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Russia offers the US help with space station after rocket explodes

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Russia on Wednesday offered to help the United States with deliveries to the International Space Station after an unmanned American supply rocket exploded on lift-off.

“If a request is made for the urgent delivery of any American supplies to the ISS with the help of our vessels then we will fulfill the request,” Russian space agency official Alexei Krasnov told state-run RIA Novosti news agency, adding that NASA had not yet asked for assistance.

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An unmanned rocket owned by private firm Orbital Sciences Corporation exploded Tuesday in a giant fireball and plummeted back to Earth just seconds after a launch from Wallops Island, Virginia on what was to be a resupply mission.

Orbital’s Cygnus cargo ship was carrying 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of supplies for the six astronauts living at the research outpost, a US-led multi-national collaboration.

Officials said the cost of the rocket and supplies was over $200 million, not including the damage caused on the ground.

Europe stopped delivering supplies to the ISS this summer, and the outpost is now resupplied by Russia and two NASA-contracted private American firms — Space X and Orbital Sciences.

Russia on Wednesday successfully launched its own supply mission from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan.

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The Russian cargo ship Progress took off for the ISS on a planned mission to replace a sister vessel.

Krasnov said that the impact of the loss of the rocket on Russian operations at the space station would be “minimal.”


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MSNBC’s Dr. Gupta blasts ‘weak leadership’ of GOP governors: ‘It’s too little too late’

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "Meet The Press," medical analyst Dr. Vin Gupta laid into Republican governors' mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic as new cases explode across the country.

"Dr. Gupta, we have the governor of Texas issuing an order for Texans to wear masks. Not seeing the same thing in Florida," said anchor Katy Tur. "What is your medical take?"

"I think it's too little, too late. Both in Texas and Florida," said Gupta. "Florida especially, given what is happening with day-to-day caseloads. If I was Governor DeSantis, you need to be thinking about how to save lives. That's bringing in portable ICUs, making sure you have enough dialysis nurses. This is potentially even mobilizing National Guard. I know we are not talking about military forces, reserves."

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Young Americans urged to be more responsible in coronavirus fight

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Accused of failing to uphold their civic duty, younger Americans are behind the current COVID-19 surge, with several states moving to close bars, beaches and other places that saw huge crowds when lockdowns were eased.

The median age for new cases in Florida in the past few days has fluctuated between 34 and 36. In Los Angeles, 40 percent of new cases are among those under 40. And in the greater Phoenix area, the major center of the contagion in Arizona, half are under the age of 35.

In total, half or more of all the cases in California and Arizona since the start of the pandemic have been among the 18-49 age group, and the rate is expected to rise.

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Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public

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Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.

It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."

In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."

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