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One of the six ravens in the Tower of London has disappeared
Workers fear he is dead, which could be a grim sign for the UK. According to legend, if there are less than six ravens in the Tower, the kingdom will perish.
The fusion energy device kept a temperature of 180 million degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 million degrees Celsius, for 20 seconds
The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) fusion reactor recently set a world record by maintaining its plasma temperature at a super-hot 180 million degrees Fahrenheit for 20 seconds. It may not seem like a long time, but no previous fusion plant has operated for more than 10 seconds under these conditions - even the KSTAR reactor only lasted eight seconds in 2019.
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Kamala Devi Harris is sworn in as the country's first female, Black, Asian American vice president - CNBC
Kamala Harris was sworn in Wednesday as the nation's first female, Black and South Asian American vice president.
Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in Wednesday as the nation's first female, Black and South Asian American vice president. She took her oath moments before Joe Biden was set to be sworn in as the nation's 46th president. Sonia Sotomayor, America's first Latina Supreme Court justice, administered the vice presidential oath of office to Harris. Harris and Biden on Inauguration Day inherit a country facing the Covid crisis, an economic downturn and demands for racial justice. A daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris has made history throughout her career. As a U.S. senator for California, Harris, 56, was the second Black woman and first South Asian American to serve in the upper chamber. Before her Senate tenure, Harris was the first female, Black and South Asian American attorney general of California. Harris also served as district attorney of San Francisco. Harris ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary before joining Biden's ticket. Her record as a prosecutor at times sparked criticism from progressive advocates for criminal justice reform, though Harris has said she sought reform from within those roles. Harris clashed with Biden during first Democratic debate, criticizing his record on racial justice issues. An alumna of Howard University and member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Harris is also the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and to be in a historically Black Greek letter organization. After her own inauguration, Harris is set to swear in three barrier-breaking senators in her new role as president of the upper chamber. Alex Padilla, appointed by California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as Harris' successor, will be the first Latino senator from the state. Following a competitive January runoff elections, the Rev. Raphael Warnock will be the first Black senator from Georgia and Jon Ossoff will be the first Jewish senator from the Peach State. The new Democratic senators will create a 50-50 split between the two party caucuses in the Senate, giving Democrats a slim majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. On the campaign trail, Harris often recalled a message her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, told her, "You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last."
Navalny releases investigation into decadent billion-dollar 'Putin palace' - CNN
Even locked up in a detention center on the outskirts of Moscow, Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny continues to be a thorn in Russian President Vladimir Putin's side.
Moscow (CNN)Even locked up in a detention center on the outskirts of Moscow, Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny continues to be a thorn in Russian President Vladimir Putin's side. Late Tuesday, which marked the opposition leader's first day at the infamous Matrosskaya Tishina facility, his team dropped a colossal investigation into the President's wealth, offering Russians to take look into what they allege is "Putin's palace" on the Black Sea. Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) called the report their "biggest investigation yet." It contains allegations of vast corruption schemes related to what they say is Putin's property estimated to be worth around $1.4 billion. CNN is not independently able to verify the FBK's claims. Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied the Russian leader was linked to the estate on Tuesday. "They are repeating the old story. It was the year of 2017 or 2016, if I'm not mistaken, that the first time it was mentioned there should be the so-called palace of Putin in Gelendzhik. This is not true. There is no palace, he is not an owner of any palace," Peskov told CNN. "Those are all rumors and there were some disputes between the owners of those premises but they really have no connection with President Putin." The existence of the property was first reported over a decade ago when a businessman Sergey Kolesnikov published an open letter with various documents urging then-President Dmitry Medvedev to "stop the corruption" that funds the construction of the alleged palace. But Navalny's new investigation, which he says he thought of while getting treated at the Berlin Charite clinic, purports to show the scale of the estate and expose dubious financial schemes behind the grand project. The report and an almost two-hour-long documentary film also offer a more comprehensive look inside the palace. FBK says a subcontractor involved in construction handed over detailed plans of the building along with itemized lists of purchased furniture and samples of floor patterns. The group then used these documents and photos obtained from construction workers to create 3D-models of the interiors. "This is like a state within a state where one irremovable czar rules," Navalny says in the documentary. "It is built in a way that no one can reach it by land, sea or air, thousands of people working there are banned from bringing even a simple cell phone with a camera... but we will take a look inside." According to the plans, the 17,691-square-meter castle features 11 bedrooms, several living rooms and dining halls, a private theater, a movie theater, a Las Vegas style casino, two spas and a hammam, a bakery, and a "dirt room" with an unknown purpose. The rooms, adorned with velvet and lush carpets, feature marble floors, columns, and intricate ceiling decorations made to resemble St. Petersburg royal palaces. A separate part of the report is dedicated to descriptions of staggeringly expensive furniture made to order by a luxury Italian brand, including a $56,000 table and a $27,000 sofa. Described on the FBK site as "the most controversial room in Putin's palace," the plan also features a hookah lounge with what appears to be a dancer's pole. As the Navalny site sarcastically states: "On the plan it is designated as a 'hookah room.' And all would be fine, but there is not a single window in that room, but for some reason there is a stage, a dressing room, spotlights, and something very similar to a pole drawn on the plan. We thought for a long time what it could be. Perhaps they make giant shawarmas there... Or it's a training ground for firefighters." Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation says the castle's costs have skyrocketed due to constant renovations, according to interviews with people who worked at the site. The house initially had critical issues with the ventilation system and humidity levels, which led to many rich interiors being destroyed due to mold, according to the FBK's probe. FBK says the property surrounding the palace itself is estimated to occupy 68 hectares but adds that the actual estate is likely about 100 times bigger, with a large adjacent plot of land that allegedly belongs to the Federal Security Service, or the FSB, as a buffer to the estate. According to the drone videos shot by FBK, the estate features a private hockey rink, personal church, amphitheater, and a 2,500-square-meter greenhouse. The territory is heavily guarded with multiple checkpoints leading up to it; the plot of land itself is listed as a no-fly zone, per FBK. The territory boasts sprawling vineyards where classical music is played around the clock, apparently to help the grapes mature, according to members of the vineyard association for the region who heard the music playing during a tour of the estate, the FBK says. Bathrooms at a processing facility in the vineyard are reportedly equipped with an $850 Italian toilet brush and a $1,250 toilet paper holder. Navalny claims that wine-making is Putin's "very expensive hobby" and the Russian President serves this wine to his friends: "He drinks it with his friend from China, Xi Jinping, and, under the same chardonnay, discusses 'deeper integration' with [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko," according to pictures of menus he says were served during official receptions. Navalny also claims to have uncovered a convoluted scheme to finance the property and other personal expenses of the President. The report claims that Putin, at the beginning of his presidency, struck a deal with Russian oligarchs and wealthy businessmen to "donate" some of their income to an investment firm. But 35% of those donations would then go to a special offshore Swiss bank account of a Belize-registered company, Navalny claims. Reuters previously reported on the financial web around the Black Sea property in 2014. Navalny, who was faced with the choice of fading into obscurity as an émigré or returning to Russia and being almost certainly jailed on arrival, chose the latter option. He was detained in a Moscow airport late Sunday moments after arriving from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from Novichok poisoning he blamed on the Russian government. The Kremlin repeatedly denied any involvement. The next morning Navalny faced an unexpected hearing where the judge ordered him to be placed in custody for 30 days. He now awaits trial to determine whether he violated the terms of his suspended sentence in a 2014 embezzlement case he says was politically motivated. Following the verdict on his detention, Navalny's team announced a nationwide demonstration this weekend, and the report is seen as a way to draw more Russians to the streets. "Most of all, I want that the same kind of anger that burns in me burns in the people who watch this video," Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh tweeted. "Putin is robbing my country, imprisoning my friends, he is a murderer. And I want to fight back. Moscow, Pushkin Square... I'll be there. I hope to see you there too." In less than a day, the documentary has eclipsed 25 million views on YouTube and is looking to overtake the report into the wealth of Medvedev, and Navalny's investigations into his own poisoning. The documentary showing Medvedev's mansion, among other things, was viewed more than 37 million times and led to several mass protests across Russia. At the time the Kremlin called calls for protest illegal and Medvedev dismissed the report as "nonsense." The demonstrations ended in mass detentions; in Moscow alone around 1,000 people were arrested. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this report.
SpaceX expands public beta test of Starlink satellite internet to Canada and the UK - CNBC
Elon Musk's company is now offering early public access to its Starlink satellite internet service in Canada and the U.K.
A Starlink user terminal attached to the roof of a building. SpaceX has launched more than 1,000 of its Starlink high-speed internet satellites to date and, as it seeks regulatory approval in other countries, Elon Musk's company is now offering early public access to the service in Canada and the U.K. "Earlier this month we expanded our 'Better than Nothing Beta' program to include customers across the pond in the United Kingdom," SpaceX lead manufacturing engineer Jessie Anderson said during the company's launch webcast on Wednesday. "Within the northern U.S. and Canada, and now the U.K., we are focused on rural and remote areas where there is no easy access to fiber or cable," Anderson added. SpaceX began the public beta program in October, with service priced at $99 a month, in addition to a $499 upfront cost to order the Starlink Kit, which includes a user terminal and Wi-Fi router to connect to the satellites. Starlink is SpaceX's plan to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, designed to deliver high-speed internet to anywhere on the planet. The network is an ambitious endeavor, which SpaceX has said will cost about $10 billion or more to build. But the company's leadership estimates that Starlink could bring in as much as $30 billion a year, or more than 10 times the annual revenue of its rocket business. SpaceX deploys 60 Starlink satellites in orbit. SpaceX launched its 17th Starlink mission from Florida on Wednesday morning, with a Falcon 9 rocket carrying another batch of 60 satellites to orbit. The launch also marked a milestone for SpaceX's reuse of its rockets, with the Falcon 9 booster launching and landing for a record eighth time. Musk has previously said that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets are designed to launch and land up to 10 times without major repairs or refurbishment. Anderson noted that, in addition to individuals in rural areas of the northern U.S., SpaceX has signed up the town of Marysville, Ohio, and Virginia's Wise County Public School District for Starlink service. In the Ontario province of Canada, the rural indigenous community of Pikangikum First Nation became the first in the country to receive Starlink service. Pikangikum is about 300 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg and has a population of less than 3,000 people, with about 400 to 500 households. SpaceX partnered with Canadian information and technology services company FSET to bring Starlink user terminals to the Pikangikum community. Satellite internet connectivity kits for SpaceX's Starlink are delivered via airplane to the remote Canadian indegenous community of Pikangikum First Nation. "I hope that this gives them, the younger generations, a little bit of hope," Pikangikum Health Authority victim services leader Vernon Kejick said in a video on SpaceX's launch webcast. "We're creating a pathway for the younger people." The Starlink kits were delivered via airplane, which is the main way the community connects with more populated areas of Canada. "There's still a lot of work to do, but at least we have access to technology and information, and hopefully that playing field is at least a little closer to being level," FSET CEO Dave Brown said on the launch webcast on Wednesday. Starlink recently received approval to begin operating in the U.K., where it is priced at £89 per month plus the £439 cost of the kit. It's unclear how many homes and offices are currently using Starlink's service. SpaceX continues to look to expand Starlink internationally, with public records showing the company registered in Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain. The company also requested market access in Japan, and Musk has talked about Starlink coming to India and the Caribbean as well. Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.