Both failed the

Editors note: Les Abend is a Boeing 777 captain for a major airline with 29 years of flying experience. He is a senior contributor to Flying magazine, a worldwide publication in print for more than 75 years. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — If the pings reported by the Chinese and Australians turn out to be from Malaysia Flight 370s data recorders, we may be on the road to finding the plane and solving the mystery of its disappearance.
But even if that is the case, well need to resolve a larger issue: Incomprehensible as it might seem to the flying public, it is almost equally perplexing to airline pilots that a 650,000 pound airplane can disappear with barely a trace.
Considering that the 777 is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded airliners in the world, it doesnt make sense. Nor does it make sense that in this information overload world of cell phones, Twitter, and Facebook, that communication could break down to such a degree. So, how does one explain this anomaly? More importantly, how does one prevent a Malaysia Flight 370 mystery from happening again?

Les Abend

First, a basic understanding of airspace is required from the standpoint of radar and communication. In most parts of the world, radar is available and operating to track both civilian and military airplanes. Primary radar sends a signal from a ground-based station using that big, screen-like rotating antenna that one sees at the local airport.
The signal bounces back from the airplane and back to the antenna, painting a dot on an air traffic controllers screen. With the use of an on-board transponder, the radar signal interrogates the airplane by use of a four-digit discreet code that gives it a specific identity. The code is assigned by air traffic control. In addition to the flight number, or tail number, an airspeed is displayed on the controllers green scope. All airline flights are issued a discreet code.
For the most part, a transponder code remains the same throughout an entire flight. The code sometimes changes from airspace to airspace or country to country, but it has to be re-assigned by air traffic control and not by the discretion of a pilot, unless an emergency is declared.
Communication with the air traffic control facility that is tracking the transponder code is normally required. Typically, communication is in the form of direct radio contact. With some exceptions, radio contact with air traffic control is always available when a flight begins the landing phase of the trip.

More pings, more questions

What you need to know about a black box

But in remote parts of the world, especially over water, no ground-base radar facility exists. Radar has distance limitations. Radio communication also has distance limitations. As an example, portions of South America have no radar coverage. Portions of that continent have gaps and poor quality radio communication facilities, especially between countries or airspace.
This was mostly likely the situation in the corner of the world flown by Malaysia Flight 370.
It would be understood for pilots and controllers experienced with the route to be aware of such gaps in radar coverage and communication. No alarm bells would be immediately sounded. After a period of time when the flight failed to call at the expected point, the controller would attempt contact on the assigned frequency.
If that attempt failed, the controller would attempt contact on the emergency frequency monitored by all aircraft. And if that contact was unsuccessful, the controller would use an airplane near the lost flights route as a relay. This was alleged to have been done through a flight bound for Narita, Japan. The Narita airplane was approximately 30 minutes ahead of Malaysia Flight 370. The pilots indicated that all they received was an unintelligible reply that they couldnt attribute to Malaysia Flight 370. The result would not have been untypical considering the distance between airplanes. So, now what?
Pilot: Why Flight 370 may never be found
Well, those of you who have been following the story have heard about the ACARS, the automatic communication and reporting system, on board. Yes, the ACARS should have functioned by using either a dedicated radio frequency or a satellite signal to automatically send position data, among other parameters.
The amount of parameters is dictated by the program subscribed to by the airline. For whatever reason, the unit failed, only performing a handshake with the satellite. But another system on board could have saved the day, or at least more accurately pinpointed the position for air traffic control. What is the system?
Its called, ADS-B, short for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. In contrast to radar, the airplane sends its own signal to the satellite, which returns the signal to a ground base station, which transforms it to a target display on a controllers screen. This system is already in use, and will be completely mandated for all of the North Atlantic tracks between North America and Europe.
Even over the desolation of the North Atlantic, an airplane can never be lost. ADS-B will be required for all airplanes operating in the continental United States by 2020.
The flaw is that each air traffic control facility has to be equipped with the ADS-B system for it to function. And the flaw in ACARS is that the system will not report if it malfunctions. To the best of my knowledge, the ACARS system is not connected directly to the battery, which would maintain its operation during a major electrical failure.
Whats the difference between ACARS and ADS-B? Simply stated, ADS-B is an air traffic control function. ACARS is an airline company function, offering a variety of optional downloadable data parameters for dispatch and maintenance purposes.
So, do we require these systems to prevent another airplane disappearance? My view is yes.
Although many countries are adapting an ADS-B system, mandating it all over the globe would be a difficult process. Most airlines have an ACARS system but it would require modifications to re-wire into an emergency (electrical) bus. And it would require airlines to subscribe to the higher level of data downloading.
The technology for streaming aircraft data via a satellite has been discussed in the wake of this tragedy, but it appears bandwidth would have to be increased. The issue of data security would also have to be addressed.
Many folks have suggested modifications to the black boxes. But the black boxes are after-the-fact technology. Their use is forensic. Lets fix the problem before it happens. The objective of a new regulation should be to prevent a similar situation from occurring again, not to find easier methods to pick up the pieces.
And in this circumstance, the objective is to never let an airplane disappear again.
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Been what the niger

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Libyan state television has aired a video of Moammar Gadhafis son Saadi in which he apologized to the nation from prison.
I apologize to the people of Libya and the brothers in the Libyan state for the disturbance and destabilization I have caused in Libya, and I admit those were wrong things that I should not have done, he said.
Saadi, one of Gadahfis seven sons, has been in a Tripoli jail since his extradition earlier this month from neighboring Niger. The North African country had been seeking the handover of Saadi, who fled across the border to Niger when rebel forces toppled his father in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
He has not appeared in court yet and no formal charges against him have been announced, but the government has said it has evidence linking Saadi Gadhafi to recent unrest in southern Libya.

Former lawyer for Saadi Gadhafi speaks

I call on all the people carrying weapons to disarm, weapons should only be in the hands of the state, Saadi Gadhafi, dressed in a blue detainee suit, said in the video. They should resort to reconciliation.
In the three-minute video clip, he also asks the Libyan government and general national congress, Libyas legislative body, for forgiveness.
The conditions surrounding the release of the video are unclear.
Reports of abuse
Saadi Gadhafi stated the date of March 27 in the video, and state television said it was approved by Libyas general prosecutor and aimed to discredit reports and rumors Gadhafis son was being mistreated in prison.
The video aired a day after former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had said in an interview in The Times of London newspaper that he had heard Saadi Gadhafi was abused and tortured in prison.
Saadi Gadhafi said he was being treated well. Reports he had broken ribs or bones were not true, he said, moving his arms around and smiling.
No one has independently had access to him to see how he has been treated.
There have been concerns about the legality of the video and what impact it may have on the case.
If I ever had any hope that there might be some form of due process in Libya, it was shattered. … Watching Saadi repent in a videotaped confession without any hint of legal representation made me realize there is no hope for a trial in accordance with international law in Libya, Jacqueline Frazier, an American former aide to Saadi Gadhafi, told CNN.
I, along with his family, would like to emphasize that we believe this confession to be coerced and therefore nonadmissible in a court of law.
But many Libyans have little sympathy for him and other former regime members in custody. They complain the prosecution of former regime members has stalled and they want them to see them sentenced soon. The government has promised fair and transparent trials for all former regime members and other detainees in Libya.
Televised call
Saadi Gadhafi was a professional soccer player and businessman before his fathers downfall. Unlike his brother Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, their fathers heir apparent, he is not wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of war crimes.
In late 2011, rebel forces captured Saif al-Islam, who remains in a militia hands in the small western mountain town of Zintan, Libya.
Niger handed over Saadi Gadhafi after Libyan authorities said they had provided evidence of communications and practices targeting Libyas security and aimed at destabilizing Libya.
In February 2012, he made a televised phone call warning of an imminent uprising in Libya, saying he was in regular contact with people in the country who were unhappy with the new authorities.
Authorities in Niger had warned him after that incident. He had been staying under tight regulation, including house arrest.
He is being held in al-Hadba prison in Tripoli, the same facility where other senior regime members are detained, including former Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi and former spy chief and Gadhafis brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi.
Judicial standards
Libyas new rulers are keen to try Gaddafi loyalists at home to show that those who helped the dictator stay in power for 42 years are being punished.
But in a country where thousands of war prisoners remain in detention without knowing their fate, and where allegations of torture by the militias guarding them have surfaced, Libyan authorities will have to prove their capabilities.
Human rights activists say the worry that a weak Tripoli government and flimsy judicial standards mean that legal proceedings will not meet international standards.
Last month, Human Rights Watch released a report after visiting and speaking with senior regime members, including al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.
According to the rights group, officials said they either do not have lawyers representing them or they do not have enough access to their legal counsel.
The Libyan government should make greater efforts to ensure these detained former officials have adequate legal counsel and the opportunity to defend themselves fairly before a judge, said Nadim Houry, deputy director of Human Right Watchs Middle East and North Africa division. The prosecution of these men will be no more credible than a kangaroo court if the authorities fail to provide these men with basic due process rights.
In a briefing to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month, Tarek Mitri, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general, raised concerns about continued human rights violations in detention.
Some trials of former regime members started more than a year ago, and another case against more than 30 officials, including Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and al-Senussi, is set to start next month.
Moammar Gadhafis son extradited to Libya from Niger

holloways her killed years

(CNN) — Twenty-four years.
Thats how much time must pass before the prime suspect in the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway faces the American justice system.
Peru has agreed to extradite Joran van der Sloot to the United States, but only after he finishes serving a 28-year murder sentence, the Peruvian news agency Andina reported. The Peruvian court system sentenced him in 2012, but he will be eligible for release in 2038 because of the time he already has spent in custody.
In the United States, hes been indicted on federal charges of extortion and wire fraud. American authorities accuse him of extorting money from Holloways mother by offering bogus information about her daughters disappearance.

2013: Joran van der Sloot is engaged

2012: Van der Sloot gets 28 years

2012: Holloway declared legally dead

Holloway, an 18-year-old from Alabama, was last seen in the early hours of May 30, 2005, leaving a nightclub in Aruba with van der Sloot and two other men.
Shed gone to the Caribbean island with 100 classmates to celebrate their graduation from Mountain Brook High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama.
Holloways body has never been found, and she was declared legally dead in 2012. Nobody has been charged in her disappearance.
The courts in Peru convicted van der Sloot in 2012 of murdering Stephany Flores, 21, in his Lima hotel room. The judges gave him a sentence two years short of the 30-year maximum.
Investigators have said they believe van der Sloot, a 26-year-old Dutch national, killed Flores after she found something related to the Holloway case on his computer while visiting his hotel room.
Van der Sloot confessed to robbery in addition to murder, admitting that he stole Flores belongings, including more than $300 in local currency, credit cards and the victims van as a means to leave the country. He fled to Chile and was arrested a few days later.

CNNs Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.

Works each store the solutions

CNN Marketplace Africa is a weekly show offering a unique window into African business on and off the continent. Watch the show Fridays 1845 and Saturdays 0615 GMT.
(CNN) — The aroma of rich coffee wafts through the air as Xolile Malindi leans behind the counter of House of Machines, a hip café in the heart of Cape Town. Opposite him, a young customer approaches the bar, taking his wallet out to pay for his double espresso made of organic Arabica beans.
Have you ever heard of this program called the SnapScan? Malindi, who is the coffee shops day manager, asks quickly. You pay with your phone, he continues. A lot of places are using it in Cape Town — its quite amazing.
House of Machines is just one of dozens of stores here where customers can find SnapScan, an award-winning new digital mobile payment method developed in South Africa. The smartphone app, which is free to download, allows buyers to pay for goods using their phone, without having to worry about carrying cash or credit cards.

Currently, SnapScan is only available at formal merchants in South Africa.Courtesy SnapScan

How it works
Each SnapScan-connected store has a unique code that is linked to their bank account.

Cashless society within reach in Africa?

When customers want to pay, they can scan the code with their SnapScan smartphone app, which then brings up the store where they are making the purchase.
All you do is you type in the amount and punch in the PIN and press send and its gone — its all done, explains Malindi. Youve got your secret code (four-digit PIN), so if your phone goes missing for example, you dont have to worry about people using your phone, he adds.
The transaction is complete with SnapScan charging the customers debit or credit card for the amount they are paying — similar to a normal card payment.

Source: McKinsey Global Institute; Lions go digital: The Internets transformative potential in Africa.Designed by Inez Torre/CNN

Cutting-edge
Using your phone to pay for goods and services is nothing new in Africa, a continent where there are more than 720 million mobile phones. Services such as M-Pesa, the revolutionary Kenyan mobile payment system that allows people to bypass banks and pay bills, withdraw salaries and transfer cash electronically, have transformed the way people and business operate.

If you look at mobile payments specifically, Africa is actually one of the leaders in this space.
Kobus Ehlers, SnapScan, co-founder

Meanwhile, Africas smartphone market is expected to double over the following four years — at the moment, South Africa is reportedly the biggest smartphone market in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 19% penetration.
And as smartphones increase, the paying methods are also becoming smarter.
If you look at mobile payments specifically, Africa is actually one of the leaders in this space, says Kobus Ehlers, co-founder of the SnapScan app. SnapScan was developed in South Africa for the African market, so we try to find really local and relevant solutions and I think its going to get a massive uptake, he adds.
Technology in general is going to get a massive uptake in Africa as we dont have those legacy systems, continues Ehlers. People arent used to using credit cards for example, they can skip right ahead and start using cutting-edge payment technology.

M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer service launched in Kenya in 2007.TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images/file

Cashless society
Right now, SnapScan is only available at formal merchants but the hope is that the e-currency could flow from the phones of customers to the accounts of informal merchants too. It can even be used to send remittances.
Ehlers says that the hope of a cashless society is possible for Africa.

The future of e-commerce in Africa

Quite a large portion of people have access to a smartphone and by leveraging that technology we can provide payments that were previously impossible, he says. That really is an empowering thing for most people in Africa who havent got access to formal infrastructure to provide those services.
John Campbell heads up the Beyond Payments division of Standard Bank, which partners with innovators such as SnapScan to create banking solutions. He says that lack of traditional infrastructure often leads to creative solutions.
In other territories where that infrastructure was not available, that infrastructure has been leapfrogged by the use of mobile, explains Campbell. M-Pesa in Kenya is a good example of that, where money goes straight to your mobile — your mobile number almost becomes your account number, thats effectively what happens.
Back in the House of Machines, Malindi keeps on introducing the new payment method to his customers.
Its way better as opposed to using your credit card or cash, he says, adding that he was surprised to find out that SnapScan was a tech company that started in South Africa.
I thought its one of the things that we get from overseas, says Malindi. When I found out this is African-launched I was wow, here we go Africa, here we come, were rocking the world!
READ THIS: Africas smartphone future
READ THIS: 10 startups you need to know

to at they weeks

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius broke down and vomited in court Monday as he heard a pathologist testify about his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamps injuries after he shot her dead on Valentines Day last year.
The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted by Pistorius sobbing and retching, leading to a pause in the proceedings.
Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Saaymans testimony. Masipa, who has been presiding over the weeklong trial in Pretoria, extended the ban to live reporting on Twitter.
Pistorius admits he shot Steenkamp, 29, but says that it was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was an intruder who had broken into his home.

2nd week of Pistorius murder trial starts

South Africa vs. US legal system

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross-questioning during his trial in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, March 10. Pistorius, the first amputee to compete in the Olympics, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013.

Friends of Steenkamps family watch Pistorius during his trial on March 7.

Pistorius covers his ears on Thursday, March 6, as a witness speaks about the morning Steenkamp was shot and killed.

Pistorius sister, Aimee, right, speaks with members of Steenkamps family in Pretoria on March 6.

Pistorius sits in court on the third day of his trial in Pretoria on Wednesday, March 5.

Pistorius appears on the second day of his trial on Tuesday, March 4.

Members of the media work during a break in proceedings at the court on March 4.

Pistorius talks with his attorney, Barry Roux, inside the court on March 4.

Pistorius speaks with his legal representatives on March 4.

Pistorius is escorted out of the court after the first day of his murder trial in Pretoria on Monday, March 3.

People try to get a glimpse of Pistorius as he leaves the court building on March 3.

Pistorius is seen shortly after arriving for his trial on March 3.

Pistorius walks into the courtroom on March 3.

Pistorius takes a drink of water March 3 during his trial.

The case has captivated South Africa. Here, Lauren Wentzel watches the proceedings from her home outside Cape Town on March 3.

Steenkamps mother, June, arrives at the court building for the start of the trial March 3.

Pistorius relatives wait inside the courtroom on March 3.

People at the court building wait for Pistorius arrival on March 3.

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Photos: Oscar Pistorius murder trial

Stunning testimony in Pistorius trial

Doctor back on stand in Pistorius trial

In court, Saayman confirmed that Steenkamp died from multiple gunshot wounds, consistent with having been hit in the head, arm and hip by three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle.
Pistorius appeared deeply physically distressed throughout the testimony, repeatedly making retching sounds and clutching his head in his hands. The track star, 27, appeared at times to try to cover his ears by clasping his hands behind his neck, or he put his fingers in his ears. His brother and sister came to check on him during the brief break in Saaymans testimony.
Security guard on the stand
Saayman is the first expert to testify at the trial, which has so far heard several witnesses who reported hearing a woman screaming before a volley of shots in the early hours of February 14, 2013, at Pistorius home.
He said any of the three injuries to Steenkamp could have been fatal and all immediately incapacitating. He said it was probably the bullet to the skull that killed her almost immediately. It passed from the top of her head over her right eye to the base of her skull, suggesting that she was not standing when hit, he added.
Saayman said the wounds were consistent with ranger bullets, which open up like the petals of a flower to cause maximum tissue damage.
Earlier on Monday, defense lawyers challenged a security guards statements about what happened on the night. Guard Pieter Baba said he talked by phone to Pistorius the night of the killing and Pistorius said everythings fine or everythings OK.
But defense lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius had said, Im fine.
Baba was adamant, saying, What I just told the court is the truth.
Babas testimony proceeded slowly because all questions and answers had to go through a translator. He gave two statements to police, months apart.
On Friday, Baba said he could hear Pistorius was crying and he knew everything was not fine.
Read more: First week of the trial — three bangs, four shots, nine witnesses
Baba arrived at the house in time to witness Pistorius coming down the stairs carrying Steenkamp.
I was so shocked, I couldnt think for a few moments, he testified.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamps killing as well as two gun indictments unrelated to her death.
Follow the trial live
Gun at his bedside
Another witness who testified Friday, former Pistorius girlfriend Samantha Taylor, said their relationship ended when he cheated on her with Steenkamp.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Taylor if she was ever at Pistorius house when he thought there was an intruder. Taylor said yes.
She said Pistorius once heard something hit a bathroom window and woke her up to ask if shed heard it, too, before taking his gun and going to investigate. Taylor said Pistorius woke her up other times when he thought hed heard a noise.
Taylor also testified that Pistorius slept with a pistol on his bedside table or on the floor beside his prosthetic legs and once became so angry after a traffic stop that he shot a gun through the sunroof of a car.
Taylor said she met Pistorius in 2010, when she was 17, and they started dating the following year. She said they broke up twice, the second time on November 4, 2012, after he took Steenkamp to a sports banquet.
Roux asked if Taylor admitted in two e-mails to cheating on Pistorius. Taylor says shes never admitted to cheating on him but admits she had a relationship with another man after they broke up the first time.
Roux asked Taylor for details about the time he supposedly shot the gun out of the sunroof, but Taylor could not remember the name of the highway or the location in South Africa. She testified that Pistorius was angry and irritated after the traffic stop, even though he was not driving. She said he joked around about firing a shot and then laughed after he fired.
Finding inconsistencies
Nel put four neighbors of Pistorius on the stand in the first week of the trial, all of whom described hearing screaming and loud bangs they thought were gunshots the night of the killing.
Roux then tried to find inconsistencies or uncertainty in their stories. The defense goal is to prove there is a reasonable doubt about the guilt of the accused.
One of the most dramatic witnesses was a neighbor, Johan Stipp, who rushed to the track stars home the night he shot Steenkamp.
Pistorius broke down in court as Stipp said he saw Steenkamp lying on the floor, her brain tissue mixed with blood and Pistorius praying for her to live.
I remember the first thing he said when I got there was, I shot her, I thought she was a burglar and I shot her, Stipp told the court in Pretoria.
Although Stipp is a prosecution witness, his testimony may bolster the defense case, CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps said after Thursdays gripping testimony.
Prosecutors appear to have been trying to demonstrate that Pistorius and Steenkamp had a loud argument before the shooting, suggesting its the reason he killed her.
But the defense is proposing that what neighbors thought was Steenkamp screaming in fear for her life was in fact Pistorius when he realized what he had done.
Pistorius and at least two neighbors made phone calls to security after the shooting, allowing the defense to use phone records to establish a timeline of events.
Stipps version of events appears to coincide with the defense case, said Phelps, who teaches law at the University of Cape Town.
Trial may last three weeks
Judge Masipa will decide whether Pistorius is innocent or guilty. South Africa does not have jury trials.
In South Africa, premeditated murder carries a mandatory life sentence, with a minimum of 25 years. Pistorius also could get five years for each gun indictment and 15 years for the firearms charge.
If he isnt convicted of premeditated murder, the sprinter could face a lesser charge of culpable homicide, a crime based on negligence, and could be looking at up to 15 years on that charge, experts said. The trial is expected to take at least three weeks.
Pistorius and Steenkamp were a young, attractive, high-profile couple popular in South Africas social circles.
Pistorius, whose Blade Runner nickname reflects the special prostheses he uses while running, won six Paralympic gold medals and became the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics, in London in 2012.
Steenkamp, a model who was soon to star in a TV reality show, was on the cusp of becoming a celebrity in her own right at the time of her death.

CNNs Richard Allen Greene reported from Pretoria and Ralph Ellis wrote from Atlanta. CNNs Emily Smith also contributed to this report.

Very million on crust

(CNN) — From a sheep ranch in Western Australia comes the oldest slice of Earth we know.
Scientists say they have dated an ancient crystal called a zircon to about 4.4 billion years, making it the earliest confirmed piece of the planets crust. The findings — the first to describe the zircon — were published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday.
This is the oldest and the best dated of all the crystals that have been reported, said John Valley, lead study author and professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This crystal is a translucent red, Valley said, but glows blue when bombarded with electrons. At 400 micrometers long, its biggest dimension is just a tad larger than a house dust mite, or about four human hairs.
The crystal was found in an arid region north of Perth, Australia, in a low range of hills called the Jack Hills, in 2001.
Scientists say the crystals chemistry — specifically, the ratio of oxygen isotopes within it — suggests that the temperatures on Earth 4.4 billion years ago would have supported liquid water, and therefore perhaps life. Two isotopes of an element are considered different if they contain different numbers of neutrons.
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Twitter: @CNNLightYears
What weve learned is that the Earth cooled much more quickly that people had thought, Valley said. The surface formed a crust much more quickly than people thought.
A brief history of Earth
Our planet is thought to be about 4.5 billion years old, but the oldest fossils are about 3.5 billion years old. That doesnt necessarily mean that no life existed before that time, but no direct evidence has been found yet.
The first rocks that have been found deposited by water are about 3.8 billion years old, Valley said.
But very little is known about the first 600 million years or so of the planets history, known as the Hadean Eon because it was thought to be hell-like, Valley said.
The leading theory is that Earth was bombarded by meteors in its early history. It took a big hit from an object the size of Mars about 4.5 billion years ago, leading to the formation of the moon. These impacts vaporized the Earths crust and formed a super-hot magma ocean.
Evidence including this zircon suggests that within the first 100 million to 200 million years of its existence, our planet cooled enough to make crust. Steam from the atmosphere condensed to make oceans.
Once you know that there were oceans, its very reasonable that there would have been life that early — even when it was only 200 million years old, Valley said.
How they did the study
Valley and colleagues reported on a different crystal from early Earth in 2001 from the same Jack Hills area. But there had been an open question regarding that crystal and others about how to determine the age.
The standard method of dating such rocks involves looking at the radioactive decay of uranium atoms to lead. But if the lead has moved within the crystal over time, this could lead to a faulty estimate of age. If lead has migrated away from the area of the rock being tested, that could make the rock appear younger than it is, or older if lead has concentrated itself.
In this new study, researchers used a technique called atom-probe tomography, which allows scientists to image single atoms of lead and determine the isotope ratio.
Scientists found that clumps of lead atoms had formed 1 billion years after the zircon crystallized. These clusters are tiny, about 5 to 10 nanometers in diameter.
All that means that the lead atoms hadnt moved enough to thwart scientists existing methods of determining the crystals age, Valley said. They determined that age to be 4.4 billion years old.
Although incredibly laborious, their analytical technique can be applied to not only additional terrestrial zircons but also to zircons from meteorites and lunar samples, to perhaps tease out a detailed thermal history of magmatism and impacts, Samuel Bowring, professor of geology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in an accompanying article in Nature Geoscience.
Meanwhile, on Mars
Earth and Mars formed around the same time in the solar system. Just as scientists are analyzing the chemical composition of rocks on Earth to learn about our planets history, NASAs Curiosity rover is doing the same on Mars.
But one can only do so much via robot. NASA is planning a 2020 rover mission that may be able to collect samples for later delivery to Earth.
There, we may find even more extraordinary gems — red or otherwise.

Doors mountain wasnt scene

Read about the hunt for El Chapo Guzman in Spanish at CNNMexico.com
(CNN) — Joaquin El Chapo Guzman had an assault rifle handy when authorities raided his beachside hideaway over the weekend, but the worlds most wanted drug lord never opened fire.
Thats because marines used infrared and body-heat scanners to pinpoint the locations of everyone inside the condo and make sure they were asleep, a Mexican official told CNN.
Saturdays pre-dawn operation that captured Guzman in the Mexican Pacific resort town of Mazatlan marked a dramatic twist in a case that has long captivated the country and frustrated investigators on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The notorious Sinaloa cartel leaders nickname, which means Shorty, belies the tall and near-mythic status Guzman achieved in recent years for his ability to elude capture by using bribes, safe houses and an army of cartel helpers.

Life on the run for notorious El Chapo

Drug lord El Chapo no longer on the run

US seeks to extradite Mexican drug lord

His 13 years on the lam ended Saturday inside a no-frills condo tower, where investigators found Guzman lying shirtless next to his beauty-queen wife.
The Mexican official, who asked not to be identified because hes not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said that Guzmans body guard and the drug lords 2-year-old twin daughters were also sleeping in the condo.
He had an AK-47 next to the bed. When the Mexican marines entered the condominium, he was still asleep, said Michael Vigil, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official who says he was briefed on the raid. They used the element of surprise, and he did not have a chance to react and seize his weapon.
Escape through sewer tunnels
Guzman had an assault rifle and ammunition close by when Mexican marines broke into the apartment in a surgical operation, the Mexican official said.
Authorities had been closing in on Guzman for months before Mexican marines swooped in, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told reporters.
Earlier police operations yielded a trove of intelligence, including cell phone and other data, a U.S. law enforcement official said. That helped Mexican authorities and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents hunting Guzman gain confidence in recent weeks that they could arrest him.
Before Guzmans capture, Mexican federal forces made several significant arrests of Sinaloa cartel associates, including two people authorities said were suspected of providing security for top leaders of the cartel.
A key discovery earlier this month marked a turning point in the investigation: seven houses in the Mexican city of Culiacan, connected by secret tunnels that also tied in with the citys sewage system.
Mario Hidalgo Arguello, a courier who flipped during questioning by Mexican authorities, told interrogators about the series of safe houses, according to U.S. officials familiar with the hunt for Guzman.
When authorities raided one of them last week, it turned out to be Guzmans main residence in the town of Culiacan. The time it took Mexican marines to get past the houses reinforced steel doors was enough to allow Guzman to escape via a hidden hatch under a bathtub, the officials said.
But the investigation was so thorough that we continued, Murillo said.
With authorities temporarily off his trail, Guzman slipped out of Culiacan through the sewer tunnels, the Mexican official told CNN. Eventually he made his way to Mazatlan, a beach resort city about 125 miles (200 km) away.
Informants and wiretaps
Months before authorities nabbed him there, U.S. authorities made a major break in the case.
In November, they arrested Serafin Zambada-Ortiz at the Nogales, Arizona, border crossing. He is the son of Guzmans closest lieutenant, Ismael El Mayo Zambada, likely the Sinaloa chiefs heir apparent.
The arrests intensified in recent months, with each providing phones that led to a trove of new data that helped map associates in ever-closer touch with Guzman, U.S. officials familiar with the hunt said.
Agents from the DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Marshals Service have fed intelligence gleaned from wiretaps and informants to Mexican authorities for years.
Each cell phone led to dozens of others over time. It went from phone to phone, just basic law enforcement, one of the U.S. officials said.
In recent months, investigators focused on five wiretaps — four operated by the DEA and one by ICE, which yielded valuable intelligence, the officials said. As the hunt intensified, Guzman and his lieutenants stopped using certain phones, apparently aware of the surveillance. In the final days, the ICE wiretap was the only one still producing activity, the officials said.
Captured alongside Guzman was Carlos Manuel Hoo-Ramirez, who U.S. authorities say appeared to serve as El Chapos communications conduit. He carried multiple phones that proved crucial to finding the drug boss, the officials said.
Hunt marked by rumors, close calls
Ever since his escape in a laundry cart from Mexicos Puente Grande prison in 2001, the hunt for Guzman has grabbed headlines.
During the drug lords nearly 13 years on the lam, rumors swirled about his whereabouts.

Notorious Mexican drug lord arrested

Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is escorted by Mexican marines as he is presented to the press on February 22, in Mexico City.

Marines stand guard as Guzman is presented to the press.

Guzman was arrested early this morning by Mexican marines at a resort in Mazatlan, northern Mexico.

The operation was heavily guarded.

Guzman was marched toward a waiting helicopter for transport to jail.

Mexican drug lord El Chapo arrested
Mexican drug lord El Chapo arrested
Mexican drug lord El Chapo arrested
Mexican drug lord El Chapo arrested
Mexican drug lord El Chapo arrested
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From time to time, investigators suggested they were hot on his trail. But even as Mexico stepped up its pressure on cartels, he remained an elusive target. Many in the country suggested that his whereabouts were an open secret — and that the government must have been deliberately steering clear of capturing him.
In 2009, the archbishop of Mexicos Durango state told reporters that Guzman lived near the mountain town of Guanacevi.
Everyone knows it, except the authorities, he said.
Days later, investigators found the bodies of two slain army lieutenants in Durangos mountains, accompanied by a note: Neither the government nor priests can handle El Chapo.
A year later, when asked by reporters again about Guzmans whereabouts, the archbishop said, He is omnipresent. … He is everywhere.
In 2012, a Mexican official told the Associated Press that authorities nearly caught Guzman in a raid on a beach mansion in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, barely a day after Hillary Clinton had met with other foreign ministers from across the hemisphere in the same resort town.
Last year, Guatemalan authorities said a man who resembled Guzman died in Peten, Guatemala, during a shootout. Later, they changed their story and said Guzman wasnt killed and the shootout may never even have happened.
Family still in spotlight
While Guzman managed to avoid authorities attention, the wrath of his rivals and the medias glare, other members of his family werent so lucky.
Authorities arrested Guzmans brother, known as El Pollo (The Chicken), in Mexico City in September 2001. Three years later, he was shot to death by a fellow inmate in a maximum-security prison.
Legend has it that El Chapo Guzman was also once arrested in Mexicos capital, according to an account in Malcolm Beiths book The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo, the Worlds Most Wanted Drug Lord.
At the police station, he lifted up a suitcase and put it on the desk of the capitals chief of police, Beith writes. Inside was $50,000 in cash; within minutes, Chapo was out the door.
Members of a rival cartel gunned down Edgar Beltran Guzman, one of El Chapos sons, in a Mexican shopping mall parking lot in 2008. Police found more than 500 bullet casings at the scene.
Last year, authorities arrested Guzmans father-in-law in Sonora, Mexico, charging him with drug-related crimes.
But not all of the focus on Guzmans family has been tied to organized crime.
In September 2011, word eked out that Guzmans beauty-queen wife, Emma Coronel — a citizen of both the United States and Mexico — had given birth to twin girls at a hospital in Lancaster, California.
About a year later, authorities arrested Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, one of El Chapos daughters, at a border crossing in San Ysidro, California. She was deported back to Mexico several months later.
Her attorneys said she was pregnant and had been coming to the United States to have a baby.

CNNs Nick Parker, Ray Sanchez, Mike Martinez and CNNMexico.com contributed to this report.

Female my for forum

Editors note: Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. Each month, we meet two women at the top of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.
(CNN) — What kind of politician is slashed in the face with a knife, and upon waking up in hospital the first thing they ask about is the election campaign?
Answer: Park Geun-hye, South Koreas first female president, and a woman who has experienced her fair share of violence while working — and growing up — in government.
Park was left with an 11 centimeter wound across her cheek after she was attacked by a man at a political rally in 2006. Her apparently businesslike response after waking from surgery — How is Daejeon? — referring to the partys campaign in that city, earned her the nickname Queen of Elections.
The moniker finally held true in December 2012, when Park was elected president of a country which hasnt had a female ruler in over 1000 years — not since Queen Jinseong in the 9th century.

South Koreas first female president has had her fair share of heartache.Getty Images

This is a place with one of the highest levels of gender inequality in the world — rated 111 worst out of 135 nations, by the World Economic Forum.
Indeed, if youre a working woman, South Korea is the worst developed country on the planet to live in, according to the Economists Glass-ceiling Index.

I can say my greatest mentor is the citizens of this country
Park Geun-hye

All of which makes Parks position particularly remarkable. But then, perhaps its no surprise the 62-year-old should pursue the countrys top job, given her upbringing.
Her father was military hardman Park Chung-hee, president of South Korea from 1961 to his death in 1979 — when his own intelligence chief shot him over dinner.
The murder came five years after his wife, and Park Geun-hyes mother, was also killed by an assassin who had been targeting her husband.
And so at the age of 22, Park Geun-hye was forced to take on the role of first lady, accompanying her father to official events and even welcoming U.S. President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn to the country in 1979.

A toast to leading ladies: Park Geun-Hye and Britains Queen Elizabeth.Getty Images

Almost two decades later, Park, who holds a degree electronic engineering, entered politics of her own accord, and is known for her straight-talking style.
She is said to be an intensely private woman who has never married and mostly dines alone. The nation is her family, she likes to say.

With the sudden passing of my mother, heavy responsibilities and duties of the first lady were suddenly forced upon me
Park Geun-hye

With North Korea on her doorstep — a country which the U.N. recently denounced for human rights abuses comparable to Nazi-era atrocities — there is now even greater international focus on Parks leadership.
She spoke to CNNs Leading Women about her vision for the fourth-largest economy in Asia, and the personal tragedies which forced her into the public spotlight from an early age.
I believe the very fact that I was elected as the first female president of the Republic of Korea is testament to the dynamism of Korean society. I feel an even greater sense of responsibility as president. I also feel that we can look forward to greater opportunities that enable women to fully tap into their potential and live out their dreams, given the dynamism of our society and the way the entire world is headed.
This is a time when we see fathers, especially young fathers, who would be more than willing to play their part in raising children and who are so willing to help their wives. We see many young fathers who would find great reward, pleasure, and joy in raising their children.

A few months after being elected, Park visited the U.S. to mark 60 years of bilateral partnership.Getty Images

I can say my greatest mentor is the citizens of this country.
When I was a child I longed to become a teacher and after I got into college I had hoped to be able to contribute to the industrialization of my country by being involved in for instance in research in science and technology. And that is why I subsequently chose my major in electronic engineering in college.
With the sudden passing of my mother, heavy responsibilities and duties of the first lady were suddenly forced upon me. It was indeed an arduous task for me but I would say that my experience during those years continue to be very helpful to me even to this date.
After both of my parents passed away I lived a very normal life but then came the Asian economic crisis that buffeted South Korea in the late 1990s. I was shocked to see what was transpiring in the country and I couldnt just sit idly back knowing how much it took to build up this country and to see this country being engulfed in crisis and to see our people suffer so much. Thats why I decided to take up politics.
Watch: South Koreas president talks economy
See: Park Geun-Hye on North Korea
Learn: South Koreas hopes for new president

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