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Decapitated Belgian trekker found in Nepal

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Nepalese police Tuesday launched a murder investigation after the body of a Belgian woman was found decapitated in a popular trekking spot in the Himalayas.

Debbie Maveau, 23, had been missing for 10 days before her badly decomposed body was found on June 14 beneath a hiking trail in the Langtang National Park, on the Tibetan border, police said.

“Her head was around 13 inches from the rest of her body,” local inspector Bhakta Sunuwar told AFP, adding police had no leads on the culprit and were trying to establish if she had been killed by someone she met before the trek.

Sunuwar said robbery and rape were unlikely motives since her underwear had not been removed and her camera and 8,000 rupees ($93) in cash were not taken.

“People are not cooperating with the investigation. Everyone in the area says they have not seen her,” he added.

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“We found that she had travelled to Dhunche from Kathmandu by bus but none of the drivers in the area confirmed that they had seen her.”

A growing number of assaults in Nepal’s Himalayan national parks have led to a US Embassy warning against trekking alone in the region.

American Lena Sessions, 23, was hiking solo in December in Langtang when she was threatened with sexual assault by a masked man with a knife, but managed to escape. The incident came a week after a South Korean woman was assaulted nearby.

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South Korean fighter jets fire 400 warning shots at Russian military plane

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South Korean fighter jets fired nearly 400 warning shots at a Russian military aircraft on Tuesday after it violated the country's airspace, with Seoul warning of a far stronger reaction if a breach reoccurs.

The Russian A-50 early warning and control aircraft breached South Korean airspace twice off its east coast, the defence ministry official said, forcing the air force to scramble fighters.

Moscow denied any of its military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace, saying its planes had carried out planned drills over international waters.

But Seoul said a warplane entered South Korean airspace near the disputed Dokdo islets -- which are also claimed by Japan -- the first such violation since Korean War hostilities ended in 1953.

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2020 Election

Democrats are on the verge of setting a ‘time bomb’ for any candidate who can defeat Trump

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If a new president takes over the White House in January 2021, he or she may quickly find that the Democratic Party that just won control of the executive branch left a loaded gun in the hands of the Republicans, who are all too eager to use it.

That should be the takeaway from reports about the budget negotiations between the House Democrats and the Trump administration. According to Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur, the parties are coalescing around an agreement to raise spending by $350 billion, offset that increase somewhat with about $75 billion, and extend the debt ceiling — now set to expire in the fall — to July 31, 2021.

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Former NASA flight director Chris Kraft dies at 95

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NASA's first flight director Chris Kraft, who played a critical role in the American space race, has died just days after 50th anniversary celebrations for the first Moon landing, the agency said.

The 95-year-old joined NASA in 1958 and developed the planning and control processes needed for crewed space missions, creating the agency's Mission Control operations that were used to manage the first US manned spaceflight and the Apollo missions to the Moon.

"America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA's earliest pioneers," said agency chief Jim Bridenstine in a statement announcing Kraft's death on Monday.

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