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Zircon crystal found in Australia suggests life appeared on Earth 4.1 billion years ago: researchers

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An ancient zircon crystal unearthed in Western Australia may hold evidence that life appeared on the planet 4.1 billion years ago, or about 300 million years earlier than previously thought, according to a team of U.S. researchers.

Scientists from Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles said they recently collected some 10,000 multibillion year-old zircons in Jack Hills, Australia, including one believed to contain a carbon deposit that is 4.1 billion years old, give or take 10 million years.

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“Its complete encasement in crack-free, undisturbed zircon demonstrates that it is not contamination from more recent geologic processes … (and) may be evidence for the origin of life on Earth by 4.1 (billion years ago),” according to a paper published by the team in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

Scientists have used the fossil record to assert that the history of life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago, in the form of single-celled creatures. Humans are believed to have first appeared on Earth only about 200,000 years ago.

The study was authored by Elizabeth Bell, Patrick Boehnke, and T. Mark Harrison of the University of California, Los Angeles along with Wendy Lao of Stanford.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis in Boston; Editing by Eric Beech)

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GOP appointees considered disloyal to Trump won’t be spared as president’s new hatchet-man begins purge: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, longtime government employees who landed their jobs because of their Republican bonafides are now coming to work each day with the threat of dismissal hanging over their heads if it is believed they are are not totally on board with Donald Trump policies.

Following a report that Johnny McEntee, a 29-year-old loyalist just installed to take over the Office of Presidential Personnel, is instructing "departments to search for people not devoted to the president so they can be removed," the Times notes that just because a staffer is a Republican in good standing doesn't mean that won't be booted.

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2020 Election

Here is why these Nevadans are betting on Sanders

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LAS VEGAS — Any doubts that Nevadans wouldn't show up for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were quickly squashed by the amount of people lined up to get into his Friday night rally in Las Vegas on the eve of the Nevada caucus: an estimated 2,020, according to his campaign. One would have been forgiven for assuming the crowd spilling out the main entrance and down the street had lined up to get into one of the city's hottest shows, not a "Get Out the Vote" event. Despite stereotypes that Sanders only draws support from the young (and mostly white), the crowd was visibly diverse in age, ethnicity and race. And anyone who didn't arrive already wearing the requisite Bernie gear had plenty of opportunities to buy some as they waited to enter the venue.

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Roger Stone’s dream of booting judge for sentencing comments brutally crushed by ex-US Attorney: ‘He’s met his match’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance crushed any hopes former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone might have that his prison sentence will be voided due to comments made by the presiding judge in his federal trial.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Vance left no doubt Stone's latest legal gambit will collapse just like his previous attempts to squirm out of his trial did.

"Stone's legal team says that Judge Amy Berman Jackson's assertion that the jurors served with integrity shows bias," host Witt stated. "Do you buy that argument and legally would that be enough to get the judge dismissed from the case?"

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