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News Roundup: Mystery Planes, Hidden Treasures, and Other News

Lebanon and Iraq Protests Force Leaders to Step Down

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, said that he and the people who hold important positions in his government would step down.

The move comes in response to protests that have grown larger and louder since they began on October 17. “What’s important is the country,” said Mr. Hariri. “No one’s bigger than the nation.”

Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri in Sochi, 13 September 2017.
On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri (above), said that he and the people who hold important positions in his government would step down. The move comes in response to protests that have grown larger and louder since they began on October 17.
(Source: Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Protesters are upset at the way government leaders seem to get rich while ordinary people still suffer. People in Lebanon can’t even count on basic services like electricity and tap water.

In Iraq, thousands have been protesting for similar reasons. In the last week, the government has cracked down on the protesters very violently. But the protesters didn’t give up.

Iraqi protests from Tahrir square in 25 October 2019
In Iraq, thousands have been protesting for similar reasons. In the last week, the government has cracked down on the protesters very violently. But the protesters didn’t give up. Now Iraq’s prime minister has said he’s stepping down. The picture shows Iraqi protests from Tahrir square on October 25, 2019.
(Source: FPP [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

On Thursday, Iraq President Barham Salih announced that Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi would be stepping down. It wasn’t clear whether Mr. Abdul-Mahdi would step down right away or wait until there was a replacement. Mr. Salih said the country would hold early elections.

Protesters in both countries seemed to doubt that removing just a few politicians was enough to solve the problems their countries face.

Secret US Space Plane Lands After Two Years

Last Sunday, a special US Air Force space plane landed back on Earth after flying for more than two years. The X-37B plane touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida after spending 779 days, 17 hours in space. That’s the longest trip ever for the secret space plane.

Few people know exactly what the X-37B is used for. The Air Force reported that the plane carried satellites and ran “experiments”. Not much else is known about what it does.

X-37b lands at NASA Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility 2019, Oct. 27
Last Sunday, the US Air Force space plane X-37B landed back on Earth after spending 779 days, 17 hours in space. That’s the longest trip ever for the secret space plane. Few people know exactly what the X-37B is used for.
(Source: NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

The X-37B is a space plane that can be used more than once and can be controlled from the ground. Less than 11 yards (10 meters) long, the X-37B is like a smaller version of NASA’s  Space Shuttle. It’s sent into space on a rocket, and then orbits (goes around) the Earth until it finally comes in for a landing.

The Air Force plans to send a sixth X-37B mission into space in 2020.

Painting Hanging in Kitchen Sells for $26.6 Million

A painting that had been hanging for years in the kitchen of a home in northern France was sold last Sunday for $26.6 million (€24 million). The home belonged to a 90-year-old woman who planned to sell the house.

The painting was only noticed after the woman had an expert come in to see if there was anything of value in the house. The woman said that if the expert hadn’t come, she was planning on sending everything to the dump.

Christ Mocked by Cimabue, a painting found in a kitchen in northern France.
A painting that had been hanging for years in the kitchen of a home in northern France was sold last Sunday for $26.6 million (€24 million). The painting was only noticed after the woman had an expert come in to see if there was anything of value in the house. The painting is called “Christ Mocked” and was painted by Cimabue around 1280.
(Source: Cimabue [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

The small painting, called “Christ Mocked”, is by an artist known as Cimabue. It was painted around 1280. The painting was very dirty, since it was hung right over the area where the woman cooked. But experts were able to clean the painting, and said it was in excellent condition.

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