This Skyscraper Hangs from an Asteroid


Feeling too earthbound? A New York-based architecture firm has revealed plans for futuristic skyscraper that would be attached to an asteroid. Yes, an asteroid. The tower will be suspended via high-strength cabling from an asteroid that is placed in “eccentric geosynchronous orbit.” That means the building is always moving, so its residents and visitors would take a daily journey between the northern and southern hemispheres with a prolonged visit over a main “home” point like New York City or Dubai. Time to move!


Attacks on African Students in India: India’s foreign affairs minister has publicly condemned two attacks on African students this week in Greater Noida, a city near the capital of New Delhi. In one attack, a Kenyan woman was was beaten by a group of men as she exited a cab. Another attack saw two Nigerian men being beaten by a mob in a shopping mall. The violence was triggered by death of 19-year-old Manish Khari, a student who reportedly overdosed on drugs. Abhinandan Singh, additional superintendent of police in Greater Noida, said in a telephone interview with The New York Times that there was no evidence that any African students were involved in the death of the man, or that he even died of an overdose.

Thousands of African students study at India’s universities, and the attacks this week follow several episodes of violence against Africans in recent years, raising questions about racial attitudes in India. The attacks also highlight ongoing lawlessness in India, where mobs made up of majority groups commit violent acts against members of minority groups, often incited by rumors of wrongdoing.


Libya Faces Power Struggle: Libya, a country that currently hosts a total of three governments all of which are (to some extent) recognized internationally, is not the ideal country to face a crisis over oil. But that is exactly what is happening. Mustafa Sanalla, the politically neutral chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), warned the UN-backed GNA government, led by Fayed Al Serraj, that it had infringed on NOC territory and acted illegally in closing the oil ministry. In a deeply divided country, Sanalla is one of the few public figures treated with respect by all sides.

Ambassadors for the five countries in the UN Security Council issued a rare joint statement on Saturday supporting Sanalla and asking all parties to show restraint, stating that “the petroleum infrastructure, production and export revenues … must remain under the stewardship of the NOC.” The Security Council sees the apolitical national body responsible for administering Libya’s vast oil revenues as critical to preventing the breakup of the country.


Mediterranean Claims Yet More Lives: More than 140 people are feared dead after one of the worst disasters involving refugees crossing the Mediterranean this year. The sole survivor, a 16-year-old Gambian boy, claimed that at least 146 refugees, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were on the boat with him before it capsized a few days after departing from Libya. Italy, which has seen an increase in refugee arrivals by more than fifty percent, estimates that close to 600 migrants have died crossing the sea since the start of the year. Just this week alone, rescuers picked up more than 1,100 migrants at sea and recovered one body. Early on Wednesday, a humanitarian vessel rescued about 400 migrants, mainly from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Gambia, and Bangladesh.

Last year, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa into Italy and Spain spiked dramatically after eastern European borders were shut and the European Union signed a deal with Turkey to stop the migration.

Man Swallowed by Python: On Sunday, a 25-year-old farmer named Akbar (many Indonesians go by one name) was heading to his job harvesting palm oil when he went missing. Neighboring villagers had noticed a large reticulated python, about 23 feet long (7 meters), lying motionless in a ditch. Officials searched for Akbar for 24 hours with no luck, and then cut open the python to discover Akbar’s body inside. Reticulated pythons have been known to eat animals and sometimes small children, but usually not full grown men. Palm oil plantations are often hunting grounds for these pythons because they attract dogs, wild boar, and other animals.


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