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MORE INTERNATIONAL NEWS IN BRIEF

Published:Wednesday | January 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell arrives at federal court for sentencing with his daughter, Rachel McDonnell (right), yesterday.

Astronomers find twin Earths

WASHINGTON (AP) :

Earth has a few more near-twin planets outside our solar system, tantalising possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Astronomers announced yesterday that depending on definitions, they have confirmed three or four more planets that are about the same size as Earth and are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold 'Goldilocks Zone' for liquid water to form.

These planets are likely to be rocky like Earth, and not gas giants or ice worlds. They get about the same heat from their star as we get from the sun.

That brings the total number of planets that are no bigger than twice Earth's size and in the habitable temperature zone to eight or nine.

NASA also announced that its planet-hunter telescope confirmed its 1,000th planet outside the solar system, most unlike Earth.


Ex-Virginia gov Bob McDonnell gets 2 years for corruption

RICHMOND, Va (AP):

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been sentenced to two years in prison for taking money and gifts in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement while he was in office.

McDonnell, a Republican, was once on the shortlist to be Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate. He was sentenced yesterday after being convicted of 11 counts of corruption.

The former governor and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty in September. She was convicted of eight counts and will be sentenced in February.

Lawyers for the former governor asked a judge to order three years of community service. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of at least 10 years in prison.

The six-week jury trial exposed details of the former first couple's strained marriage and shaky finances.