Author: chicagoinquirer

by Marcia Dunn CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.  — A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth. The galactic grand slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 7 million miles (9.6 million kilometers) away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the small space rock at 14,000 mph (22,500 kph). Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit. Telescopes around the world and in space aimed at the same point in the…

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by Collin Binkley President Joe Biden’s plan for student debt cancellation will cost the federal government about $400 billion over the next 30 years, according to new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The figures were released Monday in response to a request from Republican lawmakers who oppose Biden’s plan in large part because of its costs. They were quick to cite the estimates as evidence that the plan will “bury” taxpayers, passing along the costs to huge numbers of Americans who never went to college. The Biden administration previously estimated the plan would cost about $24 billion a year…

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MOSCOW  — Russia on Monday granted citizenship to former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who fled prosecution after he revealed highly classified U.S. surveillance programs to capture communications and data from around the world. A decree signed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin listed Snowden as one of 75 foreign citizens listed as being granted Russian citizenship. After fleeing the U.S. in 2013, Snowden was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship without renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Ties between Washington and Moscow are already at their lowest point…

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by Jay Cohen CHICAGO  — Moments after the game, Justin Fields wanted to get right back to work. “I’m going to go see the film tonight. I played terrible,” Fields said. “See what I could have done better and get better.” Fields’ growth in his second season with the Chicago Bears is one of the biggest priorities for the team at the moment, and it’s clear there is a long way to go for the young quarterback. But Chicago is leaning on its run game and defense in the meantime, and it’s working. Fields passed for just 106 yards and…

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by Jake Coyle NEW YORK — Rihanna will take center stage at February’s Super Bowl halftime show. The singer, who declined to perform in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show out of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, will headline the 2023 Super Bowl, the NFL announced Sunday along with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Apple Music. Rihanna posted an image on Instagram of an arm outstretched holding an NFL football. “Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, whose Roc Nation is an executive producer of the show, said in…

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by Jon Gambrell Only glimpses of videos that make it online show the protests convulsing Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by the nation’s morality police. But those flashes show that public anger across the country, once only simmering, is now boiling. The demonstrations surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini — and the government crackdown emerging to stifle them — represent just the latest cycle of unrest to grip Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. It likely won’t be the last as the Islamic Republic lurches between crises at home and abroad. The window…

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by Ciaran Fahey BERLIN  — He’s done it again. Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge bettered his own world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday. The Kenyan star clocked 2 hours, 1 minute, 9 seconds to shave 30 seconds off his previous best mark of 2:01:39 set on the same course in 2018. “My legs and my body still feel young,” the 37-year-old Kipchoge said. “But the most important thing is my mind, and that also feels fresh and young. I’m so happy to break the world record.” Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa unexpectedly won the women’s race in a course record…

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MATERA, Italy  — Pope Francis traveled to southern Italy on Sunday to close out an Italian church congress that coincided with Italy’s national election, and delivered a message that hit on key domestic campaign issues including immigration. Neither Francis nor his hosts referred to the vote during the open-air Mass, though Italy’s bishops conference had earlier urged Italians to cast ballots in the eagerly watched election that could bring Italy its first far-right government since World War II. At the end of the outdoor Mass in Matera, Francis spoke off the cuff asking Italians to have more children. “I’d like…

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by Aya Batrawy DUBAI, United Arab Emirates  — Stores are selling winter clothes from last season in the middle of summer. Repair shops lack spare parts for appliances. There’s a waiting list to buy a new car. Egypt, a country of more than 103 million people, is running low on foreign currency needed to buy essentials like grain and fuel. To keep U.S. dollars in the country, the government has tightened imports, meaning fewer new cars and summer dresses. For the nearly third of Egyptians living in poverty, and the millions more in poor conditions, the country’s economic woes mean…

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by Jimmy Golden BOSTON  — The reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka after a months-long investigation by an outside law firm that found multiple violations of team policies but did not point to a larger cultural problem of sexual misconduct, owner Wyc Grousbeck said Friday. “We go to great lengths … to run the organization with the central core value of respect and freedom in the workplace from harassment or any unwelcome attention,” Grousbeck said at a news conference. “This feels very much, to me, like one of a kind. That’s my personal belief. But I’ll…

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