Travelers at Wellington Airport in New Zealand may have felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins on a quest through Middle Earth when a giant eagle descended from the ceiling during a strong 6.3-magnitude quake that shook North Island on Monday.
The eagle — a sculpture, actually — was one of two giant birds used to promote The Hobbit films, which were shot in New Zealand. The bird was shaken off its perch in the terminal and crashed to the floor.
No one was seriously hurt at the airport or anywhere else on the island, where damage from the earthquake was reportedly minimal.
... That's the message received from a bleary-eyed comet-chasing space probe on Monday, much to the relief of ground-based controllers who sent it a long distance wake-up call after nearly a three-year nap.
The European Space Agency received the communique from deep space on schedule at 1 p.m. ET from Rosetta, some 500 million miles away on a trajectory to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. It's been in sleep mode to conserve power.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:34 pm
New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is firing back at Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to her city were held up when she refused to sign off on a politically connected real estate deal.
Zimmer said over the weekend that during a mall opening event in May, Guadagno pulled her aside to say she needed to "move forward" on the real estate deal or "we are not going to be able to help you."
Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in aid. She received around $142,000.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:46 pm
This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.
The United States and European Union say they will lift some sanctions against Iran after reports from international inspectors that Tehran has suspended high-level enrichment of uranium under an interim pact to scale back its nuclear program.
Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:06 am
This post was updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has withdrawn an invitation to Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks after groups opposing President Bashar Assad's regime threatened a boycott of the discussions if Tehran got a seat at the table.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:38 pm
American missionary Kenneth Bae, who's been held for more than a year in North Korea following his arrest and trial on espionage charges, spoke to reporters for Western media on Monday, calling for the U.S. government to help win his freedom.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 3:10 pm
Lots of consumers are smitten with local food, but they're not the only ones. The growing market is also providing an opportunity for less experienced farmers to expand their business and polish their craft.
But they need help, and increasingly it's coming from food hubs, which can also serve as food processing and distribution centers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 240 of them in more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia.
Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 1:00 pm
Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?
The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.
The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.