Pluto (foreground) and its moon, Charon. Image: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Before scientists visited Pluto, they thought it might have rings. But according to a paper posted in September to the preprint server, a close examination of the dwarf planet revealed no rings or debris. And that's a good thing, writes Lisa Grossman for Science News, because colliding dust-and-debris-filled rings could mean the end of a spacecraft like New Horizons.

Why it matters: If Pluto doesn't have rings or debris, it's possible other Kuiper Belt objects won't have them either. On January 1 2019, New Horizons is set to visit 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object approximately 20 miles long. If the flyby happens safely, New Horizons will continue on to even more distant objects.

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4 hours ago - Technology

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

6 hours ago - World

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace laureate cracks down on ethnic violence

The image of a Nobel Peace laureate in military fatigues encapsulates the moment in which Ethiopia finds itself — on the verge of a transition to democracy, a descent into violence or, perhaps, a precarious combination of the two.

Driving the news: At least 166 people were killed after an iconic musician, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was murdered last Monday in Addis Ababa, the capital. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responded to the violence by sending in troops and shutting off the internet. High-profile opposition leaders were arrested, along with some 2,300 others.

Updated 8 hours ago - Health

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus after displaying no symptoms.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of several Black women on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, has risen to national prominence in recent months as part of mass protests over racism and police brutality — driven in part by the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police.