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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With the Olympic games scheduled for later this year in Brazil, athletes and national Olympic committees across the globe are expressing concern about the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes.

George Boville, an Olympic bronze medalist swimmer for Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 meter individual medley and two-time world champion, told ABC News that he was worried about going to Brazil, where the outbreak of the Zika virus in the Americas started.

“It is definitely a concern,” he told ABC News via Twitter. By the time of the Olympic games, “it should be rampant.”

The New Zealand Olympic Committee and the Australian Olympic Team Committee have already told their athletes to take protective measures.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee said they are abiding by government recommendations, which at this point advise “expectant mothers or those planning pregnancy do not travel to areas with the Zika virus present.”

“We would support any athlete or support staff member in their decision to not attend the games if this were the case,” the committee said in a statement last week.

The Australian Olympic Committee said they are advising all athletes to wear long sleeves and that any team member who is “pregnant at the time of the Games need to consider the risks very carefully before deciding whether to proceed with travel to Brazil.”

The International Olympic Committee released a note on Friday to all Olympic committees outlining medical advice.

“We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” the IOC said in the statement.

The United States Olympic Committee officials said they are most concerned about the well-being of athletes and staff going to the games.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation through the CDC and have ongoing contact with the International Olympic Committee, the organizing officials in Rio, the World Health Organization and infectious disease specialists with expertise in tropical diseases, including the Zika virus,” the USOC said in a statement.

The Zika virus is characterized by mostly mild symptoms, including fever, rash and fatigue. However, it has been associated with a worrying rise in a dangerous birth defect called microcephaly, where an infant is born with an abnormally small head. It has been known to be associated with developmental delays and seizures.

Pregnant Olympic athletes are a rare occurrence, but multiple women have reportedly competed while they were unknowingly pregnant. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kerri Walsh Jennings was five weeks pregnant when she won the gold medal, according to ESPN.com.

And many of those who travel to the Olympics are the family members of the athletes.

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NASA(HOUSTON) — A manned mission to Mars or another long-haul destination will require crew members to keep their cool and perform their necessary duties — all while living in cramped quarters and experiencing the isolation of space travel.

NASA’s latest experiment — putting four humans in an isolated habitat for 30 days — has been done before. But repeating the simulated mission will continue to help the space agency collect data and observations that could one day help inform training for a real-life expedition.

The latest group will live inside the Human Research Exploration Analog (HERA) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas with virtually no access to the outside world, other than communications to mission control, according to a post on NASA’s Tumblr detailing plans for the mission.

The foursome will be simulating a 715-day mission to an asteroid and will have to complete several tasks that would happen during the journey to the asteroid, their arrival and eventual return to Earth. NASA also said it plans to throw a few emergency scenarios into the mix so they can watch how the crew members perform under stress.

“This simulation means that even when communicating with mission control, there will be a delay on all communications ranging from 1 to 10 minutes each way. The crew will also perform virtual spacewalk missions once they reach their destination, where they will inspect the asteroid and collect samples from it,” NASA explained.

During the simulated trip, the group will also be growing their own plants and taking care of brine shrimp since it will be important for astronauts to sustain their own food sources on long-haul trips.

The last experiment inside HERA was done in 2014 and lasted several days, during which NASA gathered a trove of data from its volunteers using electronic badges that recorded heart rate, distance, motion, sound intensity, proximity and interactions between the team.

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iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — In less than two weeks, Ehud Olmert will make Israeli history as the first former prime minister to go to jail. On Feb. 15, he is slated to start an 18-month sentence after being convicted of corruption in a real estate deal.

On Tuesday Olmert pled guilty in another corruption case and may serve even more tire behind bars.

For the first time in his eight-year fight against corruption accusations, Olmert admitted wrongdoing. In a plea bargain, the former Israeli prime minister pled guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice for trying to buy the silence of his chief aide. His illegal offers were captured on audio recordings.

Olmert was fined $13,000.

The court will rule next week on whether Olmert — who begins his sentence on Feb. 15 — will be required to serve another six months, or whether his prison time can be served concurrently.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon will request $7.5 billion in next year’s budget to cover the costs of its accelerating campaign against ISIS, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Tuesday.

Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Carter revealed the 50 percent increase for ISIS-related funds over its fiscal year 2016 budget.

“This will be critical as our updated coalition military campaign plan kicks in. For example, we’ve recently been hitting ISIL with so many GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets that we’re starting to run low on the ones that we use against terrorists the most,” Carter said. ISIS is also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. “So we’re investing $1.8 billion in FY 2017 to buy over 45,000 more of them.”

The budget request also will include a quadrupling of the funds to support NATO’s effort to counter Russian aggression in eastern Europe, raising the current amount of $789 million to $3.4 billion. This increase will allow for the rotation of more U.S. units in Europe, additional training, and the pre-positioning of gear.

“All of this together by the end of 2017 will let us rapidly form a highly-capable combined arms ground force that can respond theater-wide if necessary,” Carter said.

Fiscal year 2017 begins on Oct. 1, 2016.

Carter called Russia, along with China, “our most stressing competitors,” which “reflect a return to a great power competition.”

With Russia’s seizing of the Crimea from the Ukraine and China’s claims on disputed islands in the South China Sea, Carter said, “we cannot blind ourselves to the actions they appear to choose to pursue.”

Carter also outlined a series of innovations by the Strategic Capabilities Office: Placing micro-cameras and sensors one can find on smartphones on small diameter bombs; swarming micro-drones that can be launched from the back of a jet flying near the speed of sound; and self-driving boats.

In all, the Defense Department budget request will be nearly $583 billion and will shift in focus away from one potential enemy to multiple threats.

“We don’t have the luxury of just one opponent, or the choice between current fights and future fights — we have to do both. And that’s what our budget is designed to do,” Carter said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Six pieces of jewelry from the collection of notorious Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth are going up for auction Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service said, more than seven years after Madoff’s $64 billion scam was uncovered.

The pieces, to be put up for auction hosted online from Texas later Tuesday, include what appears to be a diamond bracelet, a gold piece of jewelry in the shape of a paperclip, a necklace, a pendant and two sleek, gold watches, according to the Marshals Service.

Though Madoff was arrested more than seven years ago, officials are still attempting to track down the money he stole in his decades-long Ponzi scheme — including recouping some losses from major auctions. Previously, Madoff’s houses and yachts were sold or auctioned off for tens of millions.

Check out the pieces of jewelry said to be up for auction below and click HERE for more information on the event:

U.S. Marshals ServiceU.S. Marshals ServiceU.S. Marshals ServiceU.S. Marshals ServiceU.S. Marshals ServiceU.S. Marshals Service

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has dethroned Apple as the world’s most valuable company after a blockbuster quarter fueled by the growth of its digital advertising business.

In its first earnings report since spinning off Google’s businesses and creating the new parent company Alphabet, the company announced a $4.9 billion profit — up from $4.7 billion at the same time a year ago. The news sent Alphabet’s stock price surging, giving the company a rough worth of $570 billion versus Apple, which is worth around $535 billion.

Apple announced a record quarter last week. However, the company faces a tough road in 2016 as smartphone sales are starting to stagnate. Meanwhile, Google’s advertising business is still the engine that is driving the company forward. Paid clicks on advertisements have grown 31 percent year over year, according to the report, with much of the growth coming from mobile.

“Alphabet had the combination of growth and transparency, which is the magic 1-2 combination in this market, while Apple is struggling through a bad hitting streak of soft growth,” Daniel Ives, managing director at FBR Capital Markets, told ABC News Tuesday. “This speaks to some of the challenges [Apple CEO] Tim Cook and Apple have run into over the last few months as the iPhone 6s has been disappointing and resulted in near-term growth concerns for the company.”

Ruth Porat, a Wall Street veteran who was hired as Google’s chief financial officer, has promised to bring financial discipline to the company. Porat’s approach, coupled with the fact that investors have for the first time been given a clear breakdown of each business unit’s performance, was key to helping it take the top spot from Apple, Ives said.

“This market is all about rewarding the combo of growth and profitability,” Ives said. “Investors are focusing on names like Alphabet hitting its stride while Apple has stumbled a bit out of the gates in 2016.”

Google has always been a search engine and advertising business at its core but over the years it’s grown into a company with diverse interests ranging from self-driving cars to home automation systems. The idea of Alphabet is to spin off some of those businesses from Google, a move Alphabet CEO Larry Page said would make the company “cleaner and more accountable.”

For the first time ever, investors were privy to a breakdown of how much Alphabet is spending on its famous experimental moonshot projects, which range from self-driving cars and Internet-beaming drones to fighting cancer. Labeled as “other bets,” Alphabet revealed it spent $3.56 billion on those projects in 2015.

While it’s a huge milestone for Alphabet, Ives said he wouldn’t count out Apple as the company works toward the likely launch of a new iPhone this year.

“Overall, it’s symbolic Alphabet dethroning Apple from the top of the market cap summit ahead of an anticipated iPhone 7 release,” he said. “It speaks to Apple becoming a ‘prove me’ stock in the eyes of the Street with some wood to chop ahead.”

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The key to getting visibility in a Facebook News Feed is no longer just about how many likes and comments a post receives.

The social network is now relying on user feedback to help it deliver a more meaningful News Feed experience to its 1.6 billion users, according to a blog post from Facebook software engineers Cheng Zhang and Si Chen.

“The actions people take on Facebook — liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post — are historically some of the main factors considered to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed. But these factors don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to you,” they wrote.

The changes in Facebook’s algorithm come from survey feedback Facebook has received from a focus group of more than 1,000 people who were asked to rate their experience on the site and suggest how Facebook can improve the content they get in their News Feed. Facebook’s team also surveyed tens of thousands of people around the world every day, asking them to rate stories they see in their News Feed from one to five stars.

Facebook’s engineers said they were able to use this information to understand what stories matter the most to people, even if they choose not to click, like or comment on them.

The result is an updated algorithm that will weigh the level of engagement on a post as well as the likelihood a user may want to see it at the top of their feed.

Facebook also made key changes to News Feed last summer when it began allowing users to take control of their News Feed preference, allowing users to select group of pages and friends whose posts Facebook promises to always share first at the top of a user’s News Feed.

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Zoonar/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Gas prices across the U.S. continue to get cheaper.

The average price of regular unleaded gas is now $1.82 per gallon, down about three cents in the past week, according to new numbers out from the Energy Department. The latest price drop is 25 cents less than what drivers were paying a year ago at this time.

With the current price at $1.59, drivers in Texas are paying the least to fill up their tanks. Though prices in California are falling the most, drivers there are still paying more than anywhere else in the country — $2.55 a gallon on average — up 11 cents compared to a year ago.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Dutch Police are working with the birds from a raptor training company to teach eagles to hunt drones.

As we’ve seen in viral videos, the birds of prey don’t take too kindly to the flying devices — and neither do police when amateurs are buzzing around potential disaster areas.

“There is a case where an air ambulance would land but could not because someone out there flew a drone,” Mark Wiebes, innovation manager of the National Unit of the police, tells the Australian Broadcasting Company.

“You can also imagine that people want to take beautiful pictures of an event and fly a drone above the crowd. If that drone falls from the sky, it can be dangerous for the people below.”

In these cases, the backers of a pilot program project, an eagle can be loosed to snatch the remote control devices out of the air, then fly them away to a safe place, as they would with prey.

While only in the test phase, videos prove the drones are no match when flying where eagles dare.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Yahoo’s performance review system is going to be challenged in court after a former employee filed a lawsuit Monday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit, filed by ex-Yahoo employee Gregory Anderson in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, alleges that the ratings system was rigged and sparked fierce competition to the point of violating employment laws.

The quarterly ratings system, designed by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, ranks employees on a scale of 1 to 5.

“The [reviewing] process was opaque and the employees did not know who was making the final decisions, what numbers were being assigned by whom along the way, or why those numbers were being changed,” the filing said according to WSJ.

News of the lawsuit comes as Mayer is expected to announce a new plan for the company that will likely include deep job cuts.

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