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The Spill: Living Robots

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Iran De-Escalation

Relations between Iran and the U.S. calmed this week. Iran is a country in the Middle East that doesn’t get along with the United States. Tensions had risen over the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, ordered by President Trump. Iran attacked in revenge, firing rockets at army bases in Iraq, a neighboring country. U.S. soldiers were stationed at the bases.

Iran told the Iraqi authorities about the attack in advance, so it didn’t cause any direct deaths or injuries. Since no one was hurt, many people suggest the move was made to “de-escalate” the situation (stop it from getting worse).

Donald Trump

President Trump gave a public response to the attack. He said the U.S. wouldn’t take any military action against Iran, but he announced that the U.S. would place “punishing economic sanctions,” on Iran until the country “changes its behavior.” Sanctions are punishments forced on a country and can make it hard for a nation to trade with others. Despite these limits, the president suggested the two countries could make an agreement in the future. “We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper,” he said, “Iran can be a great country.”

World’s First Living Robots?

Scientists claim they have created the world’s first “living robots,” using cells from frogs. Researchers from the University of Vermont and Tufts University used a supercomputer to design the life-forms, which were then made using living cells. The creatures are called “xenobots” after the African frog species from which the tissue was taken, Xenopus laevis.

“These are novel living machines,” says Joshua Bongard, who co-led the research. “They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”

The creatures can move around on their own and can heal themselves when damaged.

The scientists claim the half-animal, half-robot beings could be used for medical treatments inside the human body, or to collect microplastics in the ocean. Some people may be worried about the results and morals of trying to change nature in this way. One of the researchers, Michael Levin, said that scientists don’t really understand where this kind of research could lead, but that they are taking the first steps to explore these areas.

Joe Biden

Who Will Challenge Trump in November?

Americans have entered an election year. This November, citizens will get to choose the next president of the United States. Will President Trump win a second term, or will he be defeated?

The Democratic Party is hoping to challenge Trump for the White House. It must first decide who will be the presidential nominee. When the election season began, around two dozen candidates stepped forward, and over the last few months, we have seen several drop out of the race. So who is most likely to go head-to-head against the president?

Elizabeth Warren

Many people predict Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the eventual nominee due to his experience in the White House.

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is a close second to Biden and may win many of the state primary votes (a way of choosing the nominee). Favoring a socialist approach to politics, many wonder whether he can gain votes against Trump.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also has a chance to win the nomination. Although she is behind both Biden and Sanders in the race, she has a lot of support among those who feel there should be a woman in the White House.

Now that some well-known politicians like Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and Beto O’Rourke have dropped out, only 12 candidates remain in the race.

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