Archive for December, 2007

Bhutto died of skull fracture

Friday, December 28th, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Benazir Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when her head slammed against her car during a suicide attack — not from bullet wounds, the government said Friday.

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Pakistan‘s interior minister blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for Thursday’s assassination and said another key opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, is also under threat of militant attack.

The government released a transcript Friday of a purported conversation between militant leader Baitullah Mehsud and another militant.

“It was a spectacular job. They were very brave boys who killed her,” Mehsud said, according to the transcript.

Authorities on Thursday said Bhutto died from bullet wounds fired by a young man who then blew himself up, killing 20 other people. A surgeon who treated her said Friday she died from the impact of shrapnel on her skull.

But later Friday, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said all three shots missed her as she greeted supporters through the sunroof of her vehicle, which was bulletproof and bombproof.

He also denied that shrapnel caused her death, saying Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull.

At a news conference, Cheema played a videotape of the attack showing Bhutto waving, smiling and chatting with supporters from the sunroof as her car sat unmoving on the street outside a campaign rally. Three gunshots rang out, the camera appeared to fall, and the tape ended.

Bhutto was slain while campaigning for the crucial Jan. 8 parliamentary elections in which she hoped to return as prime minister of the nuclear-armed country, a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. Upon her return from exile in October, she survived an assassination attempt. She had repeatedly complained that the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf did not give her adequate security.

As word of her death spread, her supporters blamed Musharraf of complicity in her assassination.

On Friday, Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press that the government had evidence that al-Qaida and Taliban were behind the suicide attack.

Later, Cheema blamed Mehsud, described him as an “al-Qaida leader” and said he was also behind the Oct. 18 bombing against Bhutto’s homecoming parade through Karachi that killed more than 140 people.

Mehsud is a commander of pro-Taliban forces in the lawless Pakistani tribal region South Waziristan, where al-Qaida fighters are also active. His forces often attack Pakistani security forces.

This fall, he was quoted in a Pakistani newspaper as saying that he would welcome Bhutto’s return from exile with suicide bombers. Mehsud later denied that in statements to local television and newspaper reporters.

Cheema said Mehsud was “behind most of the recent terrorist attacks that have taken place in Pakistan.”

He said Pakistani security forces would hunt down those responsible for Bhutto’s death.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071228/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_investigation

Asteroid Could Hit Mars Next Month

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Mars could be in for an asteroid hit. A newly discovered hunk of space rock has a 1 in 75 chance of slamming into the Red Planet on Jan. 30, scientists said Thursday.

“These odds are extremely unusual. We frequently work with really long odds when we track … threatening asteroids,” said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near Earth Object Program at NASA’s Latest News about NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Latest News about Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Like a Nuclear Bomb

The asteroid, known as “2007 WD5,” was discovered in late November and is similar in size to an object that hit remote central Siberia in 1908, unleashing energy equivalent to a 15-megaton nuclear bomb and wiping out 60 million trees.

Scientists tracking the asteroid, currently halfway between Earth and Mars, initially put the odds of impact at 1 in 350 but increased the chances this week.

Scientists expect the odds to diminish again early next month after getting new observations of the asteroid’s orbit, Chesley said.

“We know that it’s going to fly by Mars and most likely going to miss, but there’s a possibility of an impact,” he said.

http://www.technewsworld.com/rsstory/60913.html

Caught on tape: Death star galaxy

Monday, December 17th, 2007

The latest act of senseless violence caught on tape is cosmic in scope: A black hole in a “death star galaxy” blasting a neighboring galaxy with a deadly jet of radiation and energy.

A fleet of space and ground telescopes have captured images of this cosmic violence, which people have never witnessed before, according to a new study released Monday by NASA.

“It’s like a bully, a black-hole bully punching the nose of a passing galaxy,” said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who wasn’t involved in the research.

But ultimately, this could be a deadly punch.

The telescope images show the bully galaxy shooting a stream of deadly radiation particles into the lower section of the other galaxy, which is about one-tenth its size. Both are about 8.2 billion trillion miles from here, orbiting around each other.

The larger galaxy has a multi-digit name but is called the “death star galaxy” by one of the researchers who discovered the galactic bullying, Daniel Evans of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Tens of millions of stars, including those with orbiting planets, are likely in the path of the deadly jet, said study co-author Martin Hardcastle of the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

If Earth were in the way — and it’s not — the high-energy particles and radiation of the jet would in a matter of months strip away the planet’s protective ozone layer and compress the protective magnetosphere, said Evans. That would then allow the sun and the jet itself to bombard the planet with high-energy particles.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071217/ap_on_sc/death_star