Day: April 23, 2017

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Anti-Zionist Muslim activist Linda Sarsour to speak at NYC university


A Muslim woman who has referred to “Zionist trolls” and lauded the “courage” of rock-throwing Palestinians will deliver this year’s keynote address at the commencement ceremony of a New York City university.

Linda Sarsour is listed as a featured speaker for the June 1, 2017, graduation at CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, according to the school’s website.

The Brooklyn-born activist, who is co-organizer of the Women’s March and a former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, says it is “nuts” that a taxpayer-funded institution like CUNY would invite a supporter of Shariah law to speak, CBS New York reported.

“She is someone who associates with radical Islamists; supports them; shows support for them. She is someone who has said, clearly, she thinks throwing rocks at cars in Israel is a good thing,” Hikind told the station. “I mean, it’s just nuts. It makes no sense. It’s crazy to have this woman be the person who’s going to speak to the students.”

Sarsour’s anti-Israel tweets include a photo of a young Palestinian boy with a rock in each hand. It is captioned: “The definition of courage. #Palestine”

In other tweets, Sarsour refers to “Zionist trolls” and states, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

CUNY says it is sticking to its ceremony program, which also includes Chirlane McCray, first lady of New York City, and Mary Bassett, commissioner of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“The program has not changed,” said Ayman A.E. El-Mohandes, dean of CUNY’s School of Public Health. The school told CBS that former President Barack Obama named Sarsour a “champion of change,” and said that she supported efforts by Muslims in St. Louis to raise funds for a Jewish cemetery that was recently vandalized there.



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Renewed Zika outbreak feared on Texas border


As warmer weather approaches and mosquito seasons take flight, health professionals are warning that a Zika outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley at the southernmost tip on the Texas border with Mexico is just a matter of time.

The area, home to 1.3 million people, many living in poverty, has many houses without sufficient air-conditioning and window screens.

ZIKA BIRTH DEFECTS FOUND IN 1 IN 10 INFECTED US PREGNANT WOMEN

“You have a lot of these families who don’t even have money to get rid of their garbage,” Patricia Pena, who works with the community nonprofit La Frontera Ministries to educate locals on the virus, told the Guardian newspaper. “And their houses are infested with all kinds of creatures, including mosquitoes.”

Joseph McCormick, regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health, also expressed concern that the disease is “going to hit the poorest people.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is currently urging pregnant woman and symptomatic individuals in the lower Rio Grande Valley to promptly get tested.

US ZIKA VACCINE BEGINS SECOND PHASE OF TESTING

But making matters worse, the number of people without health insurance in the region is one of the highest in the U.S, and there is no public hospital. Furthermore, 80 percent of Zika cases do not show symptoms – but the local-mosquito-borne virus comes with serious consequences from severe birth defects to neurological problems.

And while much of the nation’s attention has been on the spread of the disease in Florida, Texas has already had to contend with some ten documented cases this year.

The state reported its first case in late November, in the border town of Brownsville, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to designate it a “cautionary area” that pregnant women should avoid.



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How to catch giant fish


Don’t bother with those dainty panfish, target the bulls

Small, dink bluegills are insufferable. Giant ’gills—true bulls—are another story entirely. I can recall with perfect clarity every hump-headed, 12-plus-inch bluegill that I have ever caught. The list requires one hand to index. The last occurred on a fishery known to grow 2-pounders. The battle was tremendous. No jumps; just powerful, determined runs. My anticipated large bass morphed into “Brutus.” He measured 12.5 inches and weighed 2.1 pounds. So, what can be done to tempt more bulls? Try these tactics this spring.

1. THINK BIG

Upsizing your lures can increase your odds of connecting with some of the largest bluegills in any fishery. During the pre-spawn period, when large male ’gills first move onto the flats to stake out their future spawning grounds, soft-plastic swimbaits will provoke strikes from territorial bulls. Favorite lures in this category include Storm’s Suspending WildEye Swim Shad. At 3 inches, these baits are outside the experience of most panfish anglers, but they are just large enough to cause a reaction from bulls. At ¼ ounce, they cast well on light line, and their suspending nature helps keep them from snagging bottom on a slow retrieve.

The technique used with these swimbaits is simple. Locate 2- to 6-foot flats adjacent to traditional spawning sites. Fan cast the flats by making long casts toward the shoreline. Retrieve the lure just fast enough to keep it off the bottom, with an occasional twitch of the rod to vary the action of the paddletail. Big bluegills will chase down these baits from a distance.

2. GO DEEP

Once bulls are in full spawning mode, they are less likely to chase horizontally moving lures and are best left alone to spawn the next generation of trophies. With the spawn completed, big ’gills vacate the flats and push off to deep outside weed edges. In these areas, you can target bulls by casting parallel to the edges with sinking lipless rattling baits, blade baits, and tailspin lures. These can be fished with a yo-yo retrieve to cover multiple depth ranges. Top-producing lures include a ¼-ounce #5 Rapala Rippin’ Rap, ¼-ounce Rat-L-Trap, ³⁄₁₆-ounce Johnson Thin Fisher, ¼-ounce Big Dude Blade Bait, and Biwaa Divinator Mini. The size, flash, and/or noise of these lures will draw large bluegills out of the weeds.

In lakes that lack weeds, the biggest ’gills in the system are often pelagic and key on rock structure. Nomadically wandering in open water, they opportunistically feed on minnows and young-of-the-year panfish that get pushed against mid-lake humps and points, as well as on bottom-dwelling crayfish and hellgrammites. At 10 inches or bigger in size, bulls have no fear. They are no longer prey for bass or walleyes. Instead, they have reversed roles and are now predators of young-of-the-year fish.

Bull bluegills are not schoolers. Instead, they travel in small pods of similarly sized fish, often accompanied by several bass. Target these bulls in the same manner you would bass—by drop-shotting. While finesse plastics can be used to occasionally fool savvy deep-water bulls, nothing outproduces a lively whole nightcrawler or leech nose-hooked with a size 8 VMC Spinshot hook. Use the lightest weight possible to maintain bottom contact, and no-stretch braided line for maximum sensitivity. Bluegills are suction feeders and can breathe in and spit out a bait in a blink of an eye.

For a more active approach in deep water, employ a spoon and bait. Top spoons for this approach are compact rattling spoons such as the Acme Rattle Master, VMC Rattle Spoon, and Clam Rattlin’ Blade Spoon. Tip them with either live bait or the more durable and heavily scented Gulp! Waxies. Work spoons by allowing them to sink to the bottom. Give them a couple of quick pops to get the spoon rocketing 3 to 4 feet off the bottom, then slow down the retrieve by hopping the spoon back to the boat about 6 to 10 inches off the bottom with each hop. Continue working the spoon until it is directly under the boat. With the spoon suspended a few inches off the bottom, shake the rod tip to get the spoon rocking back and forth. This slight rocking motion is often enough to draw a strike.

3. WATCH THEM FALL

Panfish anglers often forget that they need to impart lively action to their jigs by changing up materials in order to vary their fall rates. Whether it’s marabou, rabbit, or deer hair, no particular jig material works under every condition—however, there are dramatic differences among them that astute panfish anglers can use to their advantage.

Marabou is a popular panfish jig material due to its soft undulating action in the water. Made originally from fine stork feathers and now from less exotic chicken feathers, marabou compresses with each pull of the jig and expands out on the pause. Contracting tightly on the fall, marabou has minimal water resistance to slow the jig’s descent. The resulting fast fall rate helps get your lure to the bottom quickly for deep-water bulls while avoiding smaller suspended ’gills. To slow the fall rate slightly and bulk up the appearance of jigs, add a plastic trailer like a Slab Jiggies Realistic Minnow. At times, bigger is better.

Rabbit hair jigs are coveted by top bluegill anglers who fish cold water. Rabbit hair breathes less than marabou and, therefore, maintains its shape better in the water, falls more slowly, and fishes big for its weight. Tip these jigs with a large leech or half a crawler for the ultimate slow sinking jig-and-bait combination. Top quality rabbit hair jigs include ¹⁄₃₂- or ¹⁄₁₆-ounce Mr. Derk’s Buggy jigs. While originally designed for steelhead, these high-quality jigs are deadly on trophy ’gills and crappies.

Somewhere between the fall characteristics of marabou and rabbit is deer hair—­generally referred to as bucktail. Bucktail holds its shape in water, is durable, and has a moderate fall rate. The most famous of all panfish bucktail jigs is likely the Original Pinkie jig by Little Atom. These have a darter-style head that imparts a side-to-side action to them with each twitch of the rod.

While the descent rate of jigs is important for garnering the attention of bulls, equally important is the look of fishing jigs at rest on the bottom. Trophy bluegills are like a magician’s worst heckler. They will race up to a suspended jig and then stop on a dime inches from the bait. With pectoral fins waving, they hover in place—meticulously examining every minute detail of the offering. Their unblinking eyes search for any mistakes in the presentation. However, by laying a jig on the bottom, there’s less chance that flaws will be detected—such as they might with a jig that is spinning or moving in an unnatural manner or suspended just a little too high or too low. Instead, bulls following the offering on the fall are presented with naturally breathing fibers and a wiggling live bait on the bottom, where most of their food naturally resides or originates. A vulnerable bait is often too much for them to resist.

4. THINK LIKE A BASS ANGLER

Giant ’gills have different feeding habits and a different mentality than small ones. Once they get big enough that they don’t fit into a bass’ mouth, they begin to feed like bass. They are up earlier than small ’gills and cruise the flats looking for smaller fish that have yet to react to the changing light. Bull bluegills also feed later into the evening for the same reason. Smaller fish are susceptible to being eaten, whereas bulls are not on the menu. Topwater baits like a Storm Hopper Popper or Heddon Tiny Torpedo play to the curious nature of ’gills, and the disturbance they create on the surface will draw the bigger, most aggressive fish. By thinking of bull bluegills the same way you would about bass, you can better decipher their locations and figure out how to catch them.



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BORDER OR BUST? Mulvaney on debate over gov’t shutdown, wall $$


White House budget director Mick Mulvaney declined to say Sunday whether President Trump will insist Congress include money for his border wall in his proposed 2018 budget or risk a government shutdown.

“We don’t know yet,” Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to negotiate with you on national television. We will negotiate with the Democrats.”

Ryan reportedly vows to prevent government shutdown

Congress has until Friday to pass the budget to keep the federal government from technically running out of money, which would result in a shutdown of non-essential services.

Mulvaney reiterated Sunday that one of Trump’s biggest presidential campaign platforms was national security, which included building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I don’t think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable,” Mulvaney said.

However, he wouldn’t say whether Trump would risk a politically unpopular shutdown to get his way. And he suggested that Democrats would be to blame because of their demands on an ObamaCare overhaul plan in exchange for border wall funding in the budget.  

“We are asking for our priorities,” Mulvaney told Fox News. “I would say is that they’re holding hostage national security. Again, something they’ve supported in the recent past when President Obama was in the Senate. So we don’t understand why this is breaking down like this.”

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested earlier Sunday on CNN that Trump would “insist” on the border wall funding.

Mulvaney also said Sunday that members of Congress, returning Monday from a roughly two-week recess, are working on the budget “as we speak” and that members could pass it and a revised ObamaCare overhaul plan within the next seven days.

“We don’t see any structural reason the House and Senate cannot do both things in a week,” he said.

Trump signing a major bill like ObamaCare repeal and replace into law within his first 100 days of office, which ends this week, would be a major victory for the president.  

Trump tweeted several times Sunday about the issue, saying Democrats don’t want budget money paying for the wall “despite the fact it will stop drugs and very bad MS-13 gang members.”

Muvaney also said Sunday that if House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has the votes in the GOP-controlled chamber, Ryan will hold a vote.

However, Ryan continues to say that passing a budget is the top priority this week.



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FRENCH ELECTION Le Pen, Macron projected as winners in first round


As France’s polls closed in the first round of presidential voting on Sunday, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron were projected by multiple news agencies to advance to a May 7 runoff.

The projections, based on vote totals in certain constituencies that were then extrapolated nationwide, were reported by The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP.

With 50 percent of the vote counted, Le Pen had 24 percent and Macron had 22 percent.

A little more than an hour after polls closed, Le Pen declared victory to a crowd of her supporters, proclaiming herself “the great alternative” in the race.

“It is time to liberate the French nation from arrogant elites who want to dictate how it must behave,” Le Pen said.

Macron urged hope in Europe and national unity during his address. In a Paris speech, Macron said he wanted to gather “the largest possible” support before the runoff and he praised his supporters for a campaign that “changed the course of our country.”

The likely Le Pen-Macron matchup was announced almost immediately after polls closed at 8 p.m. local time. But even before the first results were announced, Le Pen’s fans were so sure of her victory they began singing “La Marseillaise” at one of her headquarters.

The May 7 runoff now places the controversial, right-wing nationalist Le Pen against the centrist, Pro-European Union Macron. Le Pen’s entry into the second round of voting was being watched closely around the globe and is seen as another victory for a populist movement that has recently claimed wins in Britain’s so-called “Brexit” referendum and the election of President Trump in the United States.

Multiple politicians immediately endorsed Macron in the second round of voting, including embattled conservative candidate Francois Fillon, who conceded shortly after polls closed. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also called for the country to mobilize around Macron and beat Le Pen.

Far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon refused to concede defeat until the final results of the vote were announced, and also said he wouldn’t endorse a second-round candidate.

Security around the more than 60,000 polling stations was tightened up in wake of the deadly shooting on the Champs-Elysses on Thursday, which left one police officer and a gunman dead. The government mobilized more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect the polling places and an additional 7,000 soldiers were on patrol.

It is the first time in recent memory that a presidential election, in which 47 million people are eligible to vote, taking place during a state of emergency, which was put in place after the Paris attacks of November 2015.

France’s Interior Ministry said voter turnout by late afternoon was 69.4 percent — slightly lower than in 2012, when turnout was high. There was a marked surge in turnout in the Paris region.

France’s 10 percent unemployment, its lackluster economy and security issues topped concerns for the 47 million eligible voters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Florida teen dons Black Lives Matter prom dress


A Florida teenager’s prom dress stood out from the rest Friday for its Black Lives Matter message.

Milan Morris, 17, donned a floor-length gown that featured the images of young black people whose high-profile deaths led to nationwide protests, Essence.com reported. The dress, created by Florida-based designer Terrance Torrence, included images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland and Michael Brown, among others.

Morris, from Palm Beach, is a senior at Cardinal Newman High School, where she is an “all-area player” on the school’s basketball team, according to the Palm Beach Post. She will attend Boston College in the fall, the paper reported.

Morris said the idea for the dress, which took four days to make, rested with Torrence. “He was the mastermind behind this whole thing honestly,” Morris told Essence.

Torrence added: “It was powerful and a movement and I knew people would respond to it.”

CLICK FOR THE FULL STORY IN ESSENCE.COM.



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'THE GREG GUTFELD SHOW': Gutfeld jabs Dems for celebrating Georgia election loss



'THE GREG GUTFELD SHOW': Gutfeld jabs Dems for celebrating Georgia election loss



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Taliban’s surprise attack forced 30 coalition troops to ‘shelter in place’ – US airstrike kills Taliban shadow governor in Afghanistan sought since 2011


Coalition troops were told to “shelter in place” during a deadly six-hour attack on an Afghan Army base in northern Afghanistan on Friday, as fewer than a dozen Taliban militants massacred nearly 200 troops.

Roughly 30 coalition troops were on the base outside Mazar-i-Sharif, though a U.S. defense official wouldn’t say if Americans were among them.

The group of 10 Taliban members — including suicide bombers — launched the surprise attack on Friday, which is prayer day in Afghanistan and other Muslim nations. The time is a “low ops tempo” for the Afghan military, and many Afghan soldiers on base were at a mosque when the attack occurred. Mosque and dining halls were prime targets of the extremists. The coalition typically begins its day around noon on Fridays in the country.

The gunmen and bombers arrived in military vehicles and entered the base disguised as members of the Afghan Army. They began shooting almost immediately after entering the compound in Balkh province. Two attackers died in suicide bombings and the other eight attackers were killed in clashes during the assault.

The attack came just days after National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster visited Afghanistan for meetings with senior U.S. military and Afghan leaders.

The bloody Friday assault continued a trend of heavy losses for Afghan troops. In 2015, Afghan security forces suffered record casualties, with more than 6,500 killed as Taliban militants made territorial gains.

Elsewhere in the country, 300 Marines arrived in Helmand province over the weekend, replacing a U.S. Army unit to train the Afghan Army. It’s the first time Marines have been in Helmand since 2014, when former President Barack Obama declared combat operations over in Afghanistan.

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews



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Too much sex on 'Bachelor?'


Ali Fedotowsky may have found fame while seeking romance on television with the help of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” but the 32-year-old lifestyle blogger is now enjoying a much simpler life as a wife, mother to a 9-month-old daughter and spokeswoman for The American Egg Board. However, that hasn’t stopped her from keeping tabs on the hit reality TV shows — and she’s not loving what she’s seeing:

Fox News: Do you think participating in ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ influenced the way you dated afterwards?
Fedotowsky: Yes, because the one thing I learned from the shows is that you need to trust your gut. When it comes to dating, if something feels a little off, then it probably means something is wrong. I stopped wasting time in relationships that weren’t good because I knew it was pointless. Before I would stay in relationships for years that were wrong, but somehow I was so determined to make it work. I realized after ‘The Bachelorette’ that if something’s not working, move on. 

Fox New: You mentioned in a previous interview that this recent season featuring Nick Viall had too much sexuality.
Fedotowsky: I think it’s unfortunate because I felt some of the girls thought they had to show their bodies and be overly sexual in order to win the affections of a man. And I just think that it’s a really sad thing. I was never angry at any of the girls for doing it. If anything, I wished they knew they were better than that. I wished they knew that you can be loved for being smart, for being a good person, and just for being yourself — not because you have boobs or you wear size 2 jeans. That’s not what love is. Love is not having to prove your sexuality. It’s so much more than that.

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Fox News: Was there a specific moment that made you feel ‘The Bachelor’ took things too far?
Fedotowsky: I don’t think there was a scene in particular. I just think there was so much of it as time went on in the season… It was a lot of taking tops off… and if that’s the way you won a man’s attention, that’s not the man you’ll want to be with.

Fox News: Why do you think there was so much sex in this season?
Fedotowsky: I think it’s because Nick was the one known for sleeping with some of the girls. We know so much about Nick’s sex life, which I think is so weird. But I do think some of the girls felt they needed to play up the sex thing… but look, Vanessa, the girl he ended up with, never flaunted her sexuality. If anything, she showed up with her personality, her brains. She’s the one he chose in the end. What does that tell you? That’s what wins a man. Being a strong, independent, smart woman. Not taking your clothes off.

Fox News: How did you avoid temptation?
Fedotowsky: I worked [at] Facebook in Silicon Valley. And in Silicon Valley, intelligence is way valued over physical appearance. And I think I really came to appreciate and love that. So when I went to ‘The Bachelor,’ I came with that mentality of, ‘I don’t really feel comfortable in a bikini and I don’t look like this girl who’s a size 2, but I’m smart and can hold a conversation.’ That’s what carried me through.

Fox News: Do you still stay in touch with Roberto Martinez?
Fedotowsky: No, I don’t. I mean, I think it be kind of weird to stay in contact with your ex-fiancé, right? But I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy and whoever ends up with him will be a very lucky girl.

Fox News: How has your life changed since you became a wife and mom?
Ali Fedotowsky: Gosh, well my life has changed a ton! You can’t be selfish anymore. Everything is about your child… But I think there are times when it’s important to get a baby-sitter and make an evening that’s just for you and your husband… but really, everything is about [my daughter] Molly. I love being a mom. She’s still not sleeping through the night, she’ll wake up three to five times a night, which is hard. But overall, she has made life better and sweeter. 

FORMER ‘BACHELORETTE’ ALI FEDOTOWSKY: ’95 PERCENT’ OF ‘BACH’ STARS HAVE SEX

Fox News: When did you realize that your husband was The One?
Fedotowsky: Right away. I mean, as soon as we started dating, everything was easy. Life is hard, but if you’re with the right person, it just becomes a little easier. If the person is making life harder for you, then they’re definitely not the one for you. And that was the case with my past relationships. I found myself having heartache… With Kevin [Manno], I would never question what he’s doing. He just made life easier for me.



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Viking sword reveals secrets


High-tech scans of Viking swords are revealing details of how the weapons were made and how their role changed in Viking society over time.

A new analysis of three Viking swords has found that, as fearsome as these seafaring people were, these specific “weapons” were probably not sturdy enough for battle or raiding, and instead were likely decorative.

This finding, along with similar examples of non-fighting swords from the Viking Age, described previously by scientists, indicate that swords became symbols of power and status that were only rarely used, the scientists said. [Fierce Fighters: 7 Secrets of Viking Culture]

Viking weapon

During the Viking Age, which ancient texts and archaeological discoveries suggested lasted from about A.D. 750 to 1050, seafaring crews from Scandinavia went “viking” — that is, they started raiding . They used different kinds of weapons depending on their social status, ranging from affordable axes , spears and lances to costly swords, usually owned only by the elite, researchers said.

More than 2,000 swords from the Viking Age have survived to the present day, researchers of the new study said. These swords were mostly examined either by eye or through invasive methods that required the extraction of samples.

Now, scientists have for the first time used neutron scanning to peer deeply into Viking swords in a noninvasive way. Neutron scans are similar to X-rays, but use neutrons (subatomic particles in an atom’s nucleus) that, unlike X-rays, can penetrate the clouds of electrons surrounding each atom, enabling deeper scans.

“This is the first study which allowed us to virtually ‘slice’ Viking swords, showing how different materials have been combined together,” said study lead author Anna Fedrigo, a materials scientist at the Technical University of Denmark.

Designing swords

The researchers analyzed three Viking Age swords from the National Museum of Denmark. All three date to the ninth or 10th century A.D. and come from Central Jutland in what is now Denmark.

All three swords were created using through pattern-welding, a technique in which thin strips of different kinds of iron and steel are welded together and then folded, twisted and forged in various ways to produce decorative patterns on the resulting surfaces. “This method is still appreciated — pattern-welded swords are currently produced for sword enthusiasts,” Fedrigo told Live Science.

The scientists found these swords were not well-designed for combat. “Because steel is harder than iron, we would expect to find, in a fighting tool, hard steel edges and an iron core to absorb blows,” Fedrigo said. “The swords analyzed don’t show this preferential distribution.”

In addition, the scans revealed that the different strips of metal in these swords were forge-welded at high temperatures, making it more likely that materials known as oxides formed on the surface of these strips. These oxides weaken the swords and can allow rust to creep in, Fedrigo noted.

The scientists detailed their findings in the April issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Original article on Live Science .



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