Tag Archives: elusive

Diver Has Epic Nose-to-Nose Encounter with One of the Most Elusive Sharks Lurking in the Deep Sea

Diver Has Epic Nose-to-Nose Encounter with One of the Most Elusive Sharks Lurking in the Deep SeaYou may have heard of megalodon, the massive prehistoric shark, but what about the bluntnose sixgill? This enormous, ancient shark was lurking in the deep long before its extinct cousin — and still exists today at the bottom of the ocean. It's rarely seen even by scientists. But on a recent submarine dive shark expert Gavin Naylor caught amazing footage of one on camera cozying up to his research vessel, seeming to almost flirt and play with the vessel."I'm literally nose to nose with this animal," Naylor, who does research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Live Science, referring to his trip in a submersible.Bluntnose sixgills are the oldest living shark lineage, said Dean Grubbs, a deep-sea ecologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Although Grubbs wasn't on board the submarine that night, the dive was part of his ongoing research on the behavior and biology of these sharks. [Photos: Orcas Are Chowing Down on Great-White-Shark Organs]"This is like studying dinosaurs," Grubbs told Live Science.In fact, the sixgill predates most dinosaurs — the species has been around for roughly 200 million years. Some scientists even believe they may have survived the largest mass extinction event, the Permian-Triassic, which killed 96% of sea life.Diver comes nose-to-nose with a huge six gill shark. OceanXThe 16-foot-long (4.9 meters) female sixgill was spotted about 3,250 feet (1,000 m) beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, just off the Cape of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. She appeared to show off for Naylor, opening her massive mouth ("big enough to swim into," Grubbs said) and blinking huge blue eyes. She seemed curious about the submarine, Naylor said, nudging it with her nose."She was quite gentle," Naylor added.That is, until she started tearing into the bait that was attached to the sub, shaking the entire vessel."They seem really slow and really graceful," Lee Frey, a deep-sea engineer who was piloting the submarine at the time, told Live Science, "but then, boy, when they go after a meal, they are just really powerful."Naylor's dive was the fourth attempt during a mission to track down and tag a sixgill shark in its deep-sea environment — a tricky feat from the submarine.Tagging a sixgill shark in its natural environment poses an unusual challenge because they live so deep in the ocean — between 2,500 and 3,500 feet (800-1,100 m) below the surface. In the past, researchers had pulled sharks to the surface to tag them. But that method didn't always paint a clear picture of shark behavior — after surfacing, the tagged sharks would act erratically. So the researchers equipped a vessel with a dart gun that could shoot tags at the sharks. If they succeeded, they would be the first team of scientists to successfully tag an animal from a submarine.When Naylor saw this particular sixgill, it became clear that she was far too close to the research vessel to tag with a dart gun. But he wasn't about to miss a great camera shot. Luckily, a better opportunity to tag a shark arose later that night, when he spotted a male sixgill at perfect range; he pointed and shot.The tag, which will track the shark's movement, will help Grubbs' team better understand the behavior of these seldom-studied prehistoric creatures.The dive was part of an OceanX mission, an organization that conducts ocean research, sometimes alongside institutions. * 7 Unanswered Questions About Sharks * In Photos: Baby Sharks Show Off Amazing Ability * Photos: Great White Shark Mysteriously Washes Up on a California BeachOriginally published on Live Science.



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Putin-Kim summit sends message to U.S. but sanctions relief elusive for North Korea

Putin-Kim summit sends message to U.S. but sanctions relief elusive for North Korea“When Kim meets Putin, he is going to ask for economic assistance and unilateral sanctions relaxation. Moscow is unlikely to grant his wishes,” said Artyom Lukin, a professor at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. “Being a veto-holding U.N. Security Council member, Moscow can hardly afford to undermine its authority even for the sake of friendship with Kim,” Lukin said.



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Mueller’s report found no Russia collusion, but vindication remains elusive for Trump

Mueller’s report found no Russia collusion, but vindication remains elusive for TrumpA summary of Robert Mueller's report offers Trump a measure of vindication, but also comes with a hefty dose of collateral legal and political damage.



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The elusive Russian operative who could be crucial to Mueller's investigation into Trump

The elusive Russian operative who could be crucial to Mueller's investigation into TrumpIn the nearly two years that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has been investigating whether there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, few figures seem to have offered more promising leads than Konstantin V Kilimnik. A diminutive, multilingual political operative who was born in Ukraine while it was still part of the Soviet Union, Kilimnik has continued to attract intense interest from prosecutors for his interactions with his long-time boss and mentor, Paul Manafort, and his suspected ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik pops up repeatedly as a possible connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, with ties to both sides that are as enigmatic as they are deep.



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In Florida, determining hurricane death toll proves elusive

In Florida, determining hurricane death toll proves elusiveIn Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: Finding out many people were killed in Hurricane Michael.



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In Florida, determining hurricane death toll proves elusive

In Florida, determining hurricane death toll proves elusiveIn Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: Finding out many people were killed in Hurricane Michael.



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Away from the adoring crowds, an elusive George Weah is leading Liberia into the unknown

Away from the adoring crowds, an elusive George Weah is leading Liberia into the unknownAs the morning sun beat down on a small training stadium in Monrovia,the capital of Liberia, a steady trickle of black SUVs with tinted windows appeared in the heavy humid heat, meandering between the stands and the pitch before coming to a halt in precision formation. George Weah, the former World Footballer of the Year and president-elect, had already alighted in his bright red football kit. Then out stepped his team, the Weah All Stars, streaming onto the pitch to play their final game before the former AC Milan star's long-awaited inauguration. The invite-only match against the Armed Forces of Liberia, packed with diplomatic corp and press, was a relatively muted affair in comparison to the campaign trail, which attract the kinds of die-hard supporters who propelled the country's biggest star to power. Standing outside the gates of the ground, clinging to a Liberian flag, a ticketless Benjamin Karr, in his 20s, gave a taste of the kind of adoration and hope that has propped up the former footballer so far. “He’s going to bring healthcare, good education and infrastructure and development and we need it to come for our youth to work. He will do that because he loves the country and he loves the people,” he told The Telegraph. On the streets of the capital, Liberia is still in thrall of its superstar president-elect, voted in three weeks ago and due to finally be inaugurated on Monday in the first democratic transfer of power in the country since 1944. The party has continued since George Weah was elected president at the end of December Credit:  THIERRY GOUEGNON/ REUTERS Flag-sellers still line the streets as optimism runs high and Weah’s party’s headquarters have been a riot of colour and noise, more akin to a festival than a political base, for months. But behind the jubilation that a national icon is taking over, there are reasons to be cautious: Weah, 51, faces a tanking economy, a fraught coalition tarnished by the country’s dark history, and an increasingly sceptical press to whom he has given almost nothing away. For a man who has given his fair share of interviews since becoming the only African ever to have won the coveted Ballon d’Or football award and FIFA World Player of the Year, he has become surprisingly elusive. Journalists from around the world have arrived for the inauguration party and left with nothing – with the BBC, no less, among those to suffer abrupt cancellations from Weah's office. In rare but short comments to the gathering press pack before the game on Saturday, Weah remained tight-lipped: “I believe that with the help of the Liberian people I will be successful,” he declared, before taking his place up front. Some believe his phobia of the media could well be a fear of making statements that he finds himself unable to deliver on, leading to unwanted repercussions at home. George Weah faces trouble with his coalition, the economy and his political inexperince Credit:  THIERRY GOUEGNON/ REUTERS He is inheriting an economy that has suffered from shocks caused by a slump in global iron ore and rubber prices as well as the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15 which saw the death of over 4,000 Liberians. The Liberian dollar is depreciating rapidly in value against its US counterpart, which the country also uses, meaning life is getting increasingly expensive and the poorest are hardest hit.  And this is where Weah’s popularity is most concentrated. Supporters are convinced that he will bring jobs and reduce the cost of rice, the staple food, by half. Quite how he will bring about the desired changes is unclear. In The Telegraph’s many failed attempts to pin down Weah for an interview, one source within his camp said: “We have a strategy and we have tactics, and one of our tactics is to tell no one our strategy.” Another reason for Weah’s elusiveness could be a lack of confidence in his own leadership abilities. Unlike Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former World Bank economist and the first elected female head of state in Africa, who defeated Weah on two previous occasions before stepping down, he is not considered an intellectual. Nor is he a gifted orator, by his own admission, and close friends were surprised when he stated his intention to run for the presidency in 2005 – feeding the theory that he has been propelled to the top by others keen to profit from his poster-boy popularity is strong in certain camps. But perhaps the most immediate issue as Weah looks to name his cabinet on Monday, is the fragile coalition agreement that is unlikely to be a happy marriage. Weah’s own Congress for Democratic Change is joined by vice president Jewel Howard-Taylor’s National Patriotic Party, founded by her ex-husband Charles Taylor, who served as president from 1997 to 2003 after leading a rebellion against the government of Samuel Doe. Taylor is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence in HMP Frankland in County Durham for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone. No one has ever faced trial for the atrocities committed during Liberia’s own civil war which ended in 2003, and reconciliation is a word on the lips of many.  The Liberia People Democratic Party is the third partner in the coalition and headed by the former House of Representatives speaker, Alex Tyler, who is implicated in an ongoing bribery case involving British company Sable Mining. 15 curious things you didn't know about Liberia Whatever the outcome, Weah’s presidency is an anomaly in Liberia’s chequered history, not just because of his celebrity status. Politics in the country has traditionally been dominated by the minority Americo-Liberian elite who are descended from freed American slaves. Weah’s humble beginnings combined with his native ancestry could not be further from the norm. “He represents those who are down the drain. He’s their role model, and we have to let the people’s voice be heard,” one Monrovia resident Renee Murray told The Telegraph. Christian Grant, another one of the thousands of fanatical young Weah supporters, is also optimistic. “I think there will be a brand new Liberia and that’s our dream,” he said. “Things will improve and children will go to school. Job facility will flow. That’s what we expect our president to do and we know that he will do more than that for us.”



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Russia saved Assad but Syria peace settlement elusive

Russia saved Assad but Syria peace settlement elusiveRussia’s decision two years ago to intervene militarily in Syria appears to have saved Bashar al-Assad’s regime but a peace settlement seems ever more elusive, analysts say. On Friday, Syrian government troops retook Deir Ezzor, the last major city where the Islamic State group had a presence. Assad’s forces did so with Russian air support.



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G7 leaders turn gaze to Africa, climate harmony elusive

G7 leaders turn gaze to Africa, climate harmony elusiveBy Crispian Balmer and Noah Barkin TAORMINA, Italy (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations meet African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. U.S. President Donald Trump told his G7 counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Friday that he had not yet decided whether to honor a landmark 2015 Paris accord on curbing carbon emissions. There was also continued friction over global trade, with Trump, who got elected promising to put America first, blaming multilateral commerce deals for U.S. trade deficits and demanding what he terms a “level playing field”.



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Elusive whale caught on video for the first time

Elusive whale caught on video for the first timeA rare whale species has finally made its cinematic debut. Science students captured two True's beaked whales on camera during an expedition in Portugal's Azores Islands. Their video is the first-ever recording of these elusive whales in the wild.  SEE ALSO: Scientists are now spotting whales from outer space using satellites Such live sightings are extremely rare events. Marine experts know so little about these elephant-sized whales that the species is among the least-understood large mammals on the planet. For example, scientists don't know enough about these whales to estimate the population size. That's why researchers in Scotland decided to publish one of the most comprehensive surveys yet on True's beaked whales.  Their study, published Tuesday in the journal
PeerJ, pulls together much of what we know so far about the torpedo-shaped whales. Their report includes the first-ever video, rare photos of a whale calf (!), as well as data collected from strandings and sightings and genetic analyses of individual whales. True's beaked whales are one of 22 species of beaked whales within the
Ziphiidae family.  BABY WHALE! Image: Ida Eriksson (Futurismo) (A) Worldwide known distribution of True’s beaked whales, and (B,C)  locations of the reports included in the paper. Image: peerj The researchers also documented a new color pattern for these whales and defined the species' geographical boundaries in Atlantic Ocean. Once thought to be restricted to more temperate waters of the North Atlantic, the beaked whales' range also includes waters in the southern Indian and South Atlantic Oceans as well as the Tasman Sea. True's beaked whales dive to depth for long periods of time, and they only pop up to the surface once in a while for short breathing intervals. They've been observed to dive all the way to 8,200 feet under the surface. Marine biologists could use these insights to improve their long-term monitoring and conservation work for deepwater whales, according to the team at the Center for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modeling at the University of St. Andrew's in Scotland. WATCH: Take a dive with a marine biologist working to restore our ecosystem



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