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NASA’s Ingenuity makes its third and fastest flight on Mars



NASA's Ingenuity makes its third and fastest flight on Mars

NASA’s history-making helicopter Ingenuity made its fastest and farthest flight on Mars ever on Sunday.

The four-pound space chopper— which last week became the first controlled aircraft ever to fly on another planet — achieved its groundbreaking third flight at 4.5 mph, roughly four times faster than its previous two journeys, according to NASA.

The cosmically cool gadget also zoomed 330 feet for about 80 seconds, its longest time and distance recorded yet.

“Today’s flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing,” said Dave Lavery, the project’s program executive, said in a statement. “With this flight, we are demonstrating critical capabilities that will enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future Mars missions.”

During the helicopter’s previous two journeys on the Red Planet, it traveled no faster than 1.1 mph and no farther than 12 feet, according to NASA. It also soared about 16 feet above the surface of Mars, roughly the same altitude as previous flights.

“Consider that we never moved laterally more than about two-pencil lengths when we flight-tested in the vacuum chamber here on Earth,” Ingenuity Mars helicopter chief pilot, Håvard Grip, wrote in an update. “As such, Flight Three is a big step, one in which Ingenuity will begin to experience freedom in the sky.”

The Perseverance rover, which aids communication between the helicopter and its mission team on Earth, captured footage of the third flight. The 80-second video is expected to be beamed to Earth in the coming days.

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6-year-old girl fatally shot in San Antonio, suspect arrested



6-year-old girl fatally shot in San Antonio, suspect arrested

A 6-year-old girl was fatally shot at a car club meetup in San Antonio on Sunday night, authorities said.

The girl, identified as Saryah Perez, was struck by gunfire that rang out after a fight broke out at the meetup near Southwest 24th Street and West Commerce Street, KSAT reported.

Perez was inside a vehicle when she was shot. She was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

The child’s mother was also grazed in the back by a bullet, according to police.

By Monday, police had arrested Andrew Elizondo, an acquaintance of the child’s mother, in the shooting.

Elizondo, 23, is charged with capital murder. Police said the shooting was not a case of domestic violence.

With Post wires

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Florida mom accused of helping her son fight another child



Florida mom accused of helping her son fight another child

A Florida mother was arrested after allegedly instructing her son to punch a child in the “balls and gut” in a fight that authorities say she took part in, a report said.

Jamie Gensler, 35, is accused of instigating the fight last Friday night outside a home in Orange City, according to an arrest report obtained by ClickOrlando.

The victim was walking alone when the mother approached and began berating him for recently pushing over a basketball hoop.

She then called on her son to come outside and fight the child, the report said.

Gensler allegedly gave her son directions on where to aim his punches before joining the fray herself.

She is accused of punching and slapping the child as he tried to get off the ground, the report said.

The victim suffered a large cut above his right eye.

Gensler later told police the victim and other children had been trying to get her son to fight them earlier in the day.

Police charged the mother with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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Thousands suspended at Myanmar universities as junta targets education



Thousands suspended at Myanmar universities as junta targets education

More than 11,000 academics and other university staff opposed to Myanmar’s ruling junta have been suspended after going on strike in protest against military rule, a teachers’ group told Reuters.

The suspensions come as the resumption of universities after a year closed due to the coronavirus epidemic prompts a new confrontation between the army and the staff and students who are calling for boycotts over the Feb. 1 coup.

“I feel upset to give up a job that I adored so much, but I feel proud to stand against injustice,” said one 37-year-old university rector, who gave her name only as Thandar for fear of reprisals.

“My department summoned me today. I’m not going. We shouldn’t follow the orders of the military council.”

A professor on a fellowship in the United States said she was told she would have to declare opposition to the strikes or lose her job. Her university authorities had told her every scholar would be tracked down and forced to choose, she told Reuters.

As of Monday, more than 11,100 academic and other staff had been suspended from colleges and universities offering degrees, an official of the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation told Reuters, declining to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Reuters was not immediately able to ascertain exactly what proportion of total staff that figure represents. Myanmar had more than 26,000 teachers in universities and other tertiary education institutions in 2018, according to the most recent World Bank data.

Students and teachers were at the forefront of opposition during nearly half a century of military rule and have been prominent in the protests since the army detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and halted a decade of tentative democratic reforms.

Many teachers, like medics and other government workers, have stopped work as part of a civil disobedience movement that has paralyzed Myanmar. As protests flared after the coup, security forces occupied campuses in the biggest city, Yangon, and elsewhere.

A spokesman for the junta did not respond to phone calls seeking comment on the suspensions.

The junta-controlled Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said teachers and students should cooperate to get the education system started again.

“Political opportunists do not wish to see such development by committing sabotage acts,” it said.


It was not clear to what extent the 11,000 staff suspensions would hamper efforts to reopen colleges but many students are also boycotting classes.

At the public West Yangon Technological University, the student’s union published a list of 180 staff who had been suspended to hail them as heroes.

“I don’t feel sad to miss school,” said 22-year-old Hnin, a student of the Yangon University of Education. “There’s nothing to lose from missing the junta’s education.”

Zaw Wai Soe, education minister in a rival National Unity Government set up underground by opponents of the junta, said he was touched that students had told him they would only return “when the revolution prevails.”

Doubts have also been raised over the return to school of younger students, with institutions now taking registrations for the start of a new year. There are nearly 10 million school students in the country of 53 million.

Protesters daubed “We don’t want to be educated in military slavery” at the entrance of a school in the southern town of Mawlamyine last week, a phrase that has been echoed at demonstrations across Myanmar by students.

“We’ll go to school only when Grandmother Suu is released,” read a banner of students in the northern town of Hpakant at the weekend, referring to detained leader Suu Kyi. “Free all students at once,” said another sign.

Many students are among at least 780 people killed by security forces and the 3,800 in detention, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group.

At least 47 teachers are also among the detainees while arrest warrants have been issued for some 150 teachers on charges of incitement.

Myanmar’s education system was already one of the poorest in the region – and ranked 92 of 93 countries in a global survey last year.

Even under the leadership of Suu Kyi, who had championed education, spending was below 2% of gross domestic product. That was one of the lowest rates in the world, according to World Bank figures.

Students could have little expectation of progress in Myanmar this year, said Saw Kapi, a founding director of the Salween Institute for Public Policy think tank.

“When it comes to education, I would suggest that instead of thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree, you must go to the University of Life with a major in revolution,” he wrote on social media. “You can go for a Masters or PhD later.” 

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