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Trump’s acting Pentagon chief’s nomination stalling out over ethics investigations and ‘public flubs’: report

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Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez)

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s nomination “has stalled amid an ethics investigation and a series of unimpressive public performances,” Politico reported Friday.

Citing four sources, the Politico story broke down the multiple reasons the nomination is “on ice,” as one former U.S. official put it.

“The sources aware of the White House discussions believe Shanahan is still in the mix for the job, but they say recent events and his own missteps haven’t done him any favors with President Donald Trump,” Politico explained. “And some said his fate will remain uncertain until the Defense Department’s inspector general finishes a probe into allegations that Shanahan has privately boosted Boeing during meetings at the Pentagon.”

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Shanahan worked at Boeing before being tapped by President Donald Trump to lead America’s armed forces.

“The IG investigation has slowed the process down and there are quite a few of us who want to see the report before moving forward, including President Trump,” an unnamed senior White House official told Politico.

Boeing has been under intense public scrutiny since two of its 737 MAX 8 planes crashed, killing 346 people.

“The hearing plus the Boeing thing is why you’re hearing it’s on ice and that’s my understanding, too,” a former U.S. official told Politico.

Another source said the list of reasons was even longer.

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“Boeing investigations, ongoing concerns about Boeing favoritism and preferences at the department, speaking ill of Lockheed,” were among the “host of reasons” a Senate Republican source cited as leading to the iced nomination.

Shanahan is scheduled to testify on Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“Next week is going to go way worse,” the Senate Republican source predicted. “If Shanahan didn’t do well in a Republican hearing, he’s definitely not going to do well in a Democratic-dominated Adam Smith hearing.”

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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronaagvirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people's immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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