the Context


2019-02-219 AM utc


JAXA

JAXA's "Hayabusa2" space probe successfully lands on Apollo asteroid 162173 Ryugu.

The probe was due to fire a pellet into the surface of the asteroid to try to capture dust

Megachile pluto

Scientists announce that the "Megachile pluto" (Wallace's giant bee), the world's largest bee, has been rediscovered in North Maluku, Indonesia, after no confirmed sightings since 1981. The first ever pictures and videos are taken of the rare species.

A giant bee, thought lost to science decades ago, has been re-discovered on an Indonesian island.

Tyrannosaur

A fossil from a new species of "tyrannosaur" named "Moros intrepidus" is discovered in the U.S. state of Utah. Scientists are using the find to better understand how "Tyrannosaurus rex" evolved during the Cretaceous period.

The gangly predator fills in a crucial gap in our understanding of how tyrannosaurs came to dominate during the Cretaceous.

2019 Israeli legislative election

Retired IDF Chief Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid agree to combine their prime ministerial campaigns in the April 9 Knesset election against incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two of Israel's strongest candidates announce an alliance in a bid to beat the PM in April polls.

2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis

United Socialist Party of Venezuela congressman and former head of the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence Hugo Carvajal defects to the opposition, urging the military to abandon Nicolás Maduro. Carvajal says drug trafficking and corruption are commonplace in the government.

2018 North Carolina's 9th congressional district election

North Carolina election authorities unanimously order a new election to choose the district's representative to the United States House of Representatives after their investigation determined the Republican candidate's campaign underwrote an illegal get-out-the-vote effort, and the candidate, Mark Harris, reverses his position and calls for a new election.

The unanimous ruling by the North Carolina State Board of Elections was a startling turn in a case of political chicanery that underscored the risk for pervasive absentee ballot fraud.

Spanish constitutional crisis

Clashes between demonstrators and Catalan regional police leave three arrested and 20 injured.

Spanish constitutional crisis

Separatists in Catalonia launch a general strike in protest of the trial of Catalonia independence leaders, with major participation of the educational community. Demonstrators block major roads, highways, train tracks and the entrance to the port of Tarragona.

The protests are fueled by outrage at Spain for putting separatists on trial

Jussie Smollett

American actor Jussie Smollett is arrested for filing a false police report about an alleged hate crime.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is under arrest and in the "custody of detectives" Thursday morning, Chicago police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said.

2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro orders the closing of his country's border with Brazil. International humanitarian aid is currently scheduled to enter Venezuela on February 23, under foreign military protection.

President Maduro is shutting the frontier as the opposition pushes to bring in foreign aid.

China–United States trade war

The United States and China outline a deal to end the trade war according to a report.

High level talks are being held Thursday and Friday in Washington.

2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit Vietnam

Vietnam tightens security at its rail station on the Chinese border ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Hanoi for his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Vietnamese police have stepped up security at a remote rail station on the Chine...

Russia–United States relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin states that Russia is militarily ready for "a Cuban Missile-style crisis" if the United States wants one, in relation to new U.S. missile deployments in Europe.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Mi...

Libyan Crisis (2011–present)

The Tobruk-based Libyan National Army says it has taken control of the El Feel oilfield in Libya's southern Murzuq District.

Eastern-based Libyan military forces took control on Thursday of the southwester...

American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War

The United States' allies France and the United Kingdom say they won't keep their troops in Syria after the United States pulls out.

As pullout deadline looms, some U.S. officials and lawmakers say Trump should rethink his plans.

Opinion

The EU is not a cigar club

No matter how you look at it, Brexit is a spectacular failure of the grand project called the European Union.


2019-02-20

Galápagos tortoise

One surviving female specimen of the Fernandina Galápagos tortoise species, which was thought to be extinct for more than 100 years, is found.

2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit Vietnam

The United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee permits those North Koreans on its global travel ban list to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the second summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

A United Nations Security Council sanctions committee has approved the travel of...

History of the UK Conservative Party

Three British MPs – Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen – defect from the Conservative Party to The Independent Group, citing their opposition to Brexit and the party's adoption of UKIP policies. This brings the total number of The Independent Group MPs to eleven following recent defections from Labour.

Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen quit Conservatives, citing Brexit and lurch to the right

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous 9–0 decision, rules the 8th Amendment's prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, as well as the federal government.

In an opinion written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the justices ruled unanimously for a man whose Land Rover was seized after he sold a small amount of drugs.

2019 Dhaka fire

A fast-moving fire has swept through a historic district of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, killing at least 80.

At least 70 people are killed after a blaze spread in the tightly-packed, centuries-old area.

2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis

The Venezuelan Navy closes its maritime borders with the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire ahead of the planned entry of international humanitarian aid into Venezuela on February 23, which Nicolás Maduro considers a precursor to invasion.

Venezuela has shut a key maritime border and grounded flights as the opposition party seeks to import foreign aid to the crisis-hit South American country.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports a 30 percent increase in U.S. hate groups over the past four years with a 7% increase in 2018 alone.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says many groups are driven by white supremacist ideology and the "hysteria over losing a white-majority nation." Critics accuse the group of overblowing the threat.


2019-02-19

History of the UK Labour Party

Joan Ryan becomes the eighth MP to quit the Labour Party and join The Independent Group, citing a "culture of anti-Jewish racism" within the party as the reason for her departure.

Joan Ryan says she cannot remain in a party with a "culture of anti-Jewish racism".

Politics of Spain

Francisco José Alcaraz, from Vox, becomes the first far-right politician to become a Senator since the restoration of democracy.

2020 United States presidential election

Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announces on Vermont Public Radio that he is running for President of the United States as a Democrat in 2020.

The Vermont independent became an ideological leader in the Democratic Party after his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton. He faces a far more crowded and liberal field this time.

Halifax

A house fire in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, kills seven children from a Syrian family.

Canadian police believe all are from the same family and reports suggest they were Syrian refugees.

Avalanche

An avalanche at the Crans-Montana ski resort in Switzerland injures four, one seriously, with fears that up to a dozen skiers may have been hit according to witnesses. 240 rescuers including police and army search the affected piste area. No further victims are immediately found, or missing persons reported.

At least a dozen skiers may be buried under an avalanche that hit a popular Swiss Alps resort on Tuesday.

Teva Pharmaceutical

Teva Pharmaceutical settles outstanding cases with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission involving payments from brand-name drugmakers to delay releasing a cheaper version of its product, so-called "pay-for-delay" agreements.

The U.S. government has reached a settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Industrie...

Honda

Honda confirms that it will be closing its car plant in Swindon, South West England, because of decreased demand for diesel cars and tougher emissions regulations. The closure in 2021 will result in the loss of about 3,500 jobs.

The firm says the move is due to global changes in the car industry and has nothing to do with Brexit.

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company will stop selling commercial trucks in South America.

Ford will stop selling heavy trucks in South America, a region where the automaker has long struggled.

Economy of the United States

American retailer Payless ShoeSource files Chapter 11 bankruptcy with plans to close all of their U.S. stores.

2019 Kaduna State massacre

Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai reports the death toll from Friday's attack in Kajuru is now more than 130, most from the Fulani ethnic group. Nigerian authorities have not identified the gunmen's motive, but they do not believe the attack was related to the upcoming election.

Security forces find dozens of bodies following gunmen's attack in Kaduna state, doubling the initial death toll.

Insurgency in Egypt (2013–present)

Sixteen militants are killed in two different raids in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. A number of weapons and explosives are also found in the raids.

The suspected fighters were killed in two separate districts in the El Arish city, state media reported.