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Italian Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti Spends Her First Day in Space

NASA(ROME) -- Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was greeted with hugs in zero G on Monday when she and fellow crew members arrived at the International Space Station to begin a long-term mission.

Cristoforetti, who is Italy's first female astronaut, has graciously shared moments on social media from the years she spent training for the mission -- and said she hopes to stay connected to her 143,000 Twitter followers during her scheduled five-month stay in space.

While Cristoforetti, 37, has yet to tweet about her new home, a video posted by the European Space Agency shows a beaming Cristoforetti and her fellow crew members being welcomed to their new home in low Earth orbit.


Watch a replay of @AstroSamantha @AstroTerry and @AntonAstrey being welcomed to their new home #ISS #Futura42 http://t.co/5YDWBvB8Cx

— ESA (@esa) November 24, 2014


Cristoforetti will spend the next five months controlling the International Space Station and handling many of the scientific experiments that are being run by astronauts for scientists back on Earth.

Among the other guests aboard the ISS are 20 rodents, which arrived in September aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule. The animals have been living in NASA's Rodent Research Facility where researchers are studying the long-term impact of weightlessness on their bodies.

Also on board the ISS is the first 3-D printer launched into space. It could potentially crank out spare parts that will allow astronauts to one day fix their vessel on the spot.

Living in space may be a dream for the Italian astronaut, but she'll have to do without a few earthly pleasures. Before launch, she tweeted on Sunday that she had "what was probably my longest shower ever."

Cristoforetti also enjoyed a final feast on Earth before she has to switch over to space cuisine.


We just had our final meal. I was really hungry! Soon time to head to the cosmodrome. #Launchday #Futura42 pic.twitter.com/f0eeMGo9M1

— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) November 23, 2014


One other thing she'll have to do without, for now: A cup of genuine Italian espresso.

ISSpresso, an espresso machine designed by engineering company Argotec and coffee roaster Lavazza in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, is one of the many items headed to space in April 2015, which comes toward the end of Cristoforetti's visit.

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Iran Nuke Talks Extended for Lack of a Deal

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry talk as they meet for the dinner at the residence of British ambassador in Vienna on November 23, 2014. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)(VIENNA) -- The United States and its negotiating partners have agreed to extend talks with Iran over its nuclear capability, rather than concluding a long-sought deal by Monday’s deadline.

The talks, which have been conducted in Vienna, are now set to resume in December at a site yet to be determined, sources told ABC News.

The framework for the talks extension set a new deadline of March for a political agreement, with details of the arrangement to be hammered out by July 1 -- essentially a seven month extension.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been at the talks in recent days, but a last minute push failed to close the gap on the two sides.

As the talks wound down, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani sent a subtle message by posting a photo of himself on Instagram walking past a mural of the word “hope,” written in Farsi.

In the hours before the extension was announced, Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted: “We’re continuing to chip away in Vienna. P5 1 united,” referring to the negotiating group of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

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Suicide Bomb Attack at Afghan Volleyball Match Leaves Dozens Dead

E /Getty Images(PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- Dozens of people attending a volleyball match in eastern Afghanistan were killed Sunday when a suicide bomber set off explosives among the spectators.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in the Yahya Khel district of Paktika Province near the border with Pakistan. It came on the same day that Afghan lawmakers approved a bilateral security agreement to allow U.S. troops to remain in the country after the end of the year.

A spokesman for the Paktika province said at least 60 people were wounded in the bombing while one deputy governor put the death toll at 50.

The dead included eight members of the Afghan Local Police, a pro-government paramilitary outfit.

Paktika Province has been the scene of several suicide bombings this year as many militants receive their training across the border in Pakistan.

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Why UK Officials Believe Terrorism Threat in Britain Is Greater Than Ever Before

Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Image(LONDON) -- In perhaps her most stark message yet, British Home Secretary Theresa May warned that Britain is facing its greatest terrorism threat in its history.

"When the security and intelligence agencies tell us that the threat we face is now more dangerous than at any time before or since 9/11, we should take notice," May said Monday during a news conference in which she was laying out plans on the government's new counter-terrorism and security bill set to be introduced this week.

The home secretary also addressed the serious threat from ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, saying the "threat from ISIL has made no secret of their desire to bring death and destruction to the U.K., U.S. and other Western countries."

The new bill, introduced last week and touted as being tough, will be brought forward in order to try to stamp out home-grown extremism. It includes a set of new measures to prevent radicalization, making conditions difficult for extremists to operate, giving the government greater power to disrupt those wanting to travel abroad to countries such as Iraq and Syria to fight.

Since the attacks on July 7, 2005, about 40 terrorist plots against British targets have been disrupted by the police and intelligence services, May said.

"There have been attempts to conduct marauding Mumbai style gun attacks on our streets, blow up the London Stock Exchange, bring down airliners, assassinate a British ambassador and murder service members of our armed forces," she said. "Almost all of these attacks have been prevented by the first class men and women of our security and intelligence services, the police and our allies overseas."

The U.K.'s threat level was raised in August due to the threats from fighters returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The threat level was raised from "substantial" to "severe," meaning an attack on home soil is highly likely.

The message from May on Monday was clear: The country is engaged in a struggle that is being fought on many fronts and one that will go on for many years. She ended her speech on a sober note, saying, "The threat we face right now is perhaps greater than it ever has been -- we must have the powers we need to defend ourselves."

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Afghan Parliament Approves Bilateral Security Agreement

Credit: Keith Binns/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- A bilateral security agreement was approved on Sunday by the Afghan parliament, allowing U.S. troops to remain in the country after the end of the year.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai declined to sign the agreement, though the U.S. had hoped that new president Ashraf Ghani would agree to keep U.S. forces there. Ghani signed the agreement within 24 hours of taking office and the parliament approved on Sunday.

The agreement does state that U.S. forces "shall not conduct combat operations in Afghanistan," however, unless both nations agree.

In recent months, the Afghan army has seen large numbers of casualties, perhaps signalling to Ghani that the nation needs foreign forces helping their military.

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President Obama: 'Significant' Gaps Remain in Talks Over Iran Nuke Program

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama said just days before the deadline for negotiations over Iran's nuclear program that the gaps in the talks remain "significant" and that it was too soon to tell whether the parties could reach an agreement by Monday.

"The good news is that the interim deal that we entered into has definitely stopped Iran's nuclear program from advancing. .... So it's been successful," Obama told This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview. "Now the question is, can we get to a more permanent deal? And the gaps are still significant."

Obama said if an agreement is reached, he was confident he could convince a skeptical Congress of its strength in preventing Iran from creating a nuclear weapon, even as members of the incoming Republican majority insist they'll impose additional sanctions on Iran if they don't like the deal.

"I'm confident that if we reach a deal that is verifiable and ensures that Iran does not have breakout capacity, that not only can I persuade Congress, but I can persuade the American people that it's the right thing to do," Obama told Stephanopoulos Friday.

While skeptics of the negotiations say they agree with the administration's goal for the talks -- a rollback of Iran's nuclear program -- many disagree with the idea of allowing Iran to have any nuclear capability, even for what Tehran contends is a peaceful civilian program.

But Obama laid out a more targeted objective than simply eradicating Iran's nuclear program completely.

"Our goal is to solve a particular problem here, which is making sure Iran doesn't trigger a nuclear arms race, can't threaten the United States, can't threaten allies like Israel," Obama said.

"What a deal would do is take a big piece of business off the table and perhaps begin a long process in which the relationship not just between Iran and us but the relationship between Iran and the world, and the region, begins to change," he added.

The United States and the five other world powers involved in the talks in Vienna are still deadlocked with Iran over several key issues, including the scope of Iran's ability to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, the length of the deal, and the way in which the current sanctions on Iran get phased out.

Iran wants all the sanctions rolled back immediately if a deal is reached, while the western negotiators say they should be phased out over time.

Obama said the position on sanctions was non-negotiable.

"I think Iran would love to see the sanctions end immediately, and then to still have some avenues that might not be completely closed, and we can't do that," he said.

The interview took place as negotiators remain camped out in Vienna. Secretary of State John Kerry met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Saturday afternoon, and also tweeted that he spent the morning making phone calls to international partners, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Diplomats May Consider Extension in Iran Nuclear Talks

RONALD ZAK/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With the deadline for a deal fast approaching, diplomats are considering a range of options, including an extension to negotiations, in the P5 1 talks regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities.

"Our focus remains on taking steps forward toward an agreement," a western diplomat told ABC News. "But it is only natural that less than 48 hours from the deadline we are discussing a range of options. An extension is one of those options."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday during a cabinet meeting that "no agreement at all would be preferable to a bad agreement that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and all of humanity."

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Kenya Bus Attack Leaves 28 Dead

Credit: omer sukru goksu/Getty Images(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- An attack on a bus in northern Kenya left 28 people dead at the hands of terror group al-Shabab.

The Kenya Red Cross confirmed the attack, for which gunmen from the Somali militant group claimed responsibility. BBC News reports that the gunmen asked passengers to read from the Koran, and those who failed were shot in the head. Some Somali passengers were shot after they pleaded with the gunmen to spare the other passengers' lives.

Al-Shabab has been responsible for numerous attacks in Kenya in recent years, including the shooting at the Westgate Mall in September 2013, in which at least 61 civilians were killed.

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British Teen Arrested at Heathrow Airport on Suspicion of Preparing for Acts of Terrorism

Credit: Caspar Benson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A British teenager was arrested earlier this week on suspicion that he was preparing for acts of terrorism.

According to the West Midlands Police, the department's Counter Terrorism Unit detained the unidentified suspect, 19 years old, at about 3 p.m. on Thursday as he was getting off a flight from Jordan at Heathrow Airport. The suspect remains in custody this weekend.

Police say the arrest was planned in advance and that the suspect did not pose any risk to the flight.

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Guantanamo Detainee Transferred to Saudi Arabia

Credit: Alex Potemkin/Getty Images(GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba) -- Another detainee who had been held at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center was released on Saturday, as the Department of Defense announced the transfer of Muhammed Murdi Issa Al-Zahrani from Guantanamo Bay to the government of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Zahrani is the sixth detainee transferred in the last three days and the seventh in two weeks. He had been subject to a periodic review process, including representatives from numerous government agencies. That board determined that Al-Zahrani does not pose a significant threat to U.S. security.

"In the past two weeks, the Department of Defense has transferred seven detainees," Paul Lewis, special envoy for Guantanamo detention closure said. "A total of 13 detainees have been transferred this year. This strikes a responsible balance and reflects the careful deliberation the Secretary of Defense brings to the transfer process, and follows a rigorous process in the interagency to review several items including security review prior to any transfer."

Approximately 142 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

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US Embassy in Mexico Issues Security Warning for Acapulco

Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images(ACAPULCO, Mexico) -- The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has issued a security warning on Saturday, urging U.S. citizens to avoid Acapulco due to violence and protests.

The protests have escalated in recent weeks after the disappearance of 43 Mexican students. U.S. Embassy personnel have been told to put off all non-essential travel to the area by air or land. The embassy also notes that road travel in other areas of Guerrero state is prohibited.

The embassy notes a ban in the Mexican Constitution on political activities by foreigners, warning Americans to avoid demonstrations or other activities that could be deemed political by Mexican authorities, as such actions could result in detention or deportation.

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Earthquake Measuring Magnitude 6.2 Strikes in Central Japan

United States Geological Survey(OMACHI, Japan) -- A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck in Japan on Saturday morning.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the tremor originated from an area about 10 miles northeast of Omachi and just 6.2 miles underground. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths caused by the quake.

The USGS said that the tremor was felt at least as far away as Tokyo, 191 miles away.

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Iran Nuclear Negotiations Near Deadline; Parties Remain Deadlocked

State Department photo/ Public Domain(VIENNA) -- With three days left until this round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program concludes, the outcome appeared so uncertain Friday that Secretary of State John Kerry reversed his travel plans, first announcing that he would be leaving Vienna, where negotiators have huddled, for Paris, and a few hours later saying he’d actually be staying in the Austrian capital.

It’s clear what the United States and its allies want from Iran: a significant and irreversible rollback of its nuclear program, plus ironclad monitoring of any remaining civilian nuclear activity, in exchange for sanctions relief. But the parties, while remaining tight-lipped in public, have not yet agreed on how to implement such a deal.

There are really only three possible scenarios that could arise come Monday: the talks conclude with a deal, no deal or an agreement to extend the talks with some outline for how to proceed.


Most observers and some participants have said a comprehensive deal by the start of next week is probably not going to happen.

“Right now, I think it's going to be difficult to get to where we want to go. It's not impossible,” Tony Blinken, the nominee to be the next deputy secretary of state, added during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Iran and the Western negotiators, made up of the United States plus five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, remain far apart on many of the core issues under discussion, including the number and kind of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to keep, under a final deal, in order to enrich uranium for a peaceful nuclear program; the length of such a deal; and the way in which economic sanctions on Iran get phased out.

But on the off chance the sides do reach a deal by Monday, members of Congress are already signaling they will seek to impose additional sanctions on Iran if it continues any nuclear activity, even for what it contends is a peaceful civilian program.


Many skeptics of an Iran nuclear deal say they don’t want diplomacy to fail, but they also don’t believe the Iranian regime is sincere in its desire for a strictly peaceful nuclear program. It has become a common refrain in Washington and Israel that no nuclear deal is better than a bad one; it just depends on one’s definition of a “bad” deal. Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a video message earlier this month against “rush[ing] into a deal that would let Iran rush to the bomb.”

In this way, the potential failure of these talks might give relief to those doubters, like Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He testified in Congress Thursday, saying negotiation is the right way to go, but “the dispute that is taking place now is between those who are skeptical of Iran and those who may be skeptical but they fundamentally believe…that we have a chance to fundamentally change the Iranian regime's approach to its nuclear weapons program.”

Those participating in the negotiations have warned that failure to reach a deal could lead to dire consequences. “There’s no question that, if everything goes away, escalation will be the name of the game on all sides, and none of that is good,” Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the top U.S. negotiator, said in a speech Oct. 23.

But others contend that no one really knows what would happen if these talks fail. Asked that question in the same hearing as Dubowitz, Gen. Michael Hadyen, who served as the director of the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration, responded, “That's why we left this, an ugly baby, for the next administration. We didn't have any good answers.”


Secretary of State John Kerry may have tipped his hand to what the parties believe will happen when he said during remarks in Paris Thursday, “we’re driving towards what we believe is the outline of an agreement that we think we can have” -- a far cry from a comprehensive deal.

More likely is another interim agreement that extends the talks with the stipulation that Iran continue to freeze progress on aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. That’s what happened back in July, when the negotiations were originally supposed to end, and the parties decided to extend until No. 24, which is three days away.

But even in the past month, the political situation in the United States has only gotten more hostile to a deal with Iran. Forty-three Republican senators, plus 11 incoming GOP senators-elect, have already pledged they will attempt to impose additional sanctions on Iran if it's allowed to continue any nuclear development in a final agreement.

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"The Imitation Game": A Look at the Life and Legacy of Alan Turing

Weinstein Company(LONDON) -- Sixty years after his death, Alan Turing is back in the public eye.

Turing, a British mathematician who helped defeat the Nazis by cracking their codes, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film The Imitation Game, which is set for a Nov. 28 release.

Even if this is the first time you've heard Turing's name, chances are you've already experienced his impact.

The "Turing Machine" was the first modern computer to logically process information, running on interchangeable software and essentially laying the groundwork for every computing device we have today -- from laptops to smartphones.

Turing also predicted that computers would keep getting smarter. In 1950, he devised an artificial intelligence test that asks, "Can machines think?"

Known as the "Turing Test," it investigates whether people can detect if they are conversing with a human or a computer. In order to pass, a computer must be mistaken for a human by 30 percent of judges during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations.

Earlier this year, an artificially intelligent "teenager" became the first computer to pass the test by successfully duping enough judges into believing they were conversing with a real human, according to the University of Reading, which organizes the annual event.

Despite his tremendous contributions to computer science and his role in the war effort, Turing was arrested and charged under a law that criminalized homosexuality in the United Kingdom.

As part of a deal to avoid prison time, Turning agreed to be injected with female sex hormones. He died on June 7, 1954 -- believed to be a suicide by eating an apple poisoned with cyanide.

He was posthumously pardoned last year by Queen Elizabeth II.

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Italian Space Agency Sending First Espresso Machine to Space

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Astronauts on the International Space Station will soon be waking up to the refreshing aroma and taste of authentic Italian coffee.

ISSpresso, an espresso machine designed by engineering company Argotec and coffee roaster Lavazza in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, is one of the many items headed to space in April 2015.

"We have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time...In fact, today we are in a position to overcome the limits of weightlessness and enjoy a good espresso — the indisputable symbol of made in Italy products," said the Giuseppe Lavazza, vice-president of Lavazza in a press release.

The device is the first capsule-based coffee machine to be sent to space and the first designed to handle its microgravity conditions in which the physics behind the dynamics and movement of liquids differ from that on Earth. Microgravity refers to "zero gravity" or weightless.

"The fluid dynamic in a microgravity environment is different from the one observed on Earth," Antonio Pilello, a spokesperson for Argotec told ABC News in an email. "Since you are weightless in orbit, there is no up, down, left nor right. For this reason we designed our system to be capable of making coffees without being affected by gravity."

The machine is comprised of a steel tube to transport water while being able to tolerate over 400 bars of pressure. The machine, weighing 20 kilograms, also has extra important components to maintain safety protocols issued in accordance with specific regulations set by the Italian Space Agency.

ISSpresso will also offer other options, including caffe lungo, tea, infusions and broth, allowing food to be re-hydrated. Astronauts will be able to drink these substances using small pouches with valves that are inserted into and draw coffee from the machine.

Pilello told ABC News that only instant coffee is available for astronauts right now.

Work on the machine has been percolating for a year to develop and a few months to test until it was approved for space. It was originally scheduled to leave for the ISS on Nov. 23 with Samantha Cristoforetti, the first woman from Italy to travel to space. The launch date for the device was postponed for unknown reasons.

A public relations spokesperson for Lavazza confirmed to ABC News the change in date but could not comment at this time. The Italian Space Agency did not return emails for comment.

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