Hawking in $100m project to search for alien life


On the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing (or, yawn, was it…?)  Prof Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner announced a $100million project to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life.

CBS reports that the most extensive project of its kind, named “Breakthrough Listen”, 

..will survey the one million closest stars to Earth, across the plane of the Milky Way and toward its center where stars are densely packed and even other nearby galaxies.

The program’s instruments and detectors will be sensitive enough to discern emissions from Earth-level technologies, like air defense radars, some 2,000 light years away.

Hawking, of course, is famously on record as saying five years ago that finding alien life might not necessarily be a good thing.

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” the Times quotes him as saying.


* POLITICS * Closer to home, the Republican party continues to wrestle with its own “alien” problem, as Donald Trump emerged – in the aftermath of his controversial remarks about Sen John McCain at the weekend – as the clear GOP front-runner in a new Washington Post/ABC poll.

Although his support had fallen over the four days of the poll, he easily led the field with 24 per cent support – well ahead of his nearest rivals, Scott Walker on 13 per cent and Jeb Bush on 12 per cent.

The Des Moines Register – the most influential newspaper in the early primary state of Iowa – called on Trump to withdraw from the race. The paper writes in an editorial:

In the five weeks since he announced his campaign to seek the GOP nomination for president, Trump has been more focused on promoting himself, and his brand, than in addressing the problems facing the nation. If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes.


* WORLD * As part of the latest official crackdown on corruption in China, a top aide of former President Hu Jintao has been arrested and removed from all official positions. 

Turkey is tightening security on its border with Syria after a suspected suicide bomb attack killed more than 30 people. Official statements blamed ISIS. Later, in Istanbul, pro-Kurdish demonstrators clashed with police.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved the agreement on Iran’s nuclear development reached between Tehran and the US and its allies last week. With the US congress now engaged in review of the deal, Secretary of State John Kerry will brief members of the House and Senate later this week.

And Sec Kerry will make an historic trip to Cuba to formally reopen the US embassy in Havana on August 14.


* BUSINESS * Toshiba President Hisao Tanaka is set to resign on Tuesday in the wake of a $1.2bn accounting scandal that saw the corporation overstate profits for six years.

Apple reports its third-quarter results on Tuesday – its first earnings numbers since the launch of the Apple Watch.

Gold will likely continue to be in the market spotlight on Tuesday as prices continue to hover around five-year lows.

Finally, a couple of pieces of sad news..


* MEDIA * Two top editors at Gawker resigned after a controversial story was removed from the site on Friday.


* CULTURE * “Cheating” website Ashley Madison confirmed that its 37-million person database had been hacked, but did not disclose the extent of the breach. Alleged hackers had demanded that the parent company take the site down, or client information would be published.


(Daily Mirror/Tomorrow’s Papers Today)



Fifa President Sepp Blatter found himself the target of a protest against corruption during a press conference in Zurich. British comedian Simon Brodkin was escorted away by security and the meeting was halted temporarily. When Blatter returned, he announced details of a new Fifa presidential election in February next year, saying he would definitely not be a candidate.

Former Barcelona manager – and current boss of Bayern Munich  – Pep Guardiola will apparently stand in the Catalan election in September on a pro-independence platform.

A BBC investigation has revealed details of the trafficking of underage African players to Asia.

Six minors are still with top Laos side Champasak United, after it imported 23 under-age players from West Africa to an unregistered football academy in February, a BBC investigation found.

Fifa regulations prohibit the movement of players to a foreign club or academy until they are 18.


Finally, in an exciting four-hole play-off, Zach Johnson of the US won the British Open, beating Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Australia’s Marc Leishman.



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