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Destler Dodge

NASA Discovers Water On Mars

Liquid water flows down canyons and crater walls during warmer months on Mars, according to NASA scientists who claim this discovery points to a higher possibility of there being life on Mars.

Pictures from the Mars' orbit show cliffs, the steep walls of valleys, craters and canyons marked with long, dark stains. These stains can reach hundreds of feet in height during warmer months, while drying up during the colder months.

While the source of the water remains unknown, it is possible that it rises from underground ice or salty aquifers, or even possibly condenses from the atmosphere.

“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars," said Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on NASA’s Mars exploration program. "Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today."

Pictures taken in the 1970s revealed a surface crossed by dried-up rivers and plains that could have been previously submerged in bodies of water. Earlier this year, NASA presented evidence of a possible ocean that could have covered a fourth of the entire planet in Mars’ past.

The flows could be used to find water and by proxy, life on the planet. For now, however, NASA scientists are focused on finding the source of the water. Porous rocks under the surface of the ground could possibly hold ice that melts in the summer months and travels to the surface. 

CIA Declassifies 2,500 Presidential Briefings from The 1960s

This month, the CIA released over 2000 top secret presidential daily briefings (PDBs) from the 1960s as a result of years of litigations from the National Security Archive. The collection of briefings dates to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and are now available online.

"The PDBs are Top Secret documents containing the most current and significant intelligence information that the CIA believes that the President needs to know, and are records that CIA Director George Tenet once claimed could never be released for publication 'no matter how old or historically significant it may be,' and that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer described as 'the most highly sensitized classified document in the government," the statement said.

Even though a plethora of these briefings were released, about 20 to 25 percent of the contents remain redacted in order to protect secrets.

"On his first full day in office, President Obama called on the heads of executive departments and agencies to build an unprecedented level of openness in our government," CIA director John O. Brennan stated.

Brennan also stated that the PDBs (presidential daily briefings) began under President Kennedy in his first months in office in 1961 because he wanted a better summary and understanding of the country's widespread intelligence operations.

Saudi Arabia Is Set To Put Man To Death For Pro-Democracy Protests

A few days after Saudi Arabia was admitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the country set out to behead Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. al-Nimr, a pro-democracy protester has been sentenced to death for involvement in and encouragement of pro-democracy protests during the 2012 Arab Spring.

Two weeks ago it was revealed that al-Nimr’s appeal against the death penalty was denied, leaving the Saudi Arabian authorities with the intent to not only behead, but crucify him as well. Thirteen judges have approved the death sentence, with only the approval of King Salman needed to make the ruling final.

Since then, there has been a global public outcry over al-Nimr’s sentence. Multiple U.N. human rights experts are voicing their concerns over it being a possible breach of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to international law. Anonymous, the hacktivist collective, reportedly attacked and disabled several Saudi government websites on Saturday. Multiple European nations have voiced their opposition to the decision. 

State department spokesman Mark Toner denied knowing about the trial after stating he would welcome Saudi Arabia to the U.N. human rights panel as a result of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia being “close allies.”

This is not the first execution Saudi Arabia has had in their recent history. Since 1985, the country has executed over 2,200 people for “crimes” that included adultery, witchcraft and sorcery. Amnesty ranked the country third of the world’s top five executioners last year, with the U.S. being ranked fifth.