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Snowden to speak at Israeli conference – with ex-Mossad deputy chief responding

Edward Snowden is expected to speak via video link at a closed conference held in Israel. The event,..

Edward Snowden is expected to speak via video link at a closed conference held in Israel. The event, which expects to hear Snowden touching upon US spying on Israel, will be joined by a former top Mossad official.

The NSA whistleblower is set to speak through a secure video system from Russia, at a conference organized by the local media consultancy company OH! Orenstein + Hoshen. He is expected to cover the issues “relating specifically to Israel” at the November 6 event, Israeli media report, speculating that this might involve the instances of the US snooping on Israeli officials.

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“Snowden is a fascinating figure because his actions are so controversial. We have no intention of expressing support or an opinion on what he did. The audience will hear what he has to say, can ask tough questions and people can work out their own opinions on the matter,” the company said in a statement issued to the media. The participants, including Snowden, have been approved by the Israeli security officials including the military censor, the Israeli news service Arutz Sheva reported.

READ MORE: Big Brother is keeping 'Five Eyes' on you

Snowdens remarks are to be followed by a “response” from Ram Ben-Barak, the former deputy chief of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. Ben-Barak headed the Keshet division, responsible for gathering intelligence data through electronic means, and held the position of the Intelligence Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry director general. Some media reports also suggest that the current Mossad leadership will also be present at the closed event.

Snowden, who worked as a private contractor for the NSA, leaked a trove of documents in 2013 that revealed an extensive surveillance program run by the US intelligence, which involved spying on numerous foreign countries – including US allies. He also notably revealed the NSA was collecting sensitive data on hundreds of millions of people, including the US citizens. Ever since getting stuck in Moscow after his passport got revoked, Snowden has been living in Russia, where he was eventually granted a residence permit.

Some of the documents obtained by Snowden revealed that the NSA and the British intelligence service GCHQ have spied on Israel. This provoked an angry reaction in Tel Aviv, as Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time that such things are “unacceptable” and “must not be done” between close allies.

In 2016, another leak showed that the two agencies had been spying on Israeli air forces operations for at least 18 years, while the British secret services have been spying on Israels diplomats, defense firms, and militarary.

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Italexit looming? Majority of Italians would vote to leave EU as immigration tops agenda

Italy has turned out to be more Euroskeptic than previously imagined after a new survey revealed tha..

Italy has turned out to be more Euroskeptic than previously imagined after a new survey revealed that a majority of Italians want to see their country crashing out of the 28-member bloc.

According to an opinion poll commissioned by Brussels Eurobarometer, only 44 percent of Italians would vote to remain in the EU, compared to the member states average of 66 percent.

The figure is lower even than Britain, where a majority (53 percent) would today vote Remain if they had another EU referendum, while 35 percent would vote Leave. Britain announced that it was withdrawing from the bloc in 2016 after 51 percent of Britons voted for Brexit.

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Italy was also the only country in the bloc where a majority (45 percent to 43 percent) thought the nation hadnt benefited from its membership of the EU, Euronews reports.

The findings contrast with those published in June following an Ipsos poll commissioned by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which found that 55 percent would still vote to remain in the bloc, despite declining faith in the EU.

Commenting on the findings, EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani called on the bloc to strengthen efforts to convince member states of the importance of remaining an EU member.

“We must double the efforts to prove that the union knows how to give really effective answers to the main problems of Europeans, such as immigration, security and unemployment,” Italian newspaper La Repubblica quotes him as saying.

READ MORE: Italys deputy PM predicts political earthquake for European Union (more…)

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Ancient graffiti shows weve been wrong about Pompeii doomsday date all along

The idle scrawlings of an over-indulgent Roman builder may have just rewritten the history books reg..

The idle scrawlings of an over-indulgent Roman builder may have just rewritten the history books regarding the date that Mount Vesuvius obliterated the city of Pompeii in 79AD.

Recently discovered graffiti at the site has shifted the timeline of when disaster struck the Roman city, killing all of its roughly 1,000 residents and preserving many of them in volcanic ash.

Graffiti of the phrase “XVI K Nov in [d]ulsit pro masumis esurit [ions],” which roughly translates as “He over-indulged in immodest food,” was found written on the wall of a house that was apparently undergoing renovation at the time of the eruption.

“XVI K Nov” indicates the 16th day before the first of November, or October 17, contradicting the widely held belief that Vesuvius erupted earlier in the year, sometime in August, based on correspondence between Pliny the Younger and historian Tacitus 25 years after the disaster.

“Being charcoal, fragile and evanescent, which could not last long over time, it is more than likely that it is October 79 AD, a week before the great catastrophe that, according to this hypothesis, occurred on 24 October,” archaeologists at the site wrote in a statement.

“Today, with much humility, perhaps we will rewrite the history books because we date the eruption to the second half of October,” said Italys Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli, as quoted by The Independent.

The graffiti isnt actually the first discovery to cast doubt on Plinys claims. Archaeologists previously found out-of-season produce like calcified fruits on tree branches, preserved in the ash, such as pomegranates, walnuts and wine which suggest that Pompeii wasnt obliterated until the Autumn.

READ MORE: Pompeii unveiled: Jaw-dropping drone footage shows extent of citys excavation

The well-preserved remains of Pompeians also provided another clue as their tunics were far too heavy for August, indicating that temperatures had cooled by the time disaster struck. Many braziers, used for heating, were discovered strewn around the city, indicating there may have been a chill in the air at the time of the catastrophic eruption.

This latest discovery indicates that yesterday, 1,939 years ago, a bored builder left a mundane scrawl about overindulging on junk food a week before their entire city was destroyed. This might put modern tweets and instagram posts in perspective, but probably not. (more…)

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China plans to launch artificial moon bright enough to replace streetlights by 2020

Related Story: China's mission to go where no spacecraft has gone before Related Story: 'A..

Related Story: China's mission to go where no spacecraft has gone before Related Story: 'A warfighting domain': Is the global race for space supremacy reigniting?

China is reportedly in the process of creating an "artificial moon" that would be bright enough to replace the streetlights in the south-western city of Chengdu by 2020.

Key points:

  • Chinese scientists plan to install three artificial moons by 2022
  • The illuminated satellite is designed to complement the moon at night
  • The artificial moon could save hundreds of million of dollars a year in electricity costs

The illuminated satellite is said to be eight times brighter than the real moon, according to state media People's Daily, and forms part of the country's growing ambitions in space.

Chinese scientists plan to send three artificial moons into space in the next four years, and the moons — made from reflective material like a mirror — are expected to orbit at 500 kilometres above the Earth and light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres.

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Corporation which developed the project, said the illuminating satellite would provide a "dusk-like glow".

"The satellites' brightness and service time are both adjustable, and the accuracy of the lighting can be controlled within tens of metres," Mr Wu told the state media agency earlier today.

Mr Wu added the three artificial moons would operate alternately in order to significantly reduce infrastructural electricity consumption, especially during winter.

The illuminated satellite is designed to complement the moon at night.

'Who paid for it and what is the purpose?'

A cityscape in China at night.

Mr Wu said lighting from the artificial moon covering 50 square kilometres in Chengdu could save about 1.2 billion yuan ($240 million) in electricity costs every year. (more…)

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