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Nibiru conspiracy theories about the end of the world have been circulating online for more than two decades, with the latest dubious prophecy predicting the apocalypse today - September 23, 2017. Planet X, or Nibiru, refers to a mythological planet in our solar system that will supposedly crash into Earth and wipe out the human race, however it has been consistently dismissed by Nasa and other experts as an internet hoax. Despite absolutely no scientific evidence to back up the suggestions of a rogue planet getting rapidly closer to Earth, myths about Planet X continue to be perpetuated online. End of the world (23 Sept 2017) Of course, this isn't the first time time harbingers of doom have predicted the end of time; Nasa also had to deny the existence of Nibiru in 2012. Throughout history there have been similar claims, but thankfully none of them so far have been proved correct. How did conspiracy theories about Planet X start? Online chatter about Nibiru began back in 1995 when Wisconsin native Nancy Lieder created the alien-conspiracy website ZetaTalk. Ms Lieder claims to be a conduit for aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system, 39.17 light years from Earth, who have warned her about the Nibiru catastrophe. The conspiracy theory hasn’t gone away, with so-called Christian numerologist David Meade claiming Planet X is heading in our direction. Meade believes October could see the start The Rapture and a seven-year tribulation period of widescale natural disasters. Why September 23? It has been claimed an unusual celestial arrangement mirroring signs from the Bible’s Book of Revelation today, September 23, will signal the start of the end of the world. However, the EarthSky blog notes there will be “nothing unique” about the sun, moon and planets on the date. “In the past 1,000 years, this same event has happened at least four times already, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056,” explains astronomer Christopher M. Graney. Haven’t we been here before? Mars, with Earth visible in background Credit: Getty This isn't the first time the apocalypse has been predicted: 1844 American Baptist teacher William Miller first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in 1833, predicting he would return in the year 1843. The Millerites were his followers and Millerism became a national movement, however when Jesus didn’t arrive, October 22, 1844, became known as the Great Disappointment. 1997 Twenty years ago, 29 members of Heaven’s Gate, a UFO religious millenarian group, committed suicide with the aim of boarding a UFO they believed was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet before the supposed end of the world. 2003 Planet X was also supposedly discovered by the ancient Sumerian people and was meant to hit Earth in 2003, but never arrived. “This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012,” say Nasa. 2011 The end of the world was also supposed to arrive on 21 May 2011, with Christian doomsday prophet Harold Camping predicting the Rapture would begin at 18:00 in each of the world's time zones, wiping out nay-sayers with rolling earthquakes as believers ascended to heaven. 2012 Nasa had to debunk an ancient Maya prophecy theory about the world ending back in 2012. The Mayan connection “was a misconception from the very beginning,” astrophysicist Dr. John Carlson said at the time. “The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date." 2015 Chris McCann, leader and founder of the eBible fellowship, said the world would be engulfed and destroyed by a great fire on October 7. McCann said he was "surprised" by the outcome and wrote a blog post entitled: "A response to being incorrect with the prediction that, in all likelihood, the world would end on October 7." What does Nasa say this time? Nasa is confident the world won't end Credit: AFP Nasa has definitively dismissed wild theories about Nibiru as pseudoscience, issuing a number of statements denying its existence. “Various people are ‘predicting’ that world will end on September 23 when another planet collides with Earth,” say Nasa. “The planet in question, Nibiru, doesn't exist, so there will be no collision. The story of Nibiru has been around for years (as has the 'days of darkness' tale) and is periodically recycled into new apocalyptic fables.” They add: “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth … astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. “Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.” Nasa fake news and the days of darkness tale A fake news story being widely shared online suggests Nasa has confirmed Earth will experience 15 days of complete darkness in November 2015. Another fake news video claims that Nasa has found Nibiru and confirmed it is heading straight for us. Debunking website Snopes explains the “days of darkness” tale is a “bit of fake news lifted from an older viral rumour” They say that it “had already been around the online block several times before,” adding, “it has long since become an evergreen online hoax — a jape that is typically resurrected a few times a year by dubious websites that simply update the time span for the alleged ‘period of darkness’ and send it winging around the internet again. What do other experts say? Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFOs and other mysteries for the Ministry of Defence, says “Nibiru doesn't exist”. He adds: “The world won't end on September 23. Shame on the people promoting this hoax in the name of evangelical Christianity.” Mr Pope told The Telegraph: “I'm certain Nibiru doesn't exist because if there really was a rogue planet heading for Earth, due to hit on Saturday, it would be visible to the naked eye by now. “Furthermore, astronomers would have been aware of its presence for years, both through direct observation and through gravitational effects on other planets in the solar system.” Why are some people so keen to promote this conspiracy? “The people promoting this prediction seem to be doing so because of religious belief, tenuously linking the recent eclipse with Biblical passages, including one from the Book of Revelations,” Pope says. “I suspect the reasons include self-publicity and the desire to promote their particular brand of evangelical Christianity.” Is there anything we should be worried about? “All this isn't to say that there aren't some existential threats out there, but if people want to worry about something, they should probably worry about North Korean missiles, or about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, not about Nibiru,” Pope adds. “There have been countless previous predictions of the end of the world. Self-evidently all these predictions were false. September 23 will pass without incident, just as we safely negotiated all the previous dates that had been put forward as doomsday.” Google Home spreads bizarre conspiracy theory A prepper's guide to everything you need to survive the apocalypse
The monument in the heart of Moscow was supposed to be a tribute to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the creator of the AK-47 assault rifle. Unfortunately, things went wrong, spectacularly so. The etching on the plinth was not of a Kalashnikov but the StG 44 rifle used by the Nazis during WWII. The mistake was spotted by arms experts, the BBC reported. It left the authorities having to use an angle grinder to remove the offending image. "A mistake has been made by the sculptor," executive director of the Russian Military Historical Society Vladislav Kononov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. A man uses an angle grinder as he removes a sketch allegedly featuring German StG44 rifle Credit: Mladen Antonov/AFP The AK-47 was, in fact, the Soviet answer to the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44), which the German forces used from 1944. Determined to find an equally effective weapon, the Soviet Union launched a competition, which was won by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Having been wounded at the Battle of Bryansk, Kalashnikov began designing weapons. The AK-47 has been in use since the late 1940s. Kalashnikov, who died in 2013, aged 94 made little money out of his invention. Rather ruefully he said he wished he had designed a lawnmower. Although the AK-47 remains the most popular assault rifle in the world, last year the Kalashnikov company said it was branching out into menswear. "Kalashnikov is a global brand," said Kalashnikov's marketing director, Vladimir Dmitriyev, "and we rightly believe that clothing and souvenir products with our symbol will be in demand among buyers."
― Scott Dekraai, the shooter in the worst mass killing in Orange County, California, history, was sentenced on Friday to eight consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole, rather than receiving the death penalty, because of government misconduct linked to a jail informant program.
Over the past two weeks, Mexico has experienced a lot of shaking. On Sept. 8, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck 54 miles (87 kilometers) southwest of Pijijiapan, which sits just above the Mexico-Guatemala border. Eleven days later, a magnitude-7.1 quake struck 3 miles (5 km) east of Raboso, near Mexico City.
US troops in South Korea have been sent an urgent message telling their families to flee the country. The US Army has now been forced to send out a message telling troops to check any messages and ensure that they are legitimate. Officials have so far not been able to publicly confirm where the messages came from, or whether they are related at all to ongoing tensions with North Korea.
Australians have been warned to beware of aggressive male saltwater crocodiles fighting it out for dominance, after the death of a giant 17-foot “saltie” created a power vacuum in a river. A manhunt began on Friday for the person who illegally killed the “iconic” reptile, after its carcass was found in the Fitzroy River in central Queensland with a single gunshot wound to the head. The incident sparked an urgent warning from the state government about aggressive behaviour from younger crocodiles in the area, which had been kept in check by the dominant male and were expected to start jostling for dominance. "People need to clearly understand the death of this animal has changed the balance of the crocodile population in the Fitzroy," the environment department's diversity operations director Michael Joyce told Australian media. An investigation has been launched to find the person who killed the 'iconic' crocodile Credit: EPA/ Queensland Police Service "We can expect increased aggressive activity by younger male crocodiles. That's because they will be competing to take the dominant position which is now vacant. Mr Joyce added that he didn't think the crocodile had posed a problem but rather, was "an important part of our ecosystem". "He is a crocodile that does spend a fair bit of time controlling the river and controlling the young animals that are in the river,” he said. The death of the dominant crocodile is expected to create a power vacuum, with younger males likely to aggressively compete with each other Credit: EPA/ Queensland Police Service In Queensland, the maximum penalty for offenders caught killing a crocodile without authority is A$28,383 (£16,671), with the highest penalty reserved for those who kill “iconic” crocodiles, defined as being greater than 5m (16.4 feet) in length. The offender could also face up to three years in jail if found guilty of animal cruelty. Since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, saltwater crocodile numbers have exploded in northern Australia, reigniting debate about whether to cull them. Giant Crocodile Scares Fishermen in Western Australia 00:30 An average of two people a year are killed by the animals, which can grow up to 7 metres and weigh more than a tonne. The reptile’s carcass was taken to nearby Koorana Crocodile Farm, where it will be buried after an autopsy. The owner of the farm John Leaver said it was the largest crocodile caught in Queensland in 20 to 30 years. The gunshot had caused a large hole in the top of the crocodile’s skull, indicating a large calibre rifle, he said. Asked why the crocodile was shot, Mr Leaver added: “I would say that someone felt very threatened”.
A British man has died after a boat he was travelling in with his family was overturned by Hurricane Maria. The unnamed man had been with his family on a boat that sounded a distress call off the coast of Puerto Rico as the storm moved in on Wednesday. The 20ft seas and 115mph winds capsized their vessel, with the extreme weather delaying rescue efforts by the US Coast Guard and a Royal Navy helicopter.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hour after excruciating hour, Mexicans were transfixed by dramatic efforts to reach a young girl thought buried in the rubble of a school destroyed by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. She reportedly wiggled her fingers, told rescuers her name and said there were others trapped near her. Rescue workers called for tubes, pipes and other tools to reach her.
By Andrew Osborn and Phil Stewart MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia warned the United States on Thursday it would target U.S.-backed militias in Syria if Russian troops again came under fire, as the United States disclosed an unusual face-to-face meeting between U.S. and Russian generals meant to avoid such clashes. The Russian warning underscored growing tensions over Syria between Moscow and Washington.
By Madeline Chambers BERLIN (Reuters) - Fears that apathy could boost the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in an election on Sunday have driven Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main rival to urge their backers to go out and vote. A GMS poll on Thursday said 34 percent were not planning to vote or were undecided, higher than the 29 percent who did not cast ballots in the last election in 2013. "My request to everyone is that they vote, and vote for those parties that adhere 100 percent to our constitution," Merkel told MDR radio on Thursday, pointing to the AfD.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY ― There are a couple of ways you could describe what happened Wednesday night as demonstrators once again took to the streets to protest last week’s not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of Jason Stockley ― a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer who in 2011 shot and killed a black man fleeing a drug stop.
Protesters demonstrated Thursday against an imminent overhaul of France's labour laws but in far lower numbers than organisers hoped, just days before President Emmanuel Macron's flagship reforms enter the statute books. The interior ministry estimated the crowds at 132,000 across France, just over half the numbers who took part last week in the first major street protests organised by trade unions since Macron was elected in May. The 39-year-old centrist president is certain to welcome Thursday's lower turnout, but he will face more -- and potentially larger -- protests on Saturday called by the hard-left political party France Unbowed.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that young Turks who study in the West come back as “volunteer spies” - even though three of his own children studied in the US. Speaking at an event in New York, the Turkish leader said: “Those who were sent to the West for education came back with only the West's culture, losing their identity. Those who the country waited for to solve its problems came back as the West's volunteer spies." Mr Erdogan is the father of four adult children, three of whom have degrees from American universities. His daughter Esra and son Bilal both did their undergraduate studies at Indiana University, while other daughter Sumeyye has a master’s degree from the university’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Mr Erdogan's daughter Esra also studied at Indiana University Credit: CEM TURKEL/AFP/Getty Images Mr Erdogan met with the president of Indiana University in Istanbul in 2014 and the university said that both the president and his wife, Emine, had visited the university’s campus in Bloomington, Indiana The president’s daughters both wear Muslim headscarves. Some reports said they refused to study in Turkey because many Turkish universities banned the headscarf until 2010. Bilal also graduated with a masters in public policy from Harvard’s prestigious John F Kennedy School of Government. He was working on a PhD at Johns Hopkins University but it is not clear if he completed it. Many of the president’s most senior cabinet members also studied in the West. In his speech, Mr Erdogan lamented that for hundreds of years young Turks had been sent abroad to study but returned with Western ideas. “Those who look down on their own nation, those who despise their own values, be sure about that; even our enemies couldn't do damage like these so-called intellectuals did.” Mr Erdogan’s comments led to frustrated outpourings on social media from some Turks who accused him of hypocrisy. Hypocracy | Erdogan today has said our bright minds go to study abroad and become spies. Just to note all his 4 kids studied in UK&US. https://t.co/UAGl1y17AB— Isa Gokturk YILMAZ (@IGokturkYilmaz) September 21, 2017 So this makes his daughter Sümeyye (who studied at Indiana University thanks to a scholarship provided by Remzi Gür & at @LSEnews) a spy.— Has Avrat (@hasavrat) September 21, 2017 Mr Erdogan regularly unleashes broadsides against the West in general and often the European Union in particular. Earlier this year, in the run up to a referendum that vastly expanded his own powers, he sparked an angry diplomatic back and forth with Holland and Germany, accusing both of being Nazis.
By Maher Chmaytelli ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq launched an offensive on Thursday to dislodge Islamic State from Hawija, west of the oil city of Kirkuk and one of two areas of the country still under the control of the militants. The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said the offensive to capture Hawija in northern Iraq "will be swift," state TV reported. The action, announced by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, took place four days before a referendum on Kurdish independence due to be held in northern Iraq, including Kirkuk.