flareneld's oven

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

flareneld's oven: Kepler 22-b: Earth twin planet

flareneld's oven: Kepler 22-b: Earth twin planet: The planet, shown here in an artist's conception, circles its host star in 290 days Continue reading the main story ...

Kepler 22-b: Earth twin planet

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Artist's conception of Kepler 22-bThe planet, shown here in an artist's conception, circles its host star in 290 days

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Astronomers have confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the "habitable zone" around a star not unlike our own.
The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C.
It is the closest confirmed planet yet to one like ours - an "Earth 2.0".
However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.
During the conference at which the result was announced, the Kepler team also said that it had spotted some 1,094 new candidate planets - nearly doubling the telescope's haul of potential far-flung worlds.
Kepler 22-b was one of 54 exoplanet candidates in habitable zones reported by the Kepler team in February, and is just the first to be formally confirmed using other telescopes.
More of these "Earth 2.0" candidates are likely to be confirmed in the near future, though a redefinition of the habitable zone's boundaries has brought that number down to 48. Ten of those are Earth-sized.
'Superb opportunity'
The Kepler space telescope was designed to look at a fixed swathe of the night sky, staring intently at about 150,000 stars. The telescope is sensitive enough to see when a planet passes in front of its host star, dimming the star's light by a minuscule amount.
Kepler identifies these slight changes in starlight as candidate planets, which are then confirmed by further observations by Kepler and other telescopes in orbit and on Earth.

Kepler Space Telescope

Infographic (BBC)
  • Stares fixedly at a patch corresponding to 1/400th of the sky
  • Looks at more than 155,000 stars
  • Has so far found 2,326 candidate planets
  • Among them are 207 Earth-sized planets, 10 of which are in the "habitable zone" where liquid water can exist
Kepler 22-b lies 15% closer to its sun than the Earth is to our Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However, the planet's host star puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy temperature that would support the existence of liquid water.
The Kepler team had to wait for three passes of the planet before upping its status from "candidate" to "confirmed".
"Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," said William Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at Nasa's Ames Research Center.
"The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season."
The results were announced at the Kepler telescope's first science conference, alongside the staggering number of new candidate planets. The total number of candidates spotted by the telescope is now 2,326 - of which 207 are approximately Earth-sized.
In total, the results suggest that planets ranging from Earth-sized to about four times Earth's size - so-called "super-Earths" - may be more common than previously thought.
As candidates for planets similar to Earth are confirmed, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) has a narrower focus for its ongoing hunt.
"This is a superb opportunity for Seti observations," said Jill Tarter, the director of the Center for Seti Research at the Seti Institute.
"For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems - including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analogue in the habitable zone around its host star.
Kepler 22-b infographic

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mother EARTH could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts say

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Planet could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts sayAFP/NASA/GSFC/NOAA – Undated image of Earth's city lights released by NASA. A growing, more affluent population competing …
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an "unrecognizable" world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.
The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia," said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.
To feed all those mouths, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000," said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
"By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable" if current trends continue, Clay said.
The swelling population will exacerbate problems, such as resource depletion, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.
But incomes are also expected to rise over the next 40 years -- tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations -- and add more strain to global food supplies.
People tend to move up the food chain as their incomes rise, consuming more meat than they might have when they made less money, the experts said.
It takes around seven pounds (3.4 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of meat, and around three to four pounds of grain to produce a pound of cheese or eggs, experts told AFP.
"More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet," Clay told AFP, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.
Population experts, meanwhile, called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.
"For 20 years, there's been very little investment in family planning, but there's a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices," said Bongaarts.
"We want to minimize population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning," said Casterline.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vietnam tourist boat sinking kills 12

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Vietnam tourist boat sinking kills 12 in Halong Bay

Ha Long bay in northern Quang Ninh province Halong Bay is a popular tourist area and a World Heritage Site

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At least 12 people, many of them foreign tourists, have drowned after a tour boat sank in Halong Bay in north-east Vietnam.
The wooden boat was touring in the Unesco World Heritage Site, in Quang Ninh province, when it went down.
Fifteen people, including nine foreigners, have been rescued.
It is not yet clear why the boat sank, although a local government official said initial information suggested part of the boat had broken without warning.
"So far the rescue team has rescued 15 people, including nine foreign tourists and six crew, and pulled out 12 bodies," Ngo Van Hung, director of the Halong Bay Management Department, told Reuters by telephone.
The bodies have been sent to a nearby hospital for formal identification.
Officials said the foreigners on board were believed to have come from 11 countries including Britain, Sweden, Australia and Japan.
The survivors were pulled from the water by people on other tour boats anchored close by and taken to hospital.
Halong Bay, renowned for its hundreds of tiny islands and freshwater swamp forests, is one of Vietnam's most popular tourist destinations.
The boat, reported to be a traditional junk, appears to have gone down before dawn near Titov island.
Many visitors choose to stay overnight on boats with sleeping cabins, so it is likely those on board were asleep when the accident happened.
Those rescued reported seeing a plank of the wooden boat ripping, followed by a gush of water that overwhelmed it, pulling the vessel down, local government official Vu Van Thin said.
"Crew members tried to stop the water from coming in and alerted the tourists who were sleeping, but the water came in and the boat sank quickly. All of the 12 people who died were in the cabins," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'No Anorexia' model Isabelle Caro dies aged 28

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'No Anorexia' model Isabelle Caro dies aged 28

Anorexic French actress Isabelle Caro Posters featuring Isabelle Caro were eventually banned in Italy

A French model who posed nude for an anti-anorexia campaign while suffering from the illness herself has died at the age of 28, her colleagues confirm.

Isabelle Caro died on 17 November after being treated for an acute respiratory illness, Swiss singer Vincent Bigler told journalists.
He added that he did not know the exact cause of death.
Ms Caro appeared in posters for an anti-anorexia campaign in 2007, but the ads were banned in several countries.
It was not clear why it took so long for her death to be made public.
The anti-anorexia campaign came amid a debate among fashion circles on the use of "ultra-skinny" models on the catwalk.
The AFP news agency reported her as saying at the time: "I thought this could be a chance to use my suffering to get a message across, and finally put an image on what thinness represents and the danger it leads to - which is death."
The model, who was 5ft 4in tall (1.65m) at the time of the poster campaign, reportedly weighed 32kg (five stones).
Ms Caro's acting instructor, Daniele Dubreuil-Prevot, told the Associated Press news agency that Ms Caro had died after returning to France from a job in Tokyo.
She said family and close friends had held a funeral ceremony in Paris last month.
Mr Bigler, who was a friend of Ms Caro, told Swiss media: "She was hospitalised for 15 days with acute respiratory disease and was recently also very tired, but I do not know the cause of her death."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pedophile guide author arrested

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Pedophile guide author Greaves arrested in Colorado

Philip R Greaves II Mr Greaves has not yet responded to the charge against him

Colorado police have arrested the author of a guidebook that gives advice to pedophiles, and charged him with violating obscenity laws in Florida.
Philip R Greaves II sparked controversy last month after selling the Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct through the online retailer Amazon.
He was arrested after selling his guide to a detective, officials said.
The online retail giant removed the book from its website in November.
Authorities in Colorado arrested Mr Greaves on behalf of police in Florida after he sold and mailed a copy of the self-published guidebook to an undercover detective in the southern US state, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Mr Greaves has not yet responded to the charge and it remains unclear whether he has appointed a lawyer.
The book argues that pedophiles are misunderstood and purports to offer advice to help them abide by the law.
'Obscene material' Mr Greaves gained public notoriety last month after Amazon.com initially defended selling his book on its website - saying Amazon did not promote criminal acts but also avoided censorship - despite angry comments and threats of boycotts from thousands of the site's users.
Mr Greaves has been charged in Florida with distribution of obscene material depicting minors.
Laurie Shorter, spokeswoman for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department in Colorado, said Mr Greaves would be held in jail in the state on the Florida charge. It is unclear how soon, if at all, he could be extradited to Florida.
"If he will waive extradition, it's my goal for him to eat processed turkey on Christmas Day in the Polk County Jail," said Mr Judd.

Rare lunar eclipse

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Skywatchers set for lunar eclipse

Total eclipse of the Moon in 2007 (AP) The Moon could turn pink or blood red during the eclipse

Skywatchers around the world are gearing up to observe a rare total lunar eclipse.
The best viewing conditions for the eclipse are from North and Central America, parts of northern Europe and East Asia.
Astronomers say the Moon could turn a pink or blood red hue during the eclipse, which begins early on Tuesday morning GMT.
It will be the first total lunar eclipse in three years.
The Moon is normally illuminated by the Sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full Moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the Sun's light.
Some indirect sunlight will still manage to pierce through and give the Moon a ghostly colour.
The west coast of America will see the eclipse start on Monday night; observers in North and Central America will be able to view the whole event.
Total eclipse begins at 0741 GMT on Tuesday (0241 EST on Tuesday; 11:41 PST on Monday).
Western Europe will only see the start of the spectacle while western Asia will catch the tail end.
The totality phase - when the moon is entirely inside Earth's shadow - will last a little over an hour.
"It's perfectly placed so that all of North America can see it," said eclipse expert Fred Espenak of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

US gay soldier ban lifted

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US Senate lifts 'don't ask, don't tell' gay soldier ban

Activists rally for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in Washington, DC, 10 December Activists have urged President Obama to deliver on the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

The US Senate has approved landmark legislation allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.

Senators voted 65-31 to overturn the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bars gay people in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.
The House of Representatives had already approved the repeal bill. President Barack Obama says he is looking forward to signing it into law.
Opponents argue that the change will damage troop morale at a time of war.
More than 13,000 service members have been dismissed under the "don't ask, don't tell", policy enacted under President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a compromise.
Saturday's vote was along broad party lines, with a few moderate Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favour of lifting the ban.

The BBC's Iain Mackenzie in Washington says the vote is a major victory for Mr Obama, who had made overturning "don't ask, don't tell" a key policy objective.
The president said it meant "thousands of patriotic Americans" would not be forced to leave the military "because they happen to be gay".
President Obama is expected to sign the bill next week.
The repeal will take effect after a 60-day period allowing the defence department to consider how to implement the new policy.
Defence secretary Robert Gates also welcomed the Senate vote.
"Once this legislation is signed into law by the president, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully," he said.
Click to play
Julian Chang of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and retired US Navy Commander Zoe Dunning gave their reaction to the vote

Aubrey Sarvis, head of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group, said: "Until the president signs the bill, until there is certification, and until the 60-day Congressional period is over, no-one should be investigated or discharged under this discriminatory law."
Earlier this month, a Pentagon report said that allowing openly gay troops would have little impact on the cohesion of US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Democrats, who still control both house of Congress, have said they want to approve the repeal before the start of a new Congress in January.

UN security council holds crisis talks over Korea tension

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Korea tension: UN security council holds crisis talks

South Korean marines on Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, 19 December. The exercises on Yeonpyeong island appear likely to be held on Monday or Tuesday
The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session to discuss escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Russia, which requested the talks, says it wants the UN to send a "restraining signal" to both North and South Korea.
The South insists that, weather permitting, it will go ahead with a controversial military exercise this week near a disputed maritime border.
The North condemned the drill - to be held on an island it shelled last month - and has threatened to retaliate.
The issue threatens to divide permanent members of the Security Council, with China and Russia urging South Korea to put off the exercise but the US saying its ally is entitled to make sure it is "properly prepared in the face of... ongoing provocations".
The South Korean military's determination to hold the drills remains unchanged, an unnamed defence ministry official said.
"There is no plan to cancel the exercise. The factor we're looking at is the weather condition," the official said.
Pyongyang is threatening to retaliate if the South goes ahead with planned military exercises on Yeonpyeong island - close to the two countries' disputed sea border, the Northern Limit Line, and within view of the North Korean mainland.
It says it will deal an "unpredictable self-defensive blow" at the South Koreans, "deadlier" than when the North shelled the island during similar live-fire exercises on 23 November.
Four people - two civilians and two marines - were killed in that clash.
An unofficial US envoy - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson - is in North Korea and has held several meetings with senior officials there. The situation is "very, very tense, a crisis situation", he told CNN.
He was speaking after meeting North Korean Maj Gen Pak Rim-su, who leads North Korean forces along the border with the South.
That meeting was "very tough", but "some progress" was made, Mr Richardson said.
"They said there would be a response, but at the same time they hope a UN Security Council resolution would tamp down the situation. It was very clear they were very upset by the potential exercise," he told CNN from Pyongyang.
He suggested a military hotline be set up to address incidents along their border.
 Tight rope
The BBC's Jane O'Brien in Washington says the Obama administration in a tough spot, as the US has 28,000 troops stationed in the South and it would almost certainly be drawn in if hostilities erupt.
The US is walking a diplomatic tightrope, trying to avoid that unfavourable option while remaining a strong ally to the South, our correspondent adds.
The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Saturday that artillery guns on Yeonpyeong will be aimed south-west and away from North Korea for the drill, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.
But the North claims any ammunition fired would inevitably land in its territorial waters.
In the event of an attack from the North, the South's Air Force would put its F-15K and KF-16 fighters on emergency standby, Yonhap quoted the JCS as saying, adding the exact timing of the drill will be announced hours before it begins, depending on weather conditions.
The island is normally home to some 1,300 residents along with hundreds of marines, but most civilians have fled to the mainland, leaving only about 100 remaining, Yonhap said.

Monday, December 13, 2010

the Millionaires' Squadron

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The Millionaires who flew to war

Pilots from 601 Squadron Willie Rhodes-Moorhouse took colour footage of the Millionaires during the Battle of Britain

They were called the Millionaires' Squadron, a dashing young group of well-heeled sportsmen and adventurers with a passion for danger and high jinks. But they were also a very effective fighting unit, placed in the front line of defence against German invasion in the Battle of Britain.
Born into high society in 1914, William Henry Rhodes-Moorhouse was determined to follow a family passion for flying.
His father had built and designed planes and flown in World War I, becoming the first airman to win the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in battle.
Flying at just 300ft (91m), William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse volunteered to drop a single bomb on a strategic rail junction near Ypres in the face of intense ground fire. He made it back to British lines, but died of his wounds shortly afterwards.
Young Willie, his son, was able to fulfil his dream, thanks partly to his school friend George Cleaver, whose family owned a plane. He had his pilot's licence by the age of 17 before leaving Eton.
Amalia Rhodes-Moorhouse Amalia refused a screen test to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind

After extensive travelling, he returned to settle in England where, so family lore records, he "fell head over heels in love" with his wife-to-be, Amalia Demetriadi. A strikingly attractive woman, she was approached in a London restaurant by a talent scout to be screen-tested for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind. A private person, Amalia declined.
For Amalia and Willie, life must have seemed to be bursting with promise. They had a comfortable life and a very good lifestyle, including invitations to the south of France and skiing trips to St Moritz.
A keen sportsman, Willie was selected for the 1936 British Winter Olympics team, but an accident on the ski jump prevented him from competing. But war was looming and short of funds, the RAF had its eyes on amateur pilots like Willie, George and Amalia's brother Dick. It could not maintain a large peacetime force, but if war came, it would need to mobilise fast.

As early as the mid 1920s, the first Chief of the Air Staff, Lord Trenchard, had come up with the idea of auxiliary squadrons, amateur pilots who could be rapidly recruited and deployed on the outbreak of war.
The first auxiliary squadron, 601, later to be known as the Millionaires' Squadron was, according to legend, created by Lord Grosvenor at Whites, the gentlemen's club and restricted to club membership.
Recruitment under Grosvenor involved a trial by alcohol to see if candidates could still behave like gentlemen when drunk. They were apparently required to consume a large port. Gin and tonics would follow back at the club.
Grosvenor wanted officers "of sufficient presence not to be overawed by him and of sufficient means not to be excluded from his favourite pastimes, eating, drinking and Whites," according to the squadron's historian, Tom Moulson.
The squadron attracted the very well-heeled, not just aristocrats but also sportsmen, adventurers and self-made men. There would be no time for petty rules or regulations. But Grosvenor was nonetheless intent on creating an elite fighting unit, as good as any in the RAF.

601 Squadron pilots

  • Roger Bushell, shot down and captured in France, 1940. As "Big X" (played by Richard Attenborough), would mastermind the Great Escape. Executed after recapture in 1944
  • Billy Fiske, an American bobsleigh champion, who pretended to be Canadian to join his friends in 601. First American combatant to die in WWII on 17 August 1940
  • Max Aitken, credited with shooting down 16 planes, later 2nd Baron Beaverbrook, followed his father as chairman of Express newspaper group, but always had time for 'Mouse' Cleaver and other injured veterans of 601
Under their next commander, Sir Philip Sassoon, the squadron acquired a growing reputation for flamboyance, wearing red socks or red-silk-lined jackets as well as driving fast cars.
They also had a reputation for ridiculous games such as navigating around a room without touching the ground. Or a table calibration test in which the subject was distracted to the point at which beer could be poured down his trousers.
There were other auxiliary squadrons such as 600, made up of stockbrokers and city bankers.
And others sprang up around the country, 602 and 603 in Glasgow and Edinburgh and by 1939 there were 14 auxiliary squadrons made up of experienced, amateur pilots who would be equipped and deployed almost immediately on the outbreak of war, effectively adding 25% to the strength of RAF Fighter Command.
But while many of the auxiliaries were wealthy and had their own planes, no squadron was as exclusive or elitist as 601. And they certainly regarded themselves as every bit as good if not better than the regulars. "Tradesmen, RAF, etc, entrance at rear by order" read one sign at a 601 officers' mess.
The Millionaires had a reputation for escapades and flouting the rules says Peter Devitt from the RAF Museum. "But they could not have got away with it without being an efficient and effective fighting unit. They were very serious about their flying and their fighting."
Battle of Britain Days before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, 601 squadron was mobilised including Willie, Amalia's younger brother Dick Demetriadi and their friend George Cleaver.
When war finally came to Western Europe in May 1940, Willie was part of 601 Squadron's A flight which was despatched to France under Squadron Leader Max Aitken, son of Lord Beaverbrook the newspaper magnate. It was the pilots' first action in their Hurricane fighters and they performed creditably, with Aitken being decorated.
In July, as the Battle of Britain began, 601 Squadron was right on the front line at RAF Tangmere in Hampshire.
Dick Demetriadi Dick Demetriadi, killed in action at 21

The Luftwaffe was targeting Allied shipping in the Channel in an attempt to lure the RAF into combat.
On 11 August 1940, in one of the opening skirmishes of the war, 21-year-old Dick Demetriadi was shot down off the Dorset coast.
Willie had lost his best friend, but he also had to break the news to Amalia that her brother would not be coming home.
The following weeks saw the most intense raids on southern England as the Luftwaffe attempted to destroy the RAF and seize control of the skies to allow an invasion.
Willie Henry Rhodes-Moorhouse and the Millionaires of 601 Squadron were in the thick of the fighting. After heavy losses, the squadron was pulled back to Essex, only to find themselves in the front line again as the Luftwaffe targeted London.
From an initial strength of about 20, they lost 11 men killed in action with others injured or posted to other squadrons.
The replacements were more cosmopolitan. And while many of the Millionaires' traditions survived, they were no longer the band of aristocrats and adventurers who had started the war.
Other squadrons were also suffering heavy losses but the RAF pilots were also destroying two German planes for every British loss. Willie was responsible for shooting down nine aircraft.
Amalia and Willie
  • Willie's body was recovered from his plane and his ashes buried alongside his father
  • The Victoria Cross was sold to raise money for the W.B. Rhodes-Moorhouse VC Charitable Trust which makes donations to RAF charities
  • He is pictured above with Amalia, who died in 2003
On 3 September, he and Amalia were invited to Buckingham Palace where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
It was to be one of their last times together. Just three days later he was shot down.
Other members of 601 squadron survived the Battle of Britain including Willie's friend George "Mouse" Cleaver who shot down seven planes before an eye injury which ended his flying career.
But by the time the Luftwaffe called off its assault and the invasion of Britain was canceled, the RAF had lost 544 pilots.
Churchill immortalised "the few", but for each man lost, there were wives, parents and sisters left behind, women like Amalia.
"It was very, very hard on Amalia, losing Willie and Dick," says Rupert Pyle-Hodges, who has helped preserve the family history - Willie and Rupert's grandmother were cousins and were brought up in the same extended family house.
Amalia was godmother to Rupert's father and he remembers visiting her for tea. It was not fashionable for women like Amalia to go to work and she lived within modest means, tending her garden and - like many of the wartime generation who had lived through rationing - recycling everything.
She never re-married although there were certainly offers and she lived a quiet life until her death in 2003.

Chinese archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old 'soup'

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Chinese archaeologists unearth 2,400-year-old 'soup'

A Shaanxi Provincial Archeological Institute official displays the bronze vessel thought to contain the ancient soup Experts say the 'bone soup' in the vessel turned green due to the oxidation of the bronze

Chinese archaeologists have unearthed what they believe is a 2,400-year-old pot of soup, state media report.

The liquid and bones were in a sealed bronze cooking vessel dug up near the ancient capital of Xian - home to the country's famed terracotta warriors.
Tests are being carried out to identify the ingredients. An odourless liquid, believed to be wine, was also found.
The pots were discovered in a tomb being excavated to make way for an extension to the local airport.
"It's the first discovery of bone soup in Chinese archaeological history," the newspaper quoted Liu Daiyun of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology as saying.
"The discovery will play an important role in studying the eating habits and culture of the Warring States Period (475-221BC)."
The scientists said the tomb could have held the body of either a member of the land-owning class or a low-ranking military officer, the report said.
Xian served as China's capital for more than 1,100 years.
In 1974, the terracotta army was found there at the burial site of Qin Shihuang, China's first emperor.
He presided over the unification of China in 221BC and ruled until 210BC.