Public health state of emergency declared in France over Covid, as Macron confirms city curfews
France’s government has declared a public health state of emergency over the growing number of Covid-19 cases as the country sees a second-wave surge of the virus. A curfew will also be imposed on several cities, including Paris.
In a statement on Wednesday, the government said that the coronavirus epidemic needed to be strictly counteracted, due to its growing scale putting the health of the population at risk.
The statement did not list any specific measures the government intends to implement, but the mere adoption of the state of emergency gives a broad range of statutory powers to the executive.
In a televised interview later on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron described the situation as “worrying” and revealed plans to impose a 9pm-to-6am curfew on residents of several French cities, including Paris, Lille, Grenoble and Lyon. The nightly restriction starts on Saturday and will last four weeks, he added.
Anyone out during the curfew will need to have a good reason for being out, Macron said, and breaches could result in fines of up to €1,500.
The president ruled out a national lockdown, saying it would be disproportionate.
France is one of the European countries worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has registered more than 700,000 confirmed cas
NASA discovers WATER spread out across Moon’s sunlit surface
The US space agency confirmed it has found indisputable proof of something that was previously considered impossible – “massive hydration” of the Moon’s sunlit surface by water, that still only exists as separate molecules.
NASA announced that its latest study has helped to resolve the mystery of whether water exists on the Moon once and for all. It is not that claims about the discovery of water on Earth’s natural satellite have never been made before but, until recently, the scientists were not entirely sure if it was really water they were talking about.
Now, thanks to the space agency’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), this issue is finally clear. An infrared camera of SOFIA’s telescope mounted on a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft has detected a specific wavelength unique to water molecules while surveying the Moon’s surface. The study results were published in Nature Astronomy.
“Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” said Casey Honniball, the study lead author and a postdoctoral program fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.”
Even more surprisingly, the scientists were able to discover some unusual concentrations of water in the Clavius Crater on the Moon’s sunlit side, where water was not expected to even exist in principle.
“Without a thick atmosphere, water on the sunlit lunar surface should just be lost to space,” said Honniball. “Yet somehow we’re seeing it. Something is generating the water, and something must be trapping it there.”
A possible explanation suggests that water could be carried to the lunar surface by meteorites. Another one says that hydrogen brought by the solar wind could mix with oxygen-bearing minerals in its soil to form a substance called hydroxyl and later turn into water as a result of micrometeorite bombardments.
The data collected by the researchers suggest that one cubic meter of the lunar soil in the crater could contain roughly an equivalent of a 12-ounce (355 milliliter) bottle of water. Still, do not rush to declare the Moon’s surface “wet” just yet since even the sands of the Sahara Desert contain 100 times more water. The scientists also say that water molecules are so spread out that they cannot form even ice particles, not to mention liquid water.
Possible explanations for water molecules’ existence on the sunlit side of the Moon include possibilities of them being hidden between the soil grains or even embedded in tiny glass beads created by micrometeorite impacts.
As important as it could be for science, this discovery is unlikely to be of any use for NASA’s more practical goals that involve potential extraction of water from the Moon’s surface to be used by astronauts and processed into hydrogen fuel. The water molecules are just not abundant enough to be effectively used, Honniball admits.
Fortunately for NASA, another study, which was also published in Nature Astronomy, says that future Moon explorers could potentially collect ice from what its authors call “mi
Militant reportedly blows himself up at checkpoint in Turkish city near Syrian border (VIDEO)
One militant has been killed in a suicide bomb explosion in Iskenderun, and another is being hunted by Turkish security forces, authorities in Hatay province, just across the border from Syria, said.
A video posted on social media shows gunfire that preceded the explosion on what looks like an urban street in Iskenderun, which the Turkish media identified as Fanar Street in the city’s merchant district.
“Two militants were spotted at a checkpoint in Payas district. One of them blew himself up after clashing with police,” Hatay Governor Rahmi Dogan said in a statement on Monday evening. “The operation to capture the other terrorist is underway.”
Payas is a town just north of Iske
Mexico considers enlisting UN help to repatriate pre-Columbian artifacts from foreign museums
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico is mulling the idea of appealing to the United Nations for help in getting back native artifacts predating the arrival of European explorers that are held in museums abroad.
“I am seriously considering presenting an initiative in the United Nations for the return of these heritage pieces to their original villages,” Lopez Obrador said during a news conference on Monday.
Displaying the artifacts in European museums is an enduring relic of “colonialist policy,” argued the president, commonly known as AMLO.
Earlier this month, AMLO reached out to European museums with a request to borrow the pre-Hispanic artifacts, so they can be displayed next year at the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the destruction of the Aztec Empire by Spanish conquistadors. The Spaniards largely destroyed the empire’s capital, Tenochtitlan, after a siege in 1521, building Mexico City on the ruins and decimating the indigenous population.
The European institutions, however, were not quite eager to send the artifacts back to Mexico. While some museums have not responded to the request yet, others cited various technical reasons to turn it down. Vienna’s Weltmuseum, for instance, refused to part with the feather headdress said to have been worn by Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, insisting that the piece was “too fragile” and therefore cannot be moved.
In addition to seeking the ancient artifacts, Lopez Obrador has also spearheaded a movement calling for Europeans to apologize to the Indigenous peoples of the region. Earlier this month, he sent a letter to Pope Francis, urging the pontiff to apologize for the crimes during the conquest of the Americas in the 16th century.
“The Catholic Church, the Spanish monarchy and the Mexican government should make a public a
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