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Secretive US Air Force space plane X-37B back in orbit

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The US Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on Wednesday aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, in a mission aimed at testing a new engine to steer satellites, officials said.

The rocket carrying the X-37B successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and officials said the scheduled return of the unmanned plane had yet to be determined.

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The mini-shuttle has been shrouded in secrecy and military officers have refused to discuss its purpose. But defense experts have speculated it might be meant for spying from space, fixing broken satellites or even as a space “bomber.”

Captain Chris Hoyler, a spokesman for the US Air Force, told AFP the latest flight was part of efforts looking at the “technical parameters for an affordable, reusable space vehicle.”

The X-37B will be testing a new orbital “thruster system” — which uses electricity and xenon — that could be employed to maneuver satellites in space, officials said.

Asked if the plane could be used for surveillance, Hoyler declined to comment.

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The X-37B payload also includes a NASA experiment, which will study how a range of materials can endure conditions in space. The results could help scientists working on the possible design of future spacecraft.

The last mission for the X-37B in 2014 extended over 674 days but officials never said what the plane was up to.


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Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems

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Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.

Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."

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Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.

Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.

Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.

The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.

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New York cop who became El Chapo’s security guard arrested for selling cocaine and taking bribes

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A New York cop is being prosecuted after he was outed for selling cocaine and taking bribes after he went to work for drug kingpin El Chapo.

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Officer Ishmael Bailey had his bail set at $50,000 after he was arrested and arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. He was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, conspiracy, bribe receiving as a public servant and failing to perform duties as a public servant.

Lawyer Jeff Cohen argued that Bailey had two children and had to pay child support. The lawyer explained that Bailey “does understand the severity of his charges.”

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