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Breaking: World wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos, launches to space

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The wealthiest man on the planet Jeff Bezos spent a few minutes in space Tuesday on Blue Origin’s first human mission, a key moment for a fledgling industry seeking to make the final frontier accessible to elite tourists.

“A very happy group of people in this capsule,” said Bezos after the spaceship touched down in the west Texas desert following a 10-minute hop to the Karman line and back.

The four-member crew exchanged high-fives and hugged family who came to meet them at the landing site.

Earlier, the New Shepard capsule reached at an altitude of 66.5 miles (107 kilometers), allowing the passengers to experience weightlessness while admiring the curve of the Earth.

“It’s dark up here,” said barrier-breaking female aviator Wally Funk, who joined Bezos, his brother and 18-year-old Dutchman Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest ever astronaut.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson made the voyage on July 11, narrowly beating the Amazon magnate in their battle of the billionaires.

But Blue Origin’s sights were set higher: both in the altitude to which its reusable New Shepard craft would ascend compared to Virgin’s spaceplane, and in its ambitions.

Bezos, 57, founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of one day building floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people will work and live.

Today, the company is developing a heavy-lift orbital rocket called New Glenn and also a Moon lander it is hoping to contract to NASA.

Named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space, the New Shepard suborbital rocket had flown 15 uncrewed flights to put it through its paces and test safety mechanisms.

Lift-off was slightly delayed and came at 1312 GMT from a remote facility in the west Texas desert called Launch Site One, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the nearest town, Van Horn.

“This might have looked easy today, it was anything but easy,” said Gary Lai, lead designer of New Shepard.

– Richest, oldest, youngest –

Notably absent was the still anonymous winner of a $28 million auction for a seat, who had “scheduling conflicts” and will take part in a future flight.

Daemen’s father, the CEO of a private equity firm, was a runner-up in the bidding, allowing his teenage son to become the company’s first paying customer.

After lift-off, New Shepard careened towards space at speeds exceeding 2,300 mph (3700 kph) using a liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine whose only byproduct is water vapor.

The capsule separated from its booster, and when it got high enough, the astronauts unbuckled and experienced space for three to four minutes.

The booster returned autonomously to a landing pad just north of its launch site, while the capsule fell back to Earth with three giant parachutes, and finally a thruster, for a gentle landing.

– ‘Read the room’ – 

Blue Origin has remained relatively coy about what comes next. 

The company says it plans two more flights this year, then “many more” next year. 

Analysts say much will hinge on early successes and building a solid safety record. 

CEO Bob Smith revealed Sunday that the next launch could take place in September or October, adding “willingness to pay continues to be quite high.”

At the same time, the sector is beginning to face criticism over the optics of super wealthy individuals blasting off to space while Earth faces climate-driven disasters and a coronavirus pandemic.

“Could there be a worse time for two uber-rich rocket owners to take a quick jaunt toward the dark?” wrote Shannon Stirone in an Atlantic piece titled “Space Billionaires, Please Read the Room.”

AFP


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Oregon dog’s 12-inch ears earn Guinness World Record

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Lou, a 3-year-old canine belonging to Paige Olsen, officially has the longest ears on a dog (living).
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An Oregon woman’s black and tan coonhound earned a Guinness World Record when each of her ears was measured at 12.38 inches long.

Guinness said Lou, a 3-year-old canine belonging to Paige Olsen, officially has the longest ears on a dog (living).

Olsen said she always knew Lou’s ears were “extravagantly long,” but she only decided to measure them while sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All black and tan coonhounds have beautiful long ears, some are just longer than others,” Olsen, a veterinary technician, told Guinness.

Olsen said Lou’s especially long ears have not led to any medical complications for the canine.

“Of course everyone wants to touch the ears, they’re very easy to fall in love with with just one sighting,” she said.

Olsen said Lou is also a competitor at dog shows and has earned titles from the American Kennel Club and Rally Obedience.

Source: (UPI)


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Breaking: Ganduje appoints new Emir of Gaya

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has in the early hours of Sunday appointed Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim-Gaya as the new emir of Gaya.

Ibrahim-Gaya succeeded his late father, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulkadir who died at the age of 91 years after protracted illness.

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji announced the appointment on behalf of the Governor.

More to come…


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Tanks head for Kosovo-Serb border as Balkans tensions grow

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A Kosovo security unit trooper guards the border with Serbia as the Balkan nations trade accusations.
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Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has accused neighbouring Serbia of “provoking a serious international conflict”, with tensions between the two countries at their highest for years.

In the latest flashpoint, two interior ministry offices in northern Kosovo were on Saturday attacked near border crossings blocked by local Serbs angered by a ban on cars with Serbian licence plates entering the country.

The car registration office in the town of Zubin Potok was set ablaze, and two hand grenades were thrown at the civil registration office in the nearby town of Zvecan, though they did not go off, police said.

There was no mention of any casualties.

Serbs from Kosovo’s north have blocked two main roads near the border since the government ban went into force on Monday.

Drivers from Serbia must now use temporary printed registration details that are valid for 60 days.

The Kosovo government says its move mirrors measures in force in Serbia against drivers from Kosovo since 2008, when Kosovo declared independence from their neighbour.

Serb fighter planes flew close to the border crossing of Jarinje where protesters cheered them. A day before, three helicopters also flew in the vicinity.

Media in Belgrade reported that tanks and other military equipment were heading towards the border, but the Serb army did not give any details.

NATO’s mission in Kosovo, where peacekeepers maintain a fragile peace, called for restraint.

Source: (NewDaily)


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