Delilah, who is two-and-a-half years old, is reportedly out-of-this-world excited about the TV show Cosmos. “It’s a Moon! It’s a Moon! It’s a Moon! It’s a Moon! It’s a Moon! It’s a Moon! IT’S…A…MOON!” Watch her also jump with joy at the sight of the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn.
A first kiss can be awkward. It can be nerve-racking. But it can also be magical.
First time filmmaker Tatia Pilieva captured that magic when she asked 20 complete strangers—gay and straight, old and young, but all beautiful—to share a first kiss. What could have been intensely uncomfortable throughout was strangely romantic. The nervous laughter and lead-ins—”I’ll follow your lead,” “What was your name again?” “Can we turn off the lights”—quickly dissolved into chemical attraction. At least in the moments of make out.
It will almost make you want to grab onto a stranger on your work commute. But don’t—this might only work in black and white settings set to beautiful music.
Industrial warehouse space in Denver is suddenly a hot commodity in short supply, as the city’s marijuana farmers look for grow space to help meet the surge in demand for legal recreational pot.
Warehouse space in Denver is now leasing for up to four times the rate it went for before medical marijuana first sent legal pot sales climbing in 2009, the Denver Post reports. At 3.1 percent, the city’s industrial vacancy rate is the lowest it has been in decades.
Denver’s warehouse rush is likely to only intensify, as pot farmers scramble to meet demand that has already stressed the available supply of above-board product since recreational pot became legal in Colorado on Jan. 1. Officials announced this week that the state has already collected $2 million in taxes on $14 million in total recreational pot sales in 2014.
“Supply is deficient, demand is excessive, and capital is abundant,” said the president of one Denver brokerage firm, summing up the status of things amid the state’s pot-fueled real estate boom.
Lawmakers in the contested Crimea region of Ukraine voted on Tuesday to declare the peninsula an independent and autonomous state if residents vote in favor of splitting from Ukraine in a coming referendum.
The local parliament adopted a “declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea” if residents voted in favor of leaving Ukraine. The state would be “a democratic, secular and multi-ethnic state,” read the declaration, in an apparent move to ease concerns over ethnic divisions within Crimea. The move may also be an attempt to ease tensions over Russia moving to annex Crimea, and instead allow the Black Sea peninsula to exist as a self-proclaimed state.
Meanwhile, Russian troops have continued to tighten their control over Crimea region in the run-up to Sunday’s referendum. And on Wednesday, Ukraine’s parliament will be voting on a motion to mobilize its Interior Ministry troops into a National Guard “to defend the country and citizens against any criminals, against external and internal aggression.” All flights to the airport in Crimea were suspended Tuesday except for those from Moscow, AFP reports.
In a bid to encourage young people to sign up for health insurance, President Barack Obama stopped by Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns comedy show. The brief episode appeared on Funny or Die’s website early Tuesday morning.
In addition to the plug, there’s some good back-and-forth barbs throughout the episode, and Obama is quick on his feet. When Galifianakis asks him, “What’s it like to be the last black president,” Obama follows up with a sharp, “Seriously? What’s it like for this to be that last time you ever talk to a president?”
With an anticipated one million people expected to gather at the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon, exactly where two bombs went off killing three and injuring more than 260 last year, law enforcement officials said Monday that they are tightening security around what will be a very symbolic race.
More than 3,500 police officers, double the 2013 presence, will be present at the race to protect supporters and runners alike, the New York Times reports. Some 36,000 people will be running the race, which is up 9,000 from last year. Twice the usual number of spectators are expected.
Here are some of the precautions that officials announced they would be taking for the April 21 marathon. Plans were made by public safety officials from around the world and the eight towns and cities along the marathon’s course:
- Spectators are strongly discouraged from wearing vests with large pockets and bringing strollers, backpacks, coolers, and other large bags. Rather they are being asked to keep all items in clear plastic bags.
- Anyone who does bring a large bag will be subject to search.
- “Bandits” — also known as unregistered runners who join in the race at random intervals — will be strictly prohibited from the marathon.
- Spectators and runners alike can only bring one liter of liquid.
- People can’t wear cumbersome costumes or cover their face.
- The doubled security force will include private security officers and plainclothes officers. The force will be complemented by hundreds of surveillance cameras, bomb sniffing dogs and security checkpoints.
“We have to get this right 110 percent of the time,” Boston FBI agent Kieran L. Ramsey said, according to the Times. “The bad guys only have to get lucky once.”
A student leader was fatally shot in the chest Monday night in the Venezuelan university city of San Cristobal, as protests continue to rock the country.
The mayor of the city, Daniel Ceballos, said the student, Daniel Tinoco, had been killed after dark, although he did not say who might be responsible, the Associated Press reports. The incident came after a full day of street clashes between both peaceful and violent protesters and the Venezuelan security forces.
Anti-government sentiments have run hot in San Cristobal, where for the last month there have been on-going protests against escalating inflation, high murder rates and short supplies of basic goods. Venezuelan National Guardsmen fired teargas and plastic shotgun pellets at the demonstrators.
Ceballos accused the government forces of reacting disproportionately, claiming that “where the government sees paramilitaries, in truth there are just citizens who are defending themselves.”
Ukraine’s ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych said Tuesday that he remains the country’s legitimate leader and commander-in-chief, and accused the new government of fomenting a civil war.
Speaking from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych, who fled from Ukraine in February following months of anti-government protests, branded the new government a “band of ultranationalists and neo-fascists,” Reuters reports. The fugitive leader said we would be returning to Ukraine “as soon as circumstances allow”—despite there being an arrest warrant issued against him for the alleged “mass murder of peaceful civilians.”
Yanukovych said he would appeal to armed forces to defy any “criminal orders” handed down by the new government. “I am certain the officers and soldiers of Ukraine… know what your are worth and will not carry out your criminal orders,” he said.
This is the second time the ousted president has spoken out since his removal on Feb. 22. Yanukovych also said the contested region of Crimea was “breaking off,” and repeated the Russian claim that Ukraine’s authorities were too accommodating to radical nationalists, potentially pushing Ukraine toward a civil war.
A federal judge in California has ordered the National Security Agency to halt the destruction of millions of telephone records collected by the agency more than five years ago.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who is presiding over a lawsuit against the NSA, ordered the agency on Monday to preserve all records until March 19, when he will hold a hearing on extending that deadline. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the NSA’s surveillance, has required that documents be purged after five years for privacy reasons; however, Judge White ordered that the records be safeguarded as evidence.
On Friday, the FISA court had denied the federal government’s request to maintain the records due to pending lawsuits. White wrote that “the Court would be unable to afford effective relief once the records are destroyed” and said that he was enforcing an order from an earlier NSA surveillance case.
The NSA began collecting domestic phone records in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and since 2006, the FISA court has issued warrants for the surveillance. Several civil rights, religious, environmental and gun organizations have filed invasion of privacy lawsuits against the NSA.
A U.S. Army judge has hit the brakes on the prosecution of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair on sexual assault charges, saying improper political considerations may have prevented the accused from being allowed to offer a plea deal.
The judge, Col. James L. Pohl, ruled that “unlawful command influence” may have inspired the General Joseph Anderson, the overseeing authority in the case, to reject an offer from Sinclair to plea to lesser charges. In particular, Pohl expressed concern about a letter sent by an attorney for Sinclair’s chief accuser to Gen. Anderson, which addressed the potential political fallout of a failure to fully prosecute, the New York Times reports. Sinclair’s case has garnered tremendous attention, particularly in recent months as Congress has wrangled with legislation to address sexual assault in the military.
Charges against Sinclair have not been dropped and the general has until Tuesday morning to offer a new plea deal. Last week, Sinclair pleaded guilty to lesser charges, including possession of pornography and adultery, a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. The more serious charges against him—including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual contact, indecent acts—could send Sinclair to prison for life.
You think life is hard now? Back in the ’80s, you couldn’t even skateboard to a blockbuster without getting nuked by Russia–at least according to Kevin Bacon. In this video, the ’80s icon explains what the world was really like 30 years ago to hapless millennials who have a dangerously low awareness about life back then.
A British-Swedish journalist was shot dead in Kabul on Tuesday, in a brazen attack in a busy section of the city that many worry is a harbinger of future security issues in Afghanistan’s capital.
Nils Horner, 52, the South Asia correspondent for the Swedish radio station Sveriges Radio, was assassinated by gunmen in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul, an area populated with embassies, western NGOs and journalists, the Washington Post reports. Afghan police said Horner was on his way to visit a Lebanese restaurant that was bombed in January, killing 21 people, mostly foreigners.
According to initial reports, gunmen using a pistol with a silencer shot Horner, then fled the scene. Horner was talen to the hospital where he died from his injuries, the Post reports. Afghan police said two suspects had been arrested.
Although Kabul has often been the scene of bombing attacks on government buildings, the city has rarely seen such a brazen attack on a civilian in broad daylight on the edges of an area the Guardian describes as “the heavily fortified diplomatic district.” A Taliban spokesman said the group was not claiming responsibility, but that they would speak with insurgent groups in the city who may have been responsible for Horner’s killing.
(KIEV, Ukraine) — The Crimean parliament has voted that the Black Sea peninsula will declare itself an independent state if its residents vote to split off from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum on Sunday.
Crimea’s regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a “declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”
The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote in favor of joining Russia in the referendum.
Western nations have said they will not recognize the vote as legitimate.
Don’t be fooled by all those foreign news reports and incendiary images leaked at the risk of imprisonment. At the National People’s Congress (NPC) annual confab currently underway in Beijing, Padma Choling, one of the highest-ranking Tibetan officials in China, said that no self-immolations have taken place under his watch. Exile groups and human-rights watchdogs say at least 125 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest Chinese state repression. MoreWATCH: Dalai Lama Says ‘O.K.’ to Same-Sex MarriagesHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostThese Disturbing Fast Food Truths Will Make You Reconsider Your Lunch Huffington PostIs Kat McPhee Back with Her Husband? PeopleThe road to 34-0: Behind the scenes with Wichita State at Arch Madness Sports Illustrated
Most self-immolators have using their final moments of life to call for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has lived in exile for more than five decades after a failed uprising back home. The Chinese government blames the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the fiery protests, a charge the 78-year-old monk denies. Popular Among Subscribers Obama’s Trauma Team Subscribe The Mindful RevolutionBitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
“None of the 46,000 monks and nuns in Tibet’s 1,700-plus monasteries, nor any local residents, have self-immolated,” said Padma Choling, a former soldier who is the chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This is not the highest-ranking political position in Tibet; that top post has never gone to a Tibetan, one of the many power gaps felt keenly by some locals.
Technically, Padma Choling is close to right on the self-immolations. Nearly all of the incendiary acts have taken place not in the TAR that he helps command but in ethnically Tibetan areas of three other Chinese provinces: Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu. Nevertheless, at another high-level meeting in Beijing in 2012, Che Dalha, the Communist Party Secretary of the TAR’s capital Lhasa, noted that “only a few cases have happened in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.” A few is not the same as none. Besides, Padma Choling seemed determined to gloss over the situation across the Tibetan high plateau. Locals complain of state-imposed religious restrictions and an influx of migrants from China’s Han ethnic majority, who tend to secure the best jobs.
Padma Choling’s cheery estimation of his homeland isn’t unusual among party officials. At the 2012 Chinese Communist Party Congress, another senior Tibetan official claimed that a nationwide poll had deemed Lhasa the happiest city in China for four years. Since 2008 race riots claimed at least 100 Tibetan and Han lives, Lhasa has turned into perhaps the most militarized city in all of the People’s Republic, with constant checkpoints and security personnel patrolling the streets. Riot gear, armored vehicles, paramilitary forces—is this really what such a happy metropolis should feel like? In its latest human-rights report, the U.S. government said that nearly 90 people had been jailed in connection with the self-immolations. Some were locked up simply for having been related to the protesters.
In recent weeks, the Chinese government’s pr campaign has intensified against the Dalai Lama and other people it occasionally calls “splittists.” The Dalai Lama has for decades advocated a “middle way” that forswears outright Tibetan independence in exchange for meaningful autonomy. On March 10 at the NPC, China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng said that “efforts should be made to help local officials and people get a clear understanding of the nature and danger of the Dalai Lama’s preaching of the ‘middle way’ and ‘high-degree autonomy,’” according to state news agency Xinhua.
Yu’s criticism felt rather feeble compared to other broadsides unleashed by Chinese government representatives. Commenting on the Tibetan spiritual leader’s U.S. tour — during which he met last month with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House — Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said the encounter “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs.” Qin went on to assail the Dalai Lama. “Facts have fully proved that the Dalai Lama is by no means a pure religions figure,” he said, “but a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion.” At least that was a tad more polite than when Chinese officials referred to the Tibetan cleric as a “wolf in monk’s robes.”
On March 4, the Dalai Lama led a prayer session at the U.S. Senate. China, again, expressed displeasure. Yet there’s no question that the Dalai Lama’s long decades of exile have not dulled Tibetan reverence for him. His image, technically illegal, often resides in the photos kept on Tibetan cellphones. This month, a memoir by the former guerilla commando who founded Tibet’s Communist Party was published in Hong Kong. The book is entitled A Long Way to Equality and Unity and in it, Bapa Phuntso Wangye (also known as Phunwang), 92, makes an extraordinary plea: He wants the Chinese government to allow the Dalai Lama to return home.
As the sun set on the fourth day since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished, the case of the ill-fated jetliner was as muddied as Kuala Lumpur’s skies, steeped in a dense haze that seasonally blankets the Malaysian capital. MoreHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostThese Disturbing Fast Food Truths Will Make You Reconsider Your Lunch Huffington PostIs Kat McPhee Back with Her Husband? PeopleThe road to 34-0: Behind the scenes with Wichita State at Arch Madness Sports Illustrated'Bachelor' finale recap: Bait and ditch Entertainment Weekly
“We’ve made no progress, we don’t have a clue,” Izhar Bahari, air traffic controller at Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, tells TIME. He went on to deny an earlier report that the search has now shifted focus to the Strait of Malacca. “We focus our search both on the east and the west coast, and we will expand the areas for tomorrow.” Popular Among Subscribers Obama’s Trauma Team Subscribe The Mindful RevolutionBitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
Authorities said Tuesday that despite suspicions raised by the fact that two of the passengers held stolen passports, one was a 19-year-old Iranian asylum seeker with no terrorist ties. The revelation seemed to deflate fears that the disappearance was an act of terrorism.
“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said, according to Reuters.
Scouring a radius of over 100 nautical miles, dozens of aircrafts and ships from 10 countries explored both the area where communications were lost with the Boeing 777, between Malaysia and Vietnam, and a swath to the southwest. Based on radar information suggesting that the Beijing-bound aircraft may have attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur, the search was increasingly focused off the coast of Malaysia.
Officials have pleaded to media and the public to refrain from spreading unverified information. But with 239 lives presumed lost, rumors abound. In lieu of hard evidence, journalists had latched on to the fact that two passengers traveled on stolen passports, but that lead seemed to lose weight on Tuesday, as one of the two men’s identities was revealed.
Traveling on an Austrian passport, Iranian Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, is not suspected of having any links to terrorist organizations. “We’ve been in contact with his mother, who was expecting him in Frankfurt,” said Malaysian Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar. She knew he was using a false passport.”
Traveling with stolen documents is a fairly common phenomenon that is rarely detected. According to data collected by the Wall Street Journal, passengers boarded flights without having their passports checked against Interpol’s database of stolen documents 1 billion times last year. Meanwhile, 40 million passports are reported missing.
Increasingly, more than 90 hours since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, the investigation is characterized by erroneous clues discounted than hard evidence established. An object spotted in the Gulf of Thailand, which Vietnamese officials initially thought could have been a life-raft, turned out to be the lid of a large box.
A 15 km oil slick in Malaysian waters was found following following laboratory tests not to contain any aviation fuel. And supposed tail debris seen floating in the water was actually “logs tied together,” reports Malaysian officials.
The lack of a distress call remains puzzling for investigators. At cruising altitude in good weather, even total loss of power would allow pilots enough time to register an emergency.
Commercial airliners also have transponders that automatically report their location, altitude, speed and other data by radio. But where the Malaysian plane was flying was thought to be patchy, and the signals are picked up only once a minute and only at a plane’s cruising height above 29,000 feet.
In addition, Malaysian Airlines has confirmed the plane also had a system called the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, which automatically alerts technical staff of any mechanical failure. The system was deemed vital for finding the downed Air France Flight 447 that disappeared over the Atlantic in 2009.
The last two readings from the devices on MH370 were recorded some 40 minutes after takeoff, and they did not include altitude, Mikael Robertsson of Flightradar24, tells the New York Times.
Police still haven’t ruled out foul play as the reason for the incident. Abu Bakar said that they are looking into four areas: hijacking, sabotage, psychological and personal problems of passengers and crew. “We’re going through the profiles of all passengers, and have communicated with counterparts in at least 14 countries,” he said.
The Chinese delegation in Malaysia has also supplied the police team with photos of all 153 Chinese passengers on board. “We’re looking at all video footage from March 7 and 8,” Abu Bakar added.
(MOSCOW) — Ukraine’s fugitive president has accused his country’s new government of fomenting a civil war and criticized the West for supporting it.
Tuesday’s statement from Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia last month after months of protests, was televised live on Russian state television and echoed Russia’s rhetoric over Ukraine.
Speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych repeated the Russian claim that the new Ukrainian authorities are kowtowing to radical nationalists. He alleged that authorities could use military force against Russian-speaking eastern regions, pushing Ukraine toward a civil war.
Yanukovych said the May 25 presidential vote is illegal and said he would call on the U.S. Congress to halt Washington’s financial aid to what he called the “bandit regime” in Ukraine.
He added he would soon return to Ukraine.
(KABUL, Afghanistan) — The Swedish Embassy has confirmed that a Swedish journalist has been killed in Kabul, and Afghan police say two suspects have been arrested.
Embassy counselor Christian Nilsson tells The Associated Press that Nils Horner, the Asia correspondent for Swedish Radio, was killed on Tuesday. Nilsson says Horner was in his 50s.
Sayed Gul Agha Hashimi, the head of the Kabul Criminal Investigation Department, says the man was working for a Swedish news organization when he was shot in an affluent area in the capital. Hashimi says two suspects have been arrested.
Hashimi says the journalist died while being treated at the hospital.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Thousands of Afghans waving flags and chanting crowded into a cemetery in Kabul on Tuesday after President Hamid Karzai presided over a funeral service for the country’s powerful vice president.
Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who died on Sunday at 57, was an ethnic Tajik and a leading commander in the Northern Alliance, which battled the Taliban for years and helped the U.S. in ousting the Islamic militant movement from power in 2001. His death came a month before presidential elections to choose a successor to Karzai, who is barred from seeking a third term.
At a funeral service earlier in the presidential palace, Karzai lauded him for always promoting national interest.
“I lost my best friend and my brother,” Karzai said, surrounded by tribal leaders and other Afghan dignitaries and foreign diplomats. “He was always with me in making important decisions on international and domestic issues.”
The flag-covered coffin was then taken to a cemetery in Kabul, where thousands of people thronged the ambulance as it carried the body to the gravesite.
Fahim was an ethnic Tajik who was the top deputy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
He was widely accused of marginalizing Pashtuns in the years after the Taliban were ousted, but later reconciled with Karzai and was widely considered somebody who could mediate between factions.
Karzai’s office said Fahim — who held the rank of field marshal and had survived several assassination attempts, most recently in 2009 in northern Afghanistan — died of natural causes in Kabul.
(PRETORIA, South Africa) — The friend of Oscar Pistorius who was identified by witnesses as being with the athlete on two occasions when a gun was shot in public is testifying at Pistorius’ murder trial on Tuesday.
Darren Fresco was asked by Pistorius to take the blame, a previous witness testified, when a gun the Olympic runner was handling fired under a table in a restaurant in early 2013, about a month before Pistorius shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Fresco was also present, another witness said, when Pistorius shot his gun out the sunroof of a car after an altercation with traffic police in 2012.
Pistorius is on trial charged with murder for the shooting death of Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year. He also faces firearm charges for those two gun incidents.