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“External Impact” Blamed For Metrojet Plane Crash

Metrojet Crash

Debris from the Russian-bound Metrojet crash. Image Source: The Daily Beast

Metrojet officials announced on Monday that an “external impact” is to blame for Saturday’s plane explosion, which killed all 224 people on board and scattered parts of the plane in an 8-square-mile radius in Egypt.

A Metrojet Airbus was 20 minutes into its flight from Egypt to St. Petersburg, Russia, on the morning of Oct. 31 when it went off radar and broke apart over the Sinai Peninsula. Initially, technical failure or human error was thought to be the cause of the crash. But at a Moscow press conference on Monday — and before a formal investigation had been completed or the plane’s black box had been decoded and read — Metrojet deputy director for aviation Aleksandr Smirnov ruled out human error or technical failure, instead blaming the crash on an external impact.

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Photo Of The Day: Artist Turns Vladimir Lenin Statue Into Darth Vader

Lenin Darth Vader Statue

The Lenin statue before and after its transformation. Image Source: SFGate

The Dark Side has established itself in Odessa, Ukraine.

A statue of Vladimir Lenin, brutal leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and key figure in the creation of the Soviet Union, was converted into a statue of Darth Vader in response to a law requiring local governments to remove communist and Nazi symbols and names. Alexander Milov, a Ukrainian sculptor who made his mark in the art world at the Burning Man festival this year, was behind the statue’s transformation.

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This Is Ukraine After Over A Year Of Conflict

Ukraine Conflict Shelling School

Image Source: The New York Times

Syria has once again captured the world’s attention, casting a long shadow over the ongoing war in Ukraine. But does the shift in international attention necessarily mean flagging hostilities?

In short: probably not.

In early 2014, Ukraine’s east fell into turmoil after a wave of demonstrations hit the main square of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Known as the Euromaidan, the eventual violence that took place there was at least in part a response to then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the E.U. Association Agreement in November 2013.

This agreement would distance Ukraine from Russia, a nation with which Ukraine has close historical and physical ties. With this agreement, Ukraine would inch ever closer to the European Union — a move that divided many in the country and abroad, eventually pushing Ukraine to war.

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Rare USSR Shuttle Prototypes Found In Russian Hangar

soviet space ruins reflections

Source: Ralph Mirebs

When photographer Ralph Mirebs happened upon an abandoned hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, he did not expect to find the remains of two shuttle prototypes within its walls. These prototypes, Buran orbiters, were the Soviet response to NASA’s shuttles. A third orbiter – 1K1 – actually made it into orbit in 1988, but was destroyed when the hangar housing it collapsed in 2002.

These relics provide us with more insights into the Buran program, which got its start in 1974 and ended in 1993. The smaller of the two shuttles shown in the derelict hangar – nicknamed Ptichka, or “little bird” – would have docked at the Mir Space station if the Soviet Union hadn’t dissolved in 1993. The second vessel was a full-scale, static model for testing purposes.

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