By Richard Cowan and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would "love" to see another government shutdown as Republicans and Democrats in Congress worked to reach a budget deal that would prevent federal agencies from having to close their doors this week. As lawmakers in Congress closed in on a bipartisan budget deal that could end months of budget uncertainty, Trump threatened to upend the discussions by insisting that any spending package would have to include changes to immigration laws - the very issue that led to a three-day shutdown last month. "I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of," he said at the White House.
After SpaceX successfully blasted its Falcon Heavy mega-rocket into outer space today, two of the rocket's three boosters turned around, plummeted through the atmosphere, and landed back on Earth. SpaceX later revealed that the third booster didn't land on its done ship in the Atlantic Ocean as expected. Instead it crashed into the ocean at about 300 miles per hour, according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk. SpaceX provided a live webcast of the unprecedented launch and double landing, which can be watched above. About eight minutes after liftoff, two of the boosters landed back on land, in Florida. The third booster was expected to land around 20 seconds later on a SpaceX drone ship bobbing 300 miles off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX seemed to have lost the feed from the drone ship as the third and final booster was expected to land. SEE ALSO: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch will make you excited about spaceflight again In the last couple years, SpaceX has started bringing an expensive and critical component of its Falcon 9 rockets back to Earth — the rocket booster which contains nine engines. Few rockets on Earth are currently capable of this landing feat, which enables SpaceX to reuse rockets and substantially lower the cost of launching spacecraft and cargo into space. In fact, the two rocket boosters that just landed together (shown below), had already previously landed back on Earth after sending payloads into space. Two SpaceX rocket boosters landing together in Florida.Image: spacexBut never before has SpaceX landed rocket boosters together. The three-rocket Falcon Heavy sits on a NASA launchpad before the Feb. 6 launch.Image: spacexMost other rockets, like NASA's forthcoming Mars-bound Space Launch System, are not reusable, meaning the entire massive rocket needs to be rebuilt for each launch. But other private rocket companies recognize the necessary economy is building reusable rockets. Jeff Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin, has already successfully landed a rocket back on Earth. This West Texas landing, however, was a test. SpaceX is already blasting government satellites and space station cargo into space — and bringing the boosters back. Two of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster rockets return to Earth.Image: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty ImagesWith today's twin-booster landing — and potentially a triple landing — SpaceX showed that it can make longer and deeper missions into space cheaper. Getting back to the Moon and visiting Mars will be inherently expensive (especially as return missions add up) — but with these remarkable rocket innovations, perhaps not prohibitively so. WATCH: Here’s how NASA is preparing the largest telescope ever built for space
US bombers have struck multiple Taliban targets in a new air offensive over the past four days in far northeastern Afghanistan near the China and Tajikistan borders, the Southern Command said Tuesday. The strikes hit Taliban training facilities in Badakhshan province, "preventing the planning and rehearsal of terrorist acts," the Southern Command said in a statement. The bombing also destroyed vehicles that it said the Taliban took from the Afghan National Army and were turning into vehicle-born explosive devices.
By James Macharia JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress party on Tuesday put off a key meeting due to discuss President Jacob Zuma's future later this week, while an online news service quoted sources saying he was ready to quit if certain conditions were met. The ANC had called a special meeting of its executive committee for Wednesday in Cape Town, heralding what could be a new bid to unseat the 75-year-old president who is beset by corruption allegations and damaged by decline in the economy. Zuma has been in a weakened position since he was replaced as leader of the ANC by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in December.