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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Completes Last Asteroid Flyby Before Heading Home

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NASA’s ambitious Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) has been in orbit of the asteroid Bennu since 2018, but it’s getting ready to call it a day and head home. NASA reports that OSIRIS-REx has completed a last-minute addition to its mission profile: one final flyby of Bennu to see how its activities changed the surface of the object. 

OSIRIS-REx arrived at Bennu in late 2018, but NASA spent almost two years studying the space rock before OSIRIS-REx got down to business. The spacecraft’s Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) allowed it to drift down and tap the asteroid, discharging a burst of compressed nitrogen. OSIRIS-REx did just that in late 2020, scooping up what could be more than two pounds of regolith. NASA would have considered the mission a success at just 2.1 ounces (60 grams). 

NASA says OSIRIS-REx will depart Bennu on May 10th. The long wait is mostly thanks to orbital mechanics — if the spacecraft waits until May to leave orbit, it will use less fuel to get back to Earth. This also gave the team time to plan the now-complete final tour, which happened early on April 7th. 

OSIRIS-REx spent almost six hours taking images of Bennu during the pre-programmed maneuver. It covered more than a full rotation of the asteroid, but the area around the “Nightingale” sample site will be the most interesting. “By surveying the distribution of the excavated material around the TAG site, we will learn more about the nature of the surface and subsurface materials along with the mechanical properties of the asteroid,” said Dr. Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona. 

With the flyby done, all NASA has to do now is download the data. That’s easier said than done, though. At a distance of 185 million miles (297 million kilometers), the Deep Space Network can only manage a data rate of 412 kilobits per second. Plus, OSIRIS-REx has to share time on the network with NASA’s other space missions. With just a few hours of downloading per day, NASA expects it will take another week to get the multiple gigabytes of data OSIRIS-REx collected. 

After getting underway on May 10th, it will take OSIRIS-REx two years to return home. The sample container with pristine samples of an ancient asteroid should land in the Utah Test and Training Range on September 24, 2023.

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Christine Sinclair’s return highlights Canadian camp roster heading into friendlies

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair is back in the mix as the Canadian women’s national team gathers in England ahead of two European friendlies later this month. 

Sinclair, international soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer with 186 goals, who sat out the SheBelieves Cup in February due to injury, was among the 26 players called to camp by head coach Bev Priestman as Canada continues to take shape ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.  

The No. 8 Canadians play world No. 31 Wales on April 9 at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff before an April 13 match-up with No. 6 England at Stoke City Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Priestman, a native of Consett, England, who spent the last two and a half years as an assistant with England. 

“The matches against Wales and England in April are again critical to our preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Priestman said in a statement. 

“If you look at both teams, they have had success against top-10 teams over the past two years and obviously England were semifinalists at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, which will be a great Tier 1 test to assess players and where this group is at. I’m excited to get back in with the group and continue building towards where we want to be come the summer.”

WATCH | Analyzing Canada’s performance at SheBelieves Cup:

Signa Butler is joined by John Molinaro and Harjeet Johal, to assess Team Canada’s performance in their debut at the SheBelieves Cup and which players made the most of their opportunity, for the notably short-handed Canadian side. 7:20

Last chance to gage potential Olympic roster

This is Canada’s second camp in 2021 after being idle for 11 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various travel and health restrictions. It’s also perhaps the last chance to get on Priestman’s radar look before the team is chosen for the Olympic Games.

The SheBelieves Cup, Priestman’s first tournament in charge since taking the reins in October, wasn’t a true evaluation of the Canadian squad as it was beset by player issues and availability issues. 

They won one game — 1-0 stoppage time win over Argentina — and lost two, a hard-fought 1-0 loss to the No. 1 United States and a 2-0 defeat to fellow No. 8 Brazil. 

While there were positives in the tournament, such as four players earning their first caps and younger players getting valuable playing time, goal scoring continued to be an issue. Dating back to February 2020, Canada has been outscored 9-3 in its last seven matches (1-4-2). Even more worrisome is their recent record against top-10 teams – 0-8-2, where they’ve been outscored 20-3. 

Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada’s reigning player of the year and a standout centre back with Olympique Lyonnais, is unavailable for medical reasons. 

The only new face to the camp is uncapped Cloe Lacasse, a 27-year-old forward from Sudbury, Ont., who plays in Portugal for Benfica.

Canada’s roster:

Goalkeepers: Rylee Foster (Liverpool FC), Stephanie Labbé (Rosengård), Erin McLeod (Orlando Pride)

Defenders: Lindsay Agnew (North Carolina Courage), Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Vanessa Gilles (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain), Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan), Jade Rose (Super REX Ontario), Shelina Zadorsky (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Samantha Chang (University of South Carolina), Jessie Fleming (Chelsea FC), Julia Grosso (University of Texas at Austin), Jordyn Listro (Orlando Pride), Quinn (OL Reign FC), Sophie Schmidt (Houston Dash),  Desiree Scott (Kansas City NWSL), Sarah Stratigakis (University of Michigan)

Forwards: Janine Beckie (Manchester City FC), Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain),  Cloe Lacasse (Benfica), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns), Evelyne Viens (Sky Blue FC), 

Unavailable due to medical reasons: Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyonnais), Adriana Leon (F, West Ham United), Kailen Sheridan (GK, Sky Blue FC), Sabrina D’Angelo (Vittsjö GIK), Diana Matheson (MF, Kansas City NWSL), Bianca St-Georges (D, Chicago Red Stars)

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Keegan Messing thrilled with life, pending fatherhood and figure skating heading into worlds

When COVID-19 forced the closure of gyms in Alaska, Keegan Messing got creative.

The Canadian figure skater hoisted the batteries out of two cars, and used the 36-pound car parts as weights. His chainsaw was the perfect replacement for a lighter weight, at around 20 pounds.

“I was holding two [car] batteries doing one-legged squats in my living room, or doing [a] vertical leap and actually hitting my head on the ceiling,” Messing said with a laugh. “I just think it’s funny.”

Canadian figure skaters have been grounded since the global pandemic forced cancellation of the world championships last March. Despite the unique hurdles in this bizarre abbreviated season, Messing said he’s in great shape ahead of next week’s world championships in Stockholm.

“That initial shutdown [last spring] was really hard, it was the longest time I was ever off the ice [seven weeks], but we’ve had solid training time since then.”

The big difference was the off-ice training. When the gyms eventually reopened, Messing still didn’t feel safe enough inside one, and so improvised. He snagged a rubber mat from the rink to practise his jumps, so he wouldn’t be landing on hard concrete.

“It’s been a lot of improvising, but honestly, training has been going excellent this year,” he said.


‘I am over the moon about this whole thing; I have been training harder than ever, and I’m just just happy about day-to-day life,’ Messing on the joy of impending fatherhood. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Messing is Canada’s lone men’s singles entry at worlds, which he said was bittersweet. Messing and fellow skater Nam Nguyen are good friends, and he’d have been happy, he said, if either one of them earned the spot.

“Nam and I, honestly, we were on the phone almost…gosh, it had to have been daily, if not twice daily, leading up to the decision, or even leading up to our evaluation/monitoring session,” Messing said.

Skate Canada selected Messing after conducting remote video sessions — think: figure skating’s version of a Zoom call — with individual skaters.

The one spot comes with a big responsibility. A top-10 finish would clinch Canada two spots in the event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“When I got it, [Nguyen] had nothing but support for me,” Messing said.

Messing, who lives in Girdwood just outside Anchorage and has dual citizenship, is the only Canadian skater to have competed in a live event this season because of Canadian travel restrictions. He won bronze at Skate America in Las Vegas, and dedicated that performance the national teammates he hasn’t seen in over a year.

WATCH | Canada’s Keegan Messing earns bronze at Skate America:

Sherwood Park, Alta., native Keegan Messing finishes in 3rd place at Skate America. 7:35

“Skating for the team at Skate America, it was one of the best things I could have done. I took the ice and even re-watching the video, right before I took my pose, I can see it in my face when I thought of the team, and thought ‘This is for you guys.’

“I really feel for them because they had worlds [last March in Montreal] taken from them, they had Skate Canada taken from them, and then they had nationals taken from them. They have been the real MVPs of this fight. They have been going to the rink, they have been training their butts off for these competitions and getting the rug taken out from them time and time again.”

Impending fatherhood

Last season’s shutdown came after what was already a difficult season for Messing. His younger brother Paxon died in a motorcycle crash in September of 2019, just before the season’s opening event.

But Keegan spoke with delight on a recent Zoom call about his impending fatherhood. He and his wife Lane Hodson are expecting a baby on July 4. They announced the news on Instagram, posting a photo of tiny skates sandwiched between his and his wife’s skates.

“I feel happy all the time, I get to feel the baby kick, and it just fills my heart with joy,” Messing said. “I am over the moon about this whole thing; I have been training harder than ever, and I’m just just happy about day-to-day life.”

Messing said apart from training, his backyard rink has kept him busy. He’s expanded on it, and even built a crashed ice course with ramps and jumps. Since learning about the worlds going ahead, he’s stayed off the course for safety reasons. An avid outdoorsman, he also lamented having to stay off the ski slopes since Alaska has been basking in gorgeous weather.

Messing faced a long trip to Stockholm, with stops in Seattle and Amsterdam along the way. Messing said he and his team have carefully mapped out the precautions he needs to take for every leg of the trip.

High spirits ahead of worlds

The International Skating Union announced in late January that the world championships would still happen, despite COVID-19 raging again in Europe. The event is being held with no spectators.

Messing said he remains optimistic about travelling amid the pandemic.

“That’s one thing I’m not letting myself think about too much,” Messing said. “As soon as you start worrying, your whole mental state goes down and that’s one of the most important things right now I think is to keep your mental spirits high and optimistic.”

The prospect of seeing his teammates is keeping his spirits high.

“For them to be keeping their heads up, and to be still pursuing this sport [after so many cancellations this season], I have to hand it to them, they’re being incredibly strong people that I really, really admire,” he said. “And I’m just very honoured that I get to compete side by side with them.”

Since he and his wife have no TV or WiFi at their home, Messing hasn’t watched any skating competition this season other than what he saw at Skate America. But American Nathan Chen and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu are the favourites in the field.

The event opens Wednesday with the women’s and pairs short program. The men’s event begins with the short program on Thursday.

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Freeland heading to Cuba next week to talk Venezuela

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will head to Cuba next week for talks with her counterpart there on the situation in Venezuela.

Freeland made the announcement following a meeting today with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where the deepening political and economic crisis in the South American country was on the agenda.

Freeland said while sanctions are part of the pressure being applied to force Nicolas Maduro out of the country’s presidency, all avenues for peace must be explored.

The Trump administration confirmed this week it has been holding talks with Maduro’s regime to find a way out of the situation.

Pompeo said that did not mark a shift in U.S. strategy and that there is no chance for fair and free elections there if Maduro remains.

The democratic deadlock in the country has further crippled its economy and sent millions of Venezuelans fleeing into nearby countries.

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Canada women’s soccer heading to Japan to play 1st game since World Cup

Canada’s women’s soccer team will face host Japan in its first match since being eliminated in the round of 16 at the World Cup.

The friendly against the 2011 Women’s World Cup champs goes Oct. 6 in Shizuoka.

Japan is 6-4-3 against Canada all time, though the Canadians won 2-0 in the most recent meeting at the 2018 Algarve Cup.

Canada is 7-2-3 this year, but lost 1-0 to Sweden in the first elimination round at the World Cup in France in June. Japan also lost in the round of 16, falling to the Netherlands.

Canada is gearing up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification tournament early next year.

“It is crucial as a program that we qualify and deliver a massive performance at the [Olympics],” Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said in a statement. “From the FIFA Women’s World Cup forward, there are elements that we need to keep doing, but we also need to improve and focus our attention on those solutions to put together an even better performance in 2020.”

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‘Game of Thrones’ Creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss Heading to Netflix With Massive Overall Deal

‘Game of Thrones’ Creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss Heading to Netflix With Massive Overall Deal | Entertainment Tonight

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George and Amal Clooney Look Effortlessly Glam Heading Off for a Helicopter Ride in Italy

George and Amal Clooney Look Effortlessly Glam Heading Off for a Helicopter Ride in Italy | Entertainment Tonight

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Israel heading to 2nd election as Netanyahu fails to form new government

Israel’s parliament has voted to dissolve itself, sending the country to an unprecedented second snap election this year as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition before a midnight deadline.

Parliament voted early Thursday 74-45 to disperse and call new elections.

The dramatic vote, less than two months after the most recent parliamentary election, marked a setback for Netanyahu and sent the longtime leader’s future into turmoil.

Netanyahu, who has led Israel for the past decade, had appeared to capture a fourth consecutive term in the April 9 elections. But infighting among his allies, and disagreement over proposed bills to protect Netanyahu from prosecution stymied his efforts to form a majority coalition.

“I didn’t spare any effort to avoid unnecessary elections,” Netanyahu said after the vote, lashing out at his ally-turned-rival, Avigdor Lieberman, who refused the prime minister’s offers to join the government.

Had the deadline passed without the vote, Israel’s president would have given another lawmaker, most likely Opposition leader Benny Gantz, an opportunity to put together a coalition.

After the vote, Gantz angrily accused Netanyahu of choosing self-preservation over allowing the country’s political process to run its course. Gantz said Netanyahu opted for “three crazy months” of a new campaign and millions of wasted dollars over new elections because he is “legally incapacitated” by looming indictments.

“There is no other reason,” Gantz said.

The country now plunges into a new election campaign that will last at least three months under Israeli law. With much of the country on vacation in late August, a tentative date of Sept. 17 was set.


A man hangs a poster of Netanyahu in Jerusalem during the April 2019 election campaign. Israelis are expected to head to the polls for a second vote on Sept. 17. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

The campaign looks to complicate Netanyahu’s precarious legal standing. Israel’s attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against him in three separate corruption cases, pending a hearing scheduled for October.

Even if Netanyahu wins the election, it is unlikely he will be able to form a government and lock down the required political support for an immunity deal before an expected indictment. That would force him to stand trial and put heavy pressure on him to step aside.

The political uncertainty could also spell trouble for the White House’s Mideast peace efforts. The U.S. has scheduled a conference next month in Bahrain to unveil what it says is the first phase of its peace plan, an initiative aimed at drawing investment into the Palestinian territories.

But with the Palestinians — who accuse the U.S. of being unfairly biased toward Israel — opposed to the plan, and Netanyahu preoccupied with re-election, it remains unclear how the Americans will be able to proceed. U.S. President Donald Trump’s top Mideast adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, was in Israel and scheduled to meet with Netanyahu on Thursday.


Talks failed Wednesday to find a compromise that would allow Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu faction to join Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

That Netanyahu struggled to secure a majority coalition in the 120-seat parliament was a shocking turn of events for the country’s dominating political figure. In the April 9 vote, Netanyahu’s Likud party and its hardline nationalist and religious parties captured a majority of 65 seats.

The immediate cause of the crisis was Netanyahu’s dispute with Lieberman, a former aide who leads the small Yisrael Beiteinu faction. The men had clashed over Lieberman’s demand to subject ultra-Orthodox religious males to the military draft, which is compulsory for most Jewish males.

Without Lieberman’s five parliamentary seats, Netanyahu had no majority. But the deeper issue is connected to Netanyahu’s legal troubles.

Facing a likely indictment, he had pushed his coalition partners to pass legislation that would grant him immunity and curb the powers of the country’s Supreme Court. Opposition parties strongly oppose granting Netanyahu immunity, robbing him of any alternatives to Lieberman as he tried to form a coalition.

Secular versus orthodox agendas

Though a staunch nationalist, Lieberman also champions a secular agenda aimed toward his core political base of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and has pledged to confront efforts of the ultra-Orthodox parties to impose their lifestyle on the country’s secular majority.

“I am not against the ultra-Orthodox community. I am for the state of Israel. I am for a Jewish state but against a Halachicstate,” Lieberman wrote on Facebook early Wednesday, using a term that refers to a Jewish state governed by Jewish law.

The ultra-Orthodox parties consider conscription a taboo, fearing that military service will lead to immersion in secularism, and insist the exemptions stay in place. Netanyahu, dependent on their political support, says they have compromised enough and is refusing to press them further.

Netanyahu maintained contacts with Lieberman and other parties in hopes of forging a deal as a parliamentary debate took place. Many of the Likud speakers lashed out at Lieberman, accusing him of forcing an unnecessary election.

But as a parliamentary debate stretched toward midnight, it became clear there would be no compromise.

A bitter Netanyahu claimed after the vote that Lieberman “had no intention” to compromise and made unrealistic demands.

“He is dragging the entire country for another half a year of elections,” he said.

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How you protect your heart (and health) heading into Daylight Saving Time

You're probably already dreading putting your clock ahead when daylight saving time starts this Sunday and plenty of research shows that's not without good reason.

Several studies have found springing ahead comes with a slew of negative consequences, including decreased productivity and a spike in traffic accidents.

A 2014 study out of the University of Colorado found a 25 per cent increase in the risk for heart attacks the Monday after daylight saving time starts.

It also noted a corresponding decrease in the risk for heart attacks at the end of daylight saving time in the fall.

Dr. Tami Martino, director of the Centre for Cardiovascular Investigations at the University of Guelph, said there can be negative effects anytime our bodies become out of sync with the environment.

That's because the circadian clock, the 24-hour cycle that's encoded in our DNA, is a fundamental part of our health.

The daily cycle

"Essentially every single cell in our body is connecting with just light. It's connecting our bodies to the outside universe, to the sun and the sky, and sort of syncing us with the environment," Martino said.

"Studies by our group and lots of others show that when that happens — we call that circadian dyssynchrony — or when we get light at the wrong time, it's hazardous to our health."

Everything from cortisol levels to blood sugar and metabolism is tied to the cycle of light and dark, Martino said.

Her research has also found patients recovering from heart attacks heal better when their day-night cycles aren't interrupted.

It's easy for the body to get out of sync, though.

"Maintaining normal sleep and circadian rhythms, not being on your phones, not getting the blue light from your computers at night would be one thing that would keep your body a little bit in sync in the first place, even before you add this added effect of daylight saving time on top," she said.​

No more changing clocks?

The growing body of research on this issue has prompted places around the world to reconsider daylight saving time.

The European Commission put forward a proposal in 2018 to end the practice, and a private member's bill to eliminate daylight saving time in November 2019 is currently before the Manitoba legislature.

There are already some places in Canada that won't be setting their clocks ahead this Sunday. Saskatchewan is currently the only province where all municipalities don't observe daylight saving time.

In Ontario, there are three towns where the clocks stay the same year round.

Dennis Brown, the mayor on Atikokan, said there have been multiple attempts to get the northwestern Ontario township to adopt daylight saving time. So far, they haven't stuck.

"I know it's not perfect, because it does cause some confusion, you know for patient care at the hospital, administrative problems with outside visitors and that kind of thing," he said.

"But people, you know, the majority want it to stay the way it is."

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CBC | Health News

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Grab Coffee Before Heading to Airport

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin are just living their best lives.

The engaged couple was snapped leaving a Starbucks in New York City on Saturday, a day after the 21-year-old model took to Twitter to address rumors that she and Bieber were already married.

While on their coffee run before heading to the airport, a fresh-faced Baldwin looked comfy and chic in a black leather jacket, crop top, black sweatpants and orange-and-white sneakers. She accessorized with two silver necklaces and her stunning engagement ring in full view. The 24-year-old “As Long As You Love Me” crooner, on his end, opted for a fun watercolor Nike hoodie, matching sweatpants and white sneakers.

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin

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Baldwin will be heading to England for London Fashion Week, where she will be a part of the Falcon show with Adidas.

“London, I’m coming for you! It’s just two days until my ‘90s inspired Falcon show with @adidasOriginals. Stay tuned to @JDWomen for exclusive BTS previews @adidasOriginals @jdofficial,” she wrote on Instagram on Saturday.

On Friday, multiple outlets reported that Baldwin and Bieber said “I do” one day earlier in NYC after they were seen at the Marriage Bureau.

“I understand where the speculation is coming from, but I’m not married yet!” the model tweeted, putting the rumor to rest.

A source told ET at the time that while Bieber and Baldwin did register for a marriage license, they were only getting a license and did not have a marriage ceremony. The marriage license Bieber and Baldwin obtained becomes valid after 24 hours and remains valid for another 60 days anywhere in the state of New York. Should the lovebirds want to get married overseas, they would have to have a civil service in the state first to make it legal.

See more on the couple in the video below.

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