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Thursday, Apr 02nd

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Landmark skull fossil provides surprising human evolution clues

Landmark skull fossilScientists have solved a longstanding mystery over the age of a landmark skull found in 1921 in Zambia - the first fossil of an extinct human species discovered in Africa - in research with big implications for deciphering the origin of our own species.

The study published on Wednesday involved the so-called Broken Hill skull, also called the Kabwe skull in recognition of a nearby town, discovered by a Swiss miner working in the Broken Hill lead and zinc mine in what was then Northern Rhodesia. Until now, scientists had been in the dark about how old it was, making it difficult to know its place on the human family tree.

But two sophisticated dating methods have determined the skull to be about 299,000 years old, plus or minus 25,000 years, said geochronologist Rainer Grün of Griffith University in Australia, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature. Some experts had hypothesized it was 500,000 years old.

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Appeals court allows Texas to ban abortions during pandemic

5th District Source of AppealA federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Texas can temporarily enforce a ban on abortions as part of its coronavirus response.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on a ruling from a lower court that had blocked Texas from enforcing the ban. State officials argue the ban is intended to conserve medical supplies for health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. But abortion rights advocates say states are using the pandemic as an excuse to block access.

In a 2-1 opinion, the appeals court ruled that the order from the lower court be stayed until an appeal from Texas is considered. The two judges who ruled in favor of a stay were nominated to their posts by President Trump and former President George W. Bush.

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“It was like a beacon of hope”: USNS Comfort arrives at New York Harbor

USNS Comfort

Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, arrived at New York Harbor on Monday from Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia and will begin treating patients on board by Tuesday, March 31.

“I had this incredible feeling of peace that help was finally coming,”said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference at Pier 90 on Monday. Shortly before the media briefing he stood on a nearby rooftop and watched the “moving” image of the military ship pass by the Statue of Liberty on its way to Pier 88. “It was like a beacon of hope,” he added.

The hospital ship will act as a “relief valve” for overburdened New York City hospitals  and treat non-coronavirus patients, said Rear Adm. John Mustin. The ship is equipped with 750 beds, operating rooms and a pharmacy. As similar military ship, the USNS Mercy, docked in Los Angeles on Friday.

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Pentagon leaders indicate coronavirus outbreak could last for months

Mark EsperSenior Pentagon leaders said on Tuesday that the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak that has hit the United States could continue for months and the military would continue to support efforts to counter it for as long as needed.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 550 people in the United States and sickened more than 43,800.

President Donald Trump said on Monday he is considering how to reopen the U.S. economy when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, even as the highly contagious coronavirus is spreading rapidly and hospitals are bracing for a wave of virus-related deaths.

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64-year-old becomes oldest woman to row across Atlantic Ocean

Sarah Brewer, oldest to row across Atlantic

A 64-year-old who only took up rowing six years ago has become the oldest woman to row an ocean after crossing the Atlantic in 86 days. Sara Brewer achieved the feat alongside her rowing partner, Ann Prestidge, 35.

The pair completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic challenge on just two meals a day after running out of food. The race took them more than a fortnight longer than they had anticipated after they battled 20-metre (65ft) high waves, fought through numerous storms, suffered broken oars and injuries.

The pair set off from La Gomera, the Canary Islands, on 12 December last year, rowing 3,000 miles (4,828km) to reach the shores of Antigua on 7 March – just in time for International Women’s Day.

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Coronavirus live updates: Grand Princess docks today; stock market freefall; no tennis at Indian Wells

Corona virus updates

Two members of Congress have quarantined themselves. The stock market is in freefall. Seattle is under siege.

And a tainted cruise ship will finally dock in California sometime Monday with at least 21 infected people.

The coronavirus showed no signs of slowing its spread across the United States as confirmed cases surpassed 560 across 34 states and the District of Columbia.  The U.S. death toll rose to 22, while the worldwide total approached 4,000.

Iowa was among the latest states to report an encounter with the coronavirus as Gov. Kim Reynolds announced three presumptive positive cases. All three people were on a cruise through Egypt and are now isolated at home, Reynolds told reporters.

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'Sickening': Bernie Sanders campaign condemns protester who unfurled swastika flag at Phoenix rally

Swastika flag flown at Sander's rallySen. Bernie Sanders' campaign responded to protesters who displayed a flag bearing a swastika during his rally Thursday night in Phoenix.

Images of the flag in the crowd circulated on social media posts, which showed the flag unfurling as the crowd cheered for the Vermont senator after he declared how loud they were. The cheers quickly turned to boos as they saw the flag.

Sanders' supporters appeared to rip the flag from the protester's hands, and police escorted him out.

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