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Giant penguin fossil found in New Zealand

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The fossilised remains of a huge penguin almost the size of an adult human have been found in New Zealand’s South Island, scientists announced Wednesday.

The giant waddling sea bird stood 1.6 metres (63 inches) high and weighed 80 kilograms, about four times heavier and 40cm taller than the modern Emperor penguin, researchers said.

Named “crossvallia waiparensis”, it hunted off New Zealand’s coast in the Paleocene era, 66-56 million years ago.

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An amateur fossil hunter found leg bones belonging to the bird last year and it was confirmed as a new species in research published this week in “Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology”.

Canterbury Museum researcher Vanesa De Pietri said it was the second giant penguin from the Paleocene era found in the area.

“It further reinforces our theory that penguins attained great size early in their evolution,” she said.

Scientists have previously speculated that the mega-penguins eventually died out due to the emergence of other large marine predators such as seals and toothed whales.

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New Zealand is well known for its extinct giant birds, including the flightless moa, which was up to 3.6-metres tall, and Haast’s eagle, which had a wingspan of three metres.

Just last week, Canterbury Museum announced the discovery of a prodigious parrot that was one metre tall and lived about 19 million years ago.

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Morning Joe drops bomb on Trump about impeachment support in states he desperately needs in 2020

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Kicking off Tuesday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski busted out the latest polling numbers about support for impeachment in key battleground states and let Donald Trump know he is deeply underwater.

Jumping right into it, the Brzezinski said, "Half of voters in six states that helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 say they support the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into the president. According to the latest New York Times/Siena College poll put that support at 50 percent of voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona -- 45 percent say they oppose."

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Britain’s Johnson races Brexit clock as deadline looms

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces two crucial Brexit votes Tuesday that could decide if he still has a reasonable shot at securing his EU divorce by next week's deadline.

The UK is entering a cliffhanger finale to a drama that has divided families and embittered politics ever since voters backed a split from Britain's 27 EU allies and trading partners in 2016.

Johnson has set himself a very high bar by promising that he will get Brexit done -- "do or die'" -- by the twice-delayed October 31 departure date.

The Conservative leader now hopes parliament gives initial support to a Brexit bill that translates the revised withdrawal agreement he struck with Brussels last week into UK law.

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Philippines’ Duterte cuts short Japan trip in ‘unbearable pain’

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, suffering from "unbearable pain" in his spine after a motorcycle accident, is cutting short a trip to Japan, his spokesman said Tuesday.

The 74-year-old hurt his hip in the crash last week, with his health already the subject of intense speculation following his disclosure earlier this month that he is suffering from an unrelated autoimmune disease.

A statement from the leader's spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte would leave Japan sooner than planned, having attended the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito.

"The palace announces that the president will cut short his trip to Japan due to unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone," he said.

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