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August 7, 2014
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Infamous whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was granted three more years of temporary residency by Russia, his lawyer announced Thursday. Russia had granted Snowden one year of temporary asylum last year, but that expired on Aug. 1.

Snowden is wanted by the United States on espionage charges, but because Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, it has refused to hand Snowden back to American authorities. Russia's acceptance of Snowden last year sparked increasing tensions between Russia and the U.S. — even before this year's conflicts over the annexation of Crimea and separatists in eastern Ukraine. Add this to the latest round of sanction-swapping and it doesn't seem this modern Cold War is warming up any time soon. Kimberly Alters

1:57 p.m. ET

Have you ever wondered what it would look like to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds? Probably not, because before yesterday, it was almost impossible. All that changed when on Thursday, Tesla's Elon Musk unveiled the second-generation Roadster, the Roadster 2, which is the fastest production car ever made, The Verge reports.

Can't quite wrap your head around that? Here's what it looks like, if you're the unlucky bystander watching the Roadster 2 peel off into the California night:

You can take a test drive below, or wait for the real thing to drop in 2020 for $200,000. Jeva Lange

1:51 p.m. ET

Democrats and Republicans alike are horrified after Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate and sitting state Supreme Court justice Bill O'Neill decided to "speak up on the behalf of all heterosexual males" on Friday following calls for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign, Cleveland.com reports. "In the last 50 years, I was sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females," began O'Neill's extremely ill-advised Facebook post. "It ranged from a gorgeous personal secretary to Sen. Bob Taft (Senior) who was my first true love and we made love in the hayloft of her parent's barn in Gallipolis and ended with a drop-dead gorgeous red head who was a senior adviser to Peter Lewis at Progressive Insurance in Cleveland."

O'Neill claimed he was oversharing to "save my opponents some research time" and then asked: "Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis? I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago."

O'Neill also defended Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is accused of pursuing, assaulting, and molesting teenage girls as young as 14. "He's been convicted of nothing and he's never had the opportunity to defend himself and that violates due process in America," argued O'Neill.

Members of both parties immediately reacted to O'Neill's post: "Not only have you lost any glimpse of support from me, [you've] also lost my respect," said Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach (D). Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor tweeted: "We have to be better than this." Read more at Cleveland.com, and read O'Neill's full original post (which has since been edited) below. Jeva Lange

1:01 p.m. ET

Elon Musk announced the fully electric Tesla Semi on Thursday night. The truck can haul 80,000 pounds and travel 500 miles on a single charge, as well as accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds with an empty trailer, Wired reports. It also boasts "nuclear explosion-proof glass" because you never know.

Tesla has thought of just about everything for the cab, too. "[T]he driver's seat is now in the middle of the cab," writes Wired. "Because it didn't need to build around a bulky diesel engine, Tesla made the nose of the cab a vertical slab, and the main seat is so far forward, you can see the ground just in front of the vehicle. In a design touch that recognizes that truckers are human beings, there are overhead bins for storing stuff, and at least four cup holders." Two touchscreens allow the driver to navigate and monitor blind spots, and the vehicle is covered in cameras that assist with self-driving on freeways.

Musk said that on 100-mile routes, the Semi will cost truckers $1.26 a mile, compared to $1.51 for today's diesel trucks. Still, "500 miles is still far less than diesel trucks can travel," CNN writes. "And diesel fuel tanks can be refilled much more quickly than batteries can be recharged." Walmart, for one, is excited about the promise of electric trucks and preordered 15, which are expected to go into production in 2019, CNBC reports.

Learn more about the Armageddon-proof truck — adorably referred to as a "lorry" by Britain's ITV News — below. Jeva Lange

12:06 p.m. ET
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President Trump may want to be friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but it seems Pyongyang may not feel the same. A North Korean official told Reuters on Friday that negotiations over its nuclear weapons program were out of the question unless the U.S. and South Korea stopped conducting joint military exercises. The exercises on the Korean peninsula are an annual occurrence, but they have long been a point of contention for North Korea.

Trump has previously threatened to "totally destroy North Korea." During his trip to Asia last week, however, he implored the Hermit Kingdom to "make a deal," expressing a desire to open discussions with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program. While Trump may hope that muscular shows of military force and his "madman" theory of diplomacy will bring Kim to the negotiating table, Han Tae Song, North Korea's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, was clear that his country sees the U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula as a threat to its existence: "As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the U.S. and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations," he told Reuters.

Although it has been two months since Pyongyang's last nuclear test, North Korea recently called Trump "a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people" — after the president kinda-not-really-but-sorta-definitely called Kim "short and fat." Kelly O'Meara Morales

11:59 a.m. ET
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Each fall, the small Alaskan village of Kaktovik experiences a tourism boom — and lately, it's coming due to climate change. Polar bears trek to the tiny town as rising temperatures melt the sea ice on which they live, and tourists with cameras follow, ABC News reports.

Scientists estimate that the presence of sea ice declines at a rate of 9 percent every decade. As the ice melts, it takes polar bear territory and hunting grounds with it. Alaskan locals told ABC News that hungry polar bears descend on the town to feed on the leftover carcasses from annual whale hunts.

Polar bears used to arrive in the town around late September, ABC News reports, but now they arrive as early as July. "We've been hunting whales for about 10,000 years. So they're not coming here because of the bones, the remains of the whales that we catch. They are coming because their habitat has gone away," said Robert Thompson, a local tour guide.

The animals can be vicious if provoked, so Kaktovik locals have set up bear patrols for safety. Still, that doesn't deter tourists, who take boats to get as close as possible to capture photos of the rare species.

Polar bears are at high risk of endangerment, and only 20,000 to 25,000 bears remain out of captivity. Elianna Spitzer

11:06 a.m. ET
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Scientists are designing the largest digital camera in the world in order to capture panorama shots of the sky, NPR reports. The camera will be mounted on a massive telescope, called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, so that it can continually and repeatedly capture photos.

Previous cameras could only capture one part of the sky at a time, NPR explains, but LSST's panorama images will allow scientists to record objects moving across the sky over time. "That could be everything from asteroids, to variable stars, to supernova, to maybe new phenomenon that we don't know about yet," Aaron Roodman, a physicist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, told NPR.

Pieces of the camera are in the works at labs all over the world: The Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York's Long Island is constructing sensors; The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is working on optical lenses near the San Francisco Bay in California; a device for switching out color filters is coming all the way from France.

The massive camera will carry the equivalent of 21 144-megapixel cameras. A single 144-megapixel camera has six times the amount of megapixels on a high-end camera.

Once it's built, the camera will be attached to the LSST in Chile. Scientists aim to start taking photos in 2020. Elianna Spitzer

10:40 a.m. ET
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Comcast Corp. is looking to buy 21st Century Fox's assets, The Wall Street Journal reports. Coverage of the potential deal gave 21st Century Fox shares a 7 percent boost in after-hours trading and gave Comcast a smaller 1 percent bump.

Comcast apparently wants to purchase some of Fox's American networks as well as international assets, including Star India and a minority stake in the European broadcaster Sky. International assets account for about 70 percent of the financial stakes in the deal. The telecommunications conglomerate may also be looking to buy Fox's movie studio, cable network, and regional sports network, CNBC reports.

Leaked deal talks come as a surprise to many analysts. Until November, Fox, owned by the Murdoch family, seemed eager to grow, angling to acquire control of Sky itself. But on Nov. 6, CNBC broke the news that Disney and Fox had held preliminary talks about Disney buying Fox's movie studio and Hulu, though those discussions have apparently simmered down. Verizon and Sony might also be throwing their hats into the ring alongside Comcast. Elianna Spitzer

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