After six years and 6bn km, Japan’s Hayabusa2 prepares to bring home cargo of asteroid dust

The last time Hayabusa2 was seen with the naked eye, Barack Obama was president of the United States and Brexit was a distant Europhobe fantasy.



Photograph: AP


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Photograph: AP

Six years and three days after its groundbreaking mission began, the Japanese spacecraft will drop a capsule onto the Australian outback carrying pristine asteroid fragments that scientists believe could shed light on the formation of the solar system and the origins of life.

By the time it reaches the skies high over Woomera, South Australia, in the early hours of Sunday, the probe will have completed a round-trip of around 6bn km (3.7bn miles) that included two brief stops on the surface of a moving asteroid.

Related: Rock of ages: how asteroid dust may reveal secrets of life on Earth

The unmanned craft will release the capsule from a height of about 220,000km (136,700 miles), the Japan Aerospace

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49ers head to new home in Arizona to host Bills

AP
Published 6:43 p.m. ET Dec. 3, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers will need to get used to their temporary new home, while the Buffalo Bills will try to put aside the bad memories from their most recent trip to Arizona.

The Niners have relocated to Arizona for three weeks after strict new COVID-19 protocols in their home county prohibited contact sports and practices.

So San Francisco (5-6) packed up its entire operation and headed to the desert where it’s practicing and playing the next two “home” games at the Arizona Cardinals stadium in Glendale, starting with Monday night’s matchup against the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills (8-3).

“This entire year has been kind of odd, kind of strange,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said. “There’s been a lot of change, a lot of different things from a regular NFL season. So this kind of just fits right in.”

The Bills are

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California to Issue Regional Stay-at-Home Orders

California is preparing to issue new stay-at-home orders based on hospital capacity in five regions of the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The orders will be issued once a region’s hospital intensive care unit availability drops below 15%. The orders, which will last three weeks, will mandate the closure of all non-essential businesses, including indoor dining and beauty salons, the Democrat said.

Mr. Newsom said he expects to issue the orders for Southern California, Northern California, Greater Sacramento, and the central San Joaquin Valley in the next week. A stay-at-home order for the San Francisco Bay Area will likely come in mid-late December if current trends continue, he said.

“If we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Mr. Newsom said, adding that he was “pulling the emergency brake” on the state’s reopening plan to stem the tide of Covid-19 spread.

Mr. Newsom said schools that have

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Koala wanders into family’s home, climbs Christmas tree

It seems that everyone is trying to get into the Christmas spirit this year — even koalas. An Australian family was in for a big surprise this week when they discovered a koala had wandered into their home and climbed into their Christmas tree. 



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© Credit: CBSNews
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“Well that’s something you don’t see every day,” wrote Amanda McCormick in a Facebook post Wednesday. “We just came home to a real life koala up our Xmas tree in our lounge room!”

McCormick posted photos on Facebook of the curious creature nestled among the tree’s ornaments and looking quite content with its new perch in the Coromandel Valley, South Australia, home. 

She explained in the comments of the post that the family had left the back door open so their dog could get in and out in the morning. “Little lady must have just wandered in and made herself

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On ‘The Office,’ Steve Carell and the Dunder Mifflin Gang Call a Panorama City Studio Home

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Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, ‘cause a Scranton party don’t stop! The cast and crew of “The Office” wouldn’t have direct knowledge of that fact, though, being that the hit NBC series was shot in Los Angeles, a good 2,700 miles outside of Electric City, where it was set. The beloved mockumentary-style sitcom, which is seeing a major resurgence in popularity as of late thanks to its availability on Netflix, the uptick in binging resulting from 2020’s ongoing shelter-at-home regulations, and stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s recap podcast “Office Ladies,”  is unique in that almost all filming took place on a set. The production rarely ventured offsite for on-location shoots, not even for establishing shots of Scranton Business Park, the complex that housed Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Vance Refrigeration and, for a time, the Michael Scott Paper Company.

Two Los

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California Is Days Away From A Regional Stay-At-Home Order : NPR

A minimum 3-week stay-at-home order is expected in California as hospitals experience an unprecedented surge in intensive care COVID-19 patients.

Jae C. Hong/AP


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A minimum 3-week stay-at-home order is expected in California as hospitals experience an unprecedented surge in intensive care COVID-19 patients.

Jae C. Hong/AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced most of the state will come under a stricter set of limitations as intensive care units reach near-capacity levels with the latest pandemic surge in coronavirus cases.

Regional stay-at-home orders will likely go into effect “in the next day or two” in places with less than 15% ICU availability, Newsom said in a daily briefing with reporters.

Once it is triggered, the order will remain effect for at least three weeks. It will be lifted when ICU capacity becomes more available.

The plan prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes

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Newsom issues regional stay-at-home order based on ICU capacity to battle record Covid surge in California

Millions of Californians may soon find themselves under a regional stay-at-home order once again under new restrictions announced Thursday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.



a group of people in a room: FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, medical personnel prone a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The raging coronavirus pandemic has prompted Los Angeles County to impose a lockdown to prevent the caseload from spiraling into a hospital crisis but the order stops short of a full business shutdown that could cripple the holiday sale season. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)


© Jae C. Hong/AP
FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, medical personnel prone a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The raging coronavirus pandemic has prompted Los Angeles County to impose a lockdown to prevent the caseload from spiraling into a hospital crisis but the order stops short of a full business shutdown that could cripple the holiday sale season. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The new stay-at-home order will take hold in regions where hospitals are feeling the squeeze on capacity to treat the incoming surge of Covid-19 patients. A strict stay-at home order will go into effect 48 hours after hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15% in one of

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California to impose regional stay-at-home orders amid virus surge

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday said he would issue a regional stay-at-home order in areas facing ICU bed shortages as COVID-19 cases surge across the state. “We are pulling that emergency brake,” Newsom said in a news conference Thursday. 



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dodger Stadium, Secretary of State (CA) Alex Padilla, Dodger owner Peter Guber, Dodger President/CEO Stan Kasten, and Fernando Valenzuela


© Carolyn Cole
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Dodger Stadium, Secretary of State (CA) Alex Padilla, Dodger owner Peter Guber, Dodger President/CEO Stan Kasten, and Fernando Valenzuela

The measure forces a three-week closure of all bars, wineries, hair salons and barbershops in regions where ICU beds have reached 15% capacity. Retail stores will be allowed to operate at 20% capacity, while restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery service only. Non-essential travel will be restricted.

“This is the final surge in this pandemic,” Newsom said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

There are less than 2,000 available ICU beds left in the state, with over 1,800

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Mayor apologizes for going to Mexico while urging residents to stay home

The mayor of Austin, Texas, has apologized for traveling to Mexico during the pandemic.



Steve Adler wearing a suit and tie in front of a flat screen tv


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Responding to a story first reported Wednesday in The Austin American-Statesman, the mayor, Steve Adler, admitted he traveled in early November to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — and while abroad, he even recorded a message urging Austinites to stay home to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

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In a video posted online Wednesday, Adler said, “I need to set a clearer example so that my message is unambiguous, and for the failure to do that I sincerely apologize.”

In the message, Adler said that his daughter, “like many other brides,” had to cancel her wedding plans because of public health rules, and “instead she had a small, mostly family, very private wedding.”

“Most importantly, she was happy,” Adler said. “Afterwards, a small, mostly family group traveled to Mexico.”

“I

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Mayor was on vacation in Mexico while urging residents to stay home

The mayor of Austin, Texas, on Wednesday apologized for attending a wedding and traveling to Mexico for a vacation after urging residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.



Steve Adler wearing a suit and tie


© Ole Jensen / Getty
Steve Adler

“I want you to know that I regret that travel,” Mayor Steve Adler said in a video statement. “I wouldn’t travel now. I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas, and no one should. Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now because we are in the orange area.”

Adler, the two-term mayor of Austin, said he attended a small, private wedding for his daughter in November and then traveled with his family to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In a video filmed from his vacation, Adler urged residents to stay home, citing the rising number of coronavirus cases. “We need to stay home if you can,” he said. “Do

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