News Briefs: On Campus, Across the Nation & Around the World

Scientists study ancient comet

A comet known as Siding Spring passed close by Mars, giving scientists the chance to study it, according to BBC News.
Rovers on Mars were able to gain vital information on the comet as it passed by the planet, missing the surface by 139,500 km.
Siding Spring comes from the Oort Cloud, a region of space far from our solar system, according to the article.  Its proximity to Mars gave scientists the ability to study a comet that is believed to be over 4.5 billion years old.
Carey Lisse, a scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, believes that “Siding Spring probably got knocked into the inner Solar System by the passage of a star near the Oort Cloud.”
She expressed excitement at the opportunity to study the ancient comet
“[Siding Spring] started to travel probably at the dawn of man and it’s just now coming in.  And the reason we can actually observe it is because we’ve built satellites and rovers and we’ve now got these outposts on Mars.  That’s pretty exciting,” Lisse said.
Siding Spring is the first comet from the Oort Cloud that has ever been researched, and the findings from the studies will be released soon, according to the article.


Gunfire erupts across Korean border

South and North Korean soldiers opened fire upon each other at the Korean border, according to the New York Times.
Ten North Korean soldiers repeatedly approached the military demarcation zone, a two-mile wide demilitarized zone, despite constant warnings from South Korean guards, according to the New York Times.
This prompted gunfire to be exchanged between the two parties, with no casualties reported.  According to the article, earlier this month, gunfire was exchanged after North Korean troops attempted to shoot down balloons carrying anti-North Korean pamphlets.
Later that week, generals from both sides met along the border in an attempt to ease tensions, but the negotiations did little to improve relations.
The North accused South Korean President Park Guen-hye for the deteriorating relations, saying that she committed an “unpardonable politically motivated provocation,” when she advised the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The two sides had previously agreed to resume peace talks later this month, but the recent violent actions from both sides have put these talks in serious doubt.


Suicide bomber kills 18

A suicide bomber in Baghdad’s affluent Harthiyah area killed 18 people when he set off a bomb, according to BBC News.
The man detonated the bomb at a funeral in a Shia Mosque, and is believed to have been a member of the Islamic State.
IS militants had been engaged in conflict in the surrounding areas all week, with the recent bombing taking place after the militants were believed to have been pushed back, according to the article.
IS renewed attacks over the weekend, but were again beaten back with aid from US air strikes.
These recent attacks occurred around the time that Iraqi troops were attempting to take back the city of Baiji from IS control.  The operation failed, however, when an IS ambush caused the death of four soldiers.
These recent acts of violence are a common thread when describing IS, who have violently lashed out at any party that doesn’t agree with their interpretation of Islam.


Texas uses strict voter ID laws in upcoming election

The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use their strict voter laws in the November elections, a decision that does not sit well for everyone, according to the New York Times.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the unhappy people.
“[The laws] risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg said.
The law requires that voters must present photo identification such as a driver’s license or a gun license in order to vote.
Justice Ginsburg believes that this law will prevent more than 600,000 registered voters from being able to participate in the voting process.  She said acquiring a form of identification is not an easy process, and it could cause the disenfranchisement of 4.5percent of Texas voters.
Texas officials disagree with her assessment, saying that the estimate of 600,000 disenfranchised voters is to be high.


Matthew Garvin

Staff Writer

Published October 22, 2014