start beating its own record. During its closest solar approaches, the spacecraft will hurtle through the corona at 430,000 mph (690 kph), setting a speed record. SOLAR SCIENCE Our yellow dwarf star is, in many ways, a mystery. The outreaching corona is hundreds of times hotter than the sun's actual surface, confounding scientists. In addition, physicists don't know what's driving the solar wind, the supersonic stream of charged particles constantly blasting away from the sun. By being right in the thick of it, Parker should provide some answers, shedding light not only on our star but the billions of others out there. PARKER THE MAN Sixty years ago, a young astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, Eugene Parker, proposed the existence of solar wind. Many were skeptical and told him to read up on it first "so you don't make these killer mistakes," he recalls. Vindication came with NASA's Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962. Parker is now 91 years old and at Cape Canaveral with his family to witness his first launch - a Delta IV Heavy rocket with the spacecraft bearing his name. It's the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after someone who's still alive. In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Parker noted from a publicity standpoint, "it absolutely wipes out everything else" in his career. "At my age, it gets fatiguing. But of course, I enjoy it." 7:28AM Nasa to launch mission to the Sun On Saturday morning Nasa launches a $1.5 billion spacecraft that aims to plunge into the Sun's sizzling atmosphere - marking humanity's first mission to explore a star. The car-sized Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to blast off on a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8.53am BST, with the weather forecast currently 70 percent favourable for takeoff, Nasa said. By coming closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, the probe's main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around the Sun which can cause fierce radioactive storms which threaten Earth.  Not only is the corona about 300 times hotter than the Sun's surface, it also hurls powerful plasma and energetic particles that can unleash geomagnetic space storms, wreaking havoc on Earth by disrupting the power grid. But these solar outbursts are poorly understood. "The Parker Solar Probe will help us do a much better job of predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth," said Justin Kasper, one of the project scientists and a professor at the University of Michigan. Why Nasa's daring mission to 'touch the sun' will be 'the next jump in knowledge' The probe is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield that is just 4.5 inches thick (11.4 centimetres). The shield should enable the spacecraft to survive its close shave with the centre of our solar system, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometres) of the Sun's surface. The heat shield is built to withstand radiation equivalent up to about 500 times the Sun's radiation here on Earth. Even in a region where temperatures can reach more than a million degrees Fahrenheit (555,537 C), the sunlight is expected to heat the shield to just around 1,371 C. Scorching? Yes, but if all works as planned, the inside of the spacecraft should stay at a rather more modest 29 C. The goal for the Parker Solar Probe is to make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission. The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket payload fairing is seen with the NASA and Parker Solar Probe emblems Credit:  Bill Ingalls/NASA "The sun is full of mysteries," said Nicky Fox, project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. "We are ready. We have the perfect payload. We know the questions we want to answer." The tools on board will measure the expanding corona and continually flowing atmosphere known as the solar wind, which solar physicist Eugene Parker first described back in 1958. Scientists have wanted to build a spacecraft like this for more than 60 years, but only recently did heat shield technology advance sufficiently to protect sensitive instruments. The Parker Solar Probe after the installation of its heat shield Credit: Ed Whitman/NASA Tools on board will measure high-energy particles associated with flares and coronal mass ejections, as well as the changing magnetic field around the Sun. "We will also be listening for plasma waves that we know flow around when particles move," Dr Fox added. "And last but not least, we have a white light imager that is taking images of the atmosphere right in front of the Sun." When it nears the Sun, the probe will travel rapidly enough to go from New York to Tokyo in one minute - some 430,000 miles (700,000 kilometres) per hour, making it the fastest human-made object.


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Syrian air defences engage 'enemy target': state media

Syrian air defences engaged an "enemy target" near the border with Lebanon west of Damascus overnight, state news agency SANA reported on Saturday. "Our air defences confronted an enemy target that penetrated airspace above the area of Deir al-Ashair ...

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US Navy searching for overboard marine off Philippines

The US military said it had launched a search and rescue operation after reports a marine may have fallen overboard from an American warship as it sailed through Philippine waters. The US 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit said a member, who was not named...

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