Syria ceasefire all but over, after humanitarian convoy is hit, and four medical staff are killed in airstrikes


The ceasefire deal brokered through a joint US-Russia diplomatic effort appears to be all but over today, after renewed airstrikes destroyed a number of vehicles inside a humanitarian convoy, and killed four medical staff and a number of civilians in a clinic.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes occurred in a village near Syria’s second city, Aleppo, late last night. A makeshift medical center was hit, killing at least four doctors and a group of civilians.

This latest atrocity appears to lay waste to the tenuous ceasefire in the region. It emerged yesterday that a convoy ferrying humanitarian aid into war-torn territory around Aleppo was hit. Eighteen trucks out of a 31-strong convoy were destroyed, dealing a hammerblow to the ceasefire.

Fancy going to the US for 60 quid? Then read on


Who wouldn’t want to hop over the pond for a weekend Stateside on the cheap?

Norwegian Air Shuttle (trading name Norwegian) has announced that a new era of low-cost, no-frills air travel across the Atlantic may be upon us.

The airline, the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, has said that passengers may be able to fly from Cork to Boston from as little as €62 from March 2017. The carrier has provisionally booked departure slots at Cork Airport, pending approval by local authorities.

According to a statement released by Norwegian, the airline is awaiting for the delivery of a new fleet of brand new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The MAX model is a fourth-generation 737 series, featuring a new engine type and several aerodynamic enhancements that will greatly improve fuel consumption efficiency and flying times.

Similar to WOW, however, the low nominal fares might be offset by higher than normal luggage and seat booking fees.

Nevertheless, if the Cork slots are approved, we may soon be able to fly off to the States on a tight budget.

The search for MH370: Charred remains washed ashore in Madagascar handed over to investigators


A series of fire-damaged items, allegedly belonging to the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, have been found washed ashore in the island of Madagascar, thousands of miles away from the presumed crash site.

The items appear to show damage clearly done by fire or high temperatures, which may prove a breakthrough in the thus far stalled search for the truth of what really happened on board the fateful flight.

MH370, a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft with 239 on board, vanished on March 8 2014 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, in what proved to be one of the biggest mysteries of modern aviation.

The flight disappeared without a trace after veering wildly off course, and it is presumed to have crash landed somewhere in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.

Though several theories and conspiracy stories have emerged since the event, no hard proof exists yet as to what really caused the accident.

If these latest remains are positively identified as belonging to MH370, it could provide investigators with a definite line of inquiry into the two-year long mystery.

British sniper kills savage ISIS executioner with a single shot from a mile out


An SAS marksman killed a feared ISIS executioner who was about to set 12 people on fire with a single shot from nearly a mile out.

The ISIS operative, who had been on a kill list for some time, was well known for his brutal method of choice to execute prisoners, a flamethrower.

The sniper team set up a position on ridge overlooking the village where the execution was about to take place. The ISIS man first gave a ranting speech over a loudspeaker, and when he finished and got ready to use his weapon on the civilians, the sniper fired one round into the weapon’s fuel tank, setting it on fire. The conflagration killed the executioner and three other operatives nearby.

The man’s death saved the lives of 12 civilians, who were understood to be accused of being spies, and were about to be burned alive.

The feat is yet another display of expert marksmanship by SAS teams.

Recently, a SAS sniper took out two men with a single shot from 1,000mts. The men were driving a car full of explosives towards a target when the sniper’s bullet thwarted their plans. The round pierced clean through one of the men’s head and lodged in the neck of the other.

Airstrikes across Aleppo and Idlib in Syria kill dozens hours after ceasefire deal is agreed


A number of airstrikes across the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Idlib killed at least 58 people yesterday, with 13 children among the dead.

The airstrikes took place hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a ceasefire deal reportedly backed by the Syrian Government.

It appears that both sides in the conflict are moving fast to consolidate their positions in the war-torn country ahead of the ceasefire, which is due to commence at sundown on Monday.

If the ceasefire holds for seven days, US and Russian military units may turn their weapons on al-Nusra, a terrorist group associated with al-Qaeda operating in the area.

There have been several ceasefire agreements in the past, but they have always failed after either side failed to uphold the conditions.

Unlikely alliance: Syrian Government-backed deal will see US and Russian become allies in war against al Qaeda’s affiliate group al-Nusra


Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Syrian Government has now backed a ceasefire deal brokered by both the US and Russia.

The deal calls for a ceasefire in the war-torn city of Aleppo to start at sundown on Monday, September 12.

If the ceasefire holds for seven days, US and Russia forces will turn their sights against al-Nusra, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization.

Mr. Kerry, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, said “Today we are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking, but it’s dependent on people’s choices.”

Meanwhile, violence still raged on across Aleppo, a now ruined city divided into sectors controlled by opposing factions.

So far, Syrian forces backed by Russian airpower have pounded the rebel-held strongholds, causing grievous losses to civilians in the process.

Syrian army units launched an offensive shortly after the ceasefire announcement was made, presumably in an effort to maximize territorial gains before the Monday deadline.

The Syrian conflict has so far taken the lives of an estimated 400,000 people.

Mo’ money: EU countries ready to pounce on Apple’s billions


EU countries are lining up cap in hand to get a hefty slice of the 19bn money pie baked by the recent tax ruling.

Last month’s EU resolution that Ireland can claim up piles of money in back taxes owed by the tech giant sent shockwaves across the continent, and greatly angered officials in Washington.

The Irish Government however, in all its wisdom, looked at the gift money horse in the mouth and said nay, we’d rather Apple keep it, lest their jobs teat runs dry for us.

Other, more shrewd EU leaders though are keener on getting their fair share of the cash pie in the sky.

Like warring distant cousins at a will reading, Spain, Italy, and Austria have tripped and shoved each other for the pole position in the beggars grid, and are frantically leafing through ledgers to see how much Apple may have pilfered through the years.

And so the wacky race for Apple’s billions begins. Place your bets as to who the winner and the losers may be.

Mars road trip: NASA’s Curiosity rover vehicle beams new pictures of Mars down to Earth, and they look amazing


In yet another display of great human ingenuity, NASA’s Curiosity vehicle has beamed down some amazing new pictures of the Red Planet, taken in the Murray Buttes mesa.

The Martian buttes and mesas rise above the planet’s surface. They are the eroded remnants of ancient sandstone formations that were created by sand deposited by winds.

Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. The landing site, a plain between the northern wall of Gale Crater and the northern slopes of Aeolis Mons, was named Bradbury Landing after well known sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury, who had passed away shortly before Curiosity’s touchdown on Mars.

The vehicle, which is equipped with a plethora of cameras, sensors, and other scientific equipment, has been driving around the planet ever since. Its primary mission is to research the Martian climate and geology, and to ascertain whether conditions around the Gale Crater were ever able to sustain microbial or other type of life.

Gale is an impace crater estimated to be 3.5-3.8bn years old, so Curiosity will be able to pick up samples that will provide great insight into Martian ancient history.

NASA dispatches probe to asteroid that may impact on Earth in about 150 years


NASA has initiated the OSIRIS-REx mission, launching an unmanned probe on a seven-year journey across space to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu and return to Earth with samples gathered from the rock.

The probe successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT) on Sept. 8. If everything goes as scheduled, the probe will reach Bennu in August 2018, take some soil samples from its surface, and return to Earth in September 2023.

Scientists chose Bennu out of thousands of other potential targets primarily because of its size, orbit, composition, and more importantly, its age. The rock is a sort of time-capsule that holds material dating back to the origins of the Solar System. The science team behind the mission hopes to acquire further knowledge about the formation of planets and the Solar System itself.

Bennu’s indeed cataloged as a hazardous object, as its orbit may take it into a direct collision course with Earth late in the 22nd century.

Mont Blanc rescue: All passengers trapped inside cable cars at 3,800ft are brought to safety


110 people became trapped inside cable cars at an altitude of 3,800ft over the slopes of Mont Blanc yesterday, when guide cables became tangled in high winds.

Three helicopters were dispatched to the location, and crews managed to rescue 65 people before nightfall. However, 45 people were forced to spend the night inside the cars at high altitude, as darkness and deteriorating weather hampered rescue efforts. They were provided with blankets and food, and specialist personnel did remain on board with the stranded passengers.

The rescue operation resumed at first light, and the remaining passengers have now been brought to safety.

The cable car system connects Aiguille du Midi on the French side of the mountains with Pointe Helbronner on the Italian border. About one million people a year take the scenic ride, which takes about 30 minutes to complete.