Oct 28, 2007

Aliens visited Sicily - says official report

A clue about the 'Alien' visit! Aliens were responsible for a series of unexplained fires in fridges, TV’s and mobile phones in an Italian village, according to an Italian government report.

Canneto di Caronia, in northern Sicily, drew attention three years ago after residents reported everyday household objects bursting into flames. Dozens of experts including scientists, electrical engineers and military personnels, arrived in the village 60 miles east of Palermo to investigate the phenomenon.

Now in a leaked report published by several Italian newspapers it has emerged that the Civil Protection Department has concluded the most likely cause was "aliens".

The report was ordered by the Italian government and brought together dozens of experts including a NASA scientist. Their two year investigation has cost an estimated £1 million. According to the report the fires were "caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts."

The report also detailed a possible UFO landing close to the village, citing "burnt imprints which have not been explained were found in a field." Link

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The Museum of Broken Relationships

A museum of momentos, donated by heartbroken people! Sounds odd? It is the Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum was set up in 2006 by two Croatian artists who wanted to get rid of mementos from former romances.

Instead of throwing away all the gifts, letters and photographs that remind you of your ex, why not donate them to the Museum of Broken Relationships? One can donate any item to this museum! via Reuters

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Anti-war demonstration in US cities

On Saturday thousands of anti-war demonstrators in US call for an immediate end to the war in Iraq and a cut-off of funding by Congress. The "national day of action," sponsored by the United for Peace and Justice coalition, attracted throngs of protesters in cities from Boston and New Orleans to Chicago and Los Angeles on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Senate's vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Link

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Victim of weird study - twins reunited after 35 years

A happy reunion! Identical twin sisters who were separated at birth have been reunited after 35 years. But most interestingly, Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein discovered that they had been part of a secret social experiment.

Researchers had kept them apart with different adoptive families to investigate theories over 'nature and nurture'.

Telling their amazing story for the first time, the twins, who were born in New York, said they might have remained oblivious if Elyse, who had been living in Paris, had not decided to look for her birth mother. She was told that the mother was not interested in meeting her, but was then informed she had an identical twin called Paula. Social workers eventually managed to reunite the pair.

After their emotional meeting, twin sisters discovered that, they had been part of research conducted by psychologists - thought to be the only study of its kind on twins separated from infancy.

This experiment was so secret that not even their adoptive parents were told the full truth. They were told only that the children were part of an ongoing study.

The twins tracked down and confronted the scientists behind the study, including Peter Neubauer, a child psychiatrist. They allege he showed no remorse and offered no apology.

A year after the study ended, in 1980, the State of New York issued guidelines stopping the separating of identical twins by adoption. Perhaps aware that his research would be criticised, Mr Neubauer reportedly locked the study in a university archive not to be opened until 2066. Link

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Oct 27, 2007

Glowing cosmic Tornado

Many Light-years in length, this cosmic tornado is actually a powerful jet cataloged as HH (Herbig-Haro) 49/50 blasting down from the top of a Spitzer Space Telescope view. Though such energetic outflows are well known to be associated with the formation of young stars, the exact cause of the spiraling structures apparent in this case is still mysterious.

The embryonic star responsible for the 100-kilometer per second jet is located just off the top of the picture, while the bright star seen near the tip of the jet may just by chance lie along the line of sight. In the false-color infrared image, the tornado glows with infrared light generated as the outflow heats surrounding dust clouds.

The color coding shows a trend from red to blue hues at the tornado's tip indicating a systematic increase in emission at shorter wavelengths. The trend is thought to indicate an increase in molecular excitation closer to where the head of the jet is impacting interstellar gas. HH49/50 is about 450 light-years distant, located in the Chamaeleon I molecular cloud. Link

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Church on wheels

A 660-tonne stone church was lifted with lock stock and barrel on to a giant rolling platform in eastern Germany on Monday to make the 12-kilometre journey to its new home. The church in the village of Heuersdorf had to be moved because it was sitting on extensive deposits of lignite, or brown coal.

Mining work to extract the lignite, a fuel used in power generation plants, is expected to start soon. Packed tightly into a cradle of wooden supports, the 750-year-old church complete with tiled bell tower was separated from its foundations and lifted 1.5 metres to be placed on the rolling platforms.

The Church is expected to reach the village of Borna by October 31. The Mibrag mining company is funding this $4.2 million project to move the Church.

Watch a video report from Reuters:

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Speeding Go-kart and chasing convoy of police

A teenager speeding through Moenchengladbach, a German town, in a go-kart with seven squad cars in hot pursuit managed to give the frustrated officers the slip, police said on Friday.

After leading the convoy on a 5-km (3-mile) chase through the winding streets of Moenchengladbach, the 18-year-old driver spotted a private garage with an open door, where he decided to lie low, police said.

"We were chasing him across town, but the squad cars couldn't keep up because the go-cart was able to take the corners faster and he was able to get away," police spokesman Willy Thevissen said.

Later, police discovered his hiding place. He was questioned and charged with driving without a license and driving a go-kart on a public street, which is not permitted in Germany.

"He told us he knew driving a go-cart on the street is illegal," the spokesman said. "But he had purchased the vehicle from a friend and said he had no other way of getting it home." Link

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Californians return to their homes

Thousands of Californians forced from their neighborhoods by this week's wind-whipped wildfires returned home on Friday, some of them finding their property unscathed amid the destruction and others discovering nothing but blackened rubble.

In San Diego County, where an estimated 500,000 people fled the smoke and flames in the largest mass evacuation in modern California history, lines of cars streamed back into fire-scarred mountain communities that had been left ghost towns.

Traffic was jammed for miles as weary residents made their way one at a time past police checkpoints. In some neighborhoods the hop-scotching fires left a single home standing while burning everything else to the ground. Link

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Nurses will be allowed to veto the Resuscitation

In UK, senior nurses will be allowed to veto the resuscitation of patients under new guidelines issued yesterday by the medical profession. The British Medical Association said patients should be spared "undignified and unnecessary" attempts to revive them when there could be no realistic hope of success.

The guidelines tell doctors to weigh up the benefits and risks of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when a patient stops breathing or the heart stops beating. They should consider the damage to vital organs that could be caused by CPR and take into account the likely views of the patient about the lasting medical consequences of being brought back from the dead.

Under the old rules, a decision not to resuscitate had to be made by a hospital consultant or GP. The new guidelines extend the power to consultant nurses and specialists in palliative care.

David Pitcher, of the Resuscitation Council, said survival rates after resuscitation were as low as 5% in some circumstances, and patients' families were often given over-optimistic expectations by television dramas.

Dr Pitcher said: "It is not always appropriate to distress a person who is dying, perhaps in the last few days of life, by discussing attempted resuscitation when clearly CPR would not be successful."

Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, said: "The primary role of medicine is to benefit patients and when treatment can no longer achieve this, it is good practice to avoid further invasive and burdensome interventions.

"CPR also carries the risk of internal fractures and ruptures and there is a risk of long-term brain damage ... Health professionals need to be honest with patients about the likelihood and the level of recovery they can reasonably expect if CPR is attempted." Link

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Muslim prisoners and ham sandwich during Ramadan

A group of Muslim inmates at a high security prison of UK are set to launch a multi-million pound claim for compensation after they were offered ham sandwiches during the holy month of Ramadan. They say their human rights were breached when they were given a special nightly menu - drawn up to recognise their specific dietary requirements - by officers at HMP Leeds last month.

More than 200 Muslim inmates at the jail are believed to have been offered the meat which is strictly forbidden by Islam.

The sandwich was one of three options on the menu card which was created to cover the religious festival during which Muslims are required to fast during daylight.

They later complained to prison officers on duty but say they were told that the menus had been printed in error. Yet when they opened the sandwiches, having ordered cheese, some claim they were still filled with boiled ham.

The Muslim prisoners are now launching legal action, insisting that their human rights were breached and could each be entitled to up to £10,000 in compensation if they win their case at court. Link

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Oct 26, 2007

Discovery docks with International Space Station

A good news from space! Two female astronauts are at the helm as the space shuttle Discovery docks with the International Space Station. It was for the first time that women have served in both roles at the same time. Watch the Video from Reuters.

Led by the shuttle commander, Pamela A. Melroy, and the station commander, Peggy A. Whitson, the crews met with shouts of greeting and hearty embraces as the two vehicles made their way around the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, crossing over North Carolina.

The shuttle, which is delivering an Italian-built module to serve as the berthing port for the new labs, linked up with the $100 billion space outpost more than 200 miles above Earth, two days after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Hair of Che Guevara auctioned in Dallas

A lock of revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara's hair and related items were auctioned on Thursday in Dallas to a Houston-area bookstore owner for the very capitalist sum of $119,500.

The collection had belonged to Gustavo Villoldo, 71, a former CIA operative who helped hunt Guevara down in the jungles of Bolivia in 1967 and who claims he cut off the lock before burying the guerrilla fighter with two of his comrades.

There was media speculation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a leftist who greatly admires the iconic Guevara, would bid for the items. But, the hair was auctioned with a few related items to Butler in one batch.

"Butler ... is thrilled to own items from Che (and) will display them in his store," said Kelley Norwine, vice president of marketing for Heritage Auction Galleries, which auctioned the mementos.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara was captured by CIA-backed Bolivian soldiers on October 8, 1967 and shot dead the next day in a schoolhouse. Some remains believed to be his were dug up decades later and taken to Cuba. Link

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Artist's impression of the man who snatched Madeleine

This is the man who snatched Madeleine! This is the man a witness claims she saw carrying a child away from the McCann family's holiday apartment on the night Madeleine disappeared.

The picture - an artist's impression - was commissioned by the McCanns in an attempt to kickstart the hunt for their daughter.

A forensic artist drew the picture after speaking to witness Jane Tanner and asking her what she remembered of the man she saw on the night of May 3.

Miss Tanner, 36, was one of the group of friends on holiday with the McCanns - the Tapas Nine - and told police she saw a man carrying a bundle away from the apartment and down towards the church in Praia da Luz, at about 9.15pm.

She thought nothing of it until the alarm was raised 45 minutes later, and was said to be "racked with guilt". She told police she thought it was strange to see a man carrying a child so late at night, but thought he must be its father.

The picture shows a child's legs dangling over the man's arm, wearing white trousers decorated with a floral pattern and a lacy trim. The child appears to be asleep or barely conscious. The clothing fits the description of the pyjamas Madeleine's parents say she was wearing on the night she vanished.

The artist left the man's face blank because Miss Tanner, of Exeter, said she never saw it in the dark street. Link

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Oct 25, 2007

First commercial flight of Airbus A380

The world's largest passenger plane, the giant Airbus A380 superjumbo, has finally completed its first commercial flight. A total of 471 passengers were on today's flight of Airbus A380 which belongs to Singapore Airlines. It started the journey from Singapore's Changi airport and touched down at Sydney airport around 8.25am UK time.

The oldest passenger aboard was great-grandmother Eileen Gower, from Sevenoaks, Kent. She was accompanied by her banker son, Gary, 42, who was selected by the airline from thousands who had taken up the airline's offer to bid for tickets on eBay.

The unique bidding process has raised more than £600,000 for charity. Julian Hayward, 38, from UK paid £50,000 to be in one of the luxurious first-class suites on this first flight. Link

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Flying Car - The Transition from Terrafugia

A US company have developed a car that can easily beat traffic jams by flying over it! Take a look at the image. The Transition from Terrafugia is a four-wheeled car which is also a plane. So, this is the car of future!

At the touch of a button the Transition from Terrafugia four-wheeled car extends a pair of wings either side of its main body. The prototype, which runs on super unleaded petrol, cruises at 120mph and lands at 65mph.

The Transition will use low-cost electronics and feature GPS and auto-pilot weather radar. By next December, the company will start regular production of the Transition and each car will cost you £74,000.

Chief operating officer, Anna Mracek Dietrich, said: "It will take just a few seconds to transform and will be fully automated after the command is given in the cockpit. We're currently sold out for at least the first year, approaching the first two of production". Link

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Oct 24, 2007

Space shuttle Discovery on a construction mission

The Space shuttle Discovery blasted off on Tuesday for a construction mission at the International Space Station, raising hope that NASA will be able to add laboratories for European and Japanese partners later this year.

Discovery started its journey from the seaside launch pad on time at 11:38 a.m. (1538 GMT), defying forecasts of poor weather and a potential delay from an ice buildup on its fuel tank. It quickly disappeared from view behind low-lying clouds before reaching orbit 8.5-minutes later.

The seven-member crew, led by retired Air Force colonel Pamela Melroy, 46, plans to spend 10 days at the station preparing it for the arrival of Europe's Columbus laboratory in early December.

Five spacewalks are planned during Discovery's visit to move and reattach a pair of the station's solar wing panels, install a vestibule so Columbus and Japan's Kibo module can be attached and other tasks.

Take a look at the Reuters video report on this mission of Space shuttle Discovery. Link

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Beautiful gathering of King Penguins

Take a look at the image. It shows more than 10,000 King Penguins standing shoulder to shoulder at St Andrew's bay on the island of South Georgia. Most of them are gathering there to breed. This is one of the most extraordinary sights, seen in the nature.

The King Penguins are one of the interesting creatures on earth. They lay their eggs in late November, with a peak around mid-December. Both male and female of each mating couple incubates the egg. The male takes the first incubation shift of two weeks, then the female takes the next fortnight, after which they swap every three or four days. When incubating they stand rooted to the spot just a flipper's length from the next one.

But it's not just the urge to breed which impels penguins to come ashore at certain times of the year — sometimes they need to change their clothes.

Feathers wear out and lose their insulating properties, so their waterproof suits must be replaced. After about 12 days of moulting on shore, they have lost virtually all their vibrant plumage and stand almost naked. Slowly, their new feathers appear and after 30 days they are ready to go back into the water — with a brand-new suit.

The new outfit helps in finding a new mate the following year, because the divorce rate is high among them! Link

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Devastating wildfires raged California

Again the nature has shown it's devastating power. Wildfires raged across Southern California on Tuesday, threatening more than 60,000 homes as night fell and forcing half a million people to flee.

California's worst fires in four years, driven by hot Santa Ana winds, tormented the San Diego area in the south. Some 1,500 homes and other structures had been destroyed by the fires as of Tuesday evening and the 500,000 people evacuated in their path. It was the largest evacuation in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

In the San Diego area, one person was killed by wildfires on Sunday. Four other deaths were reported among the evacuees and more than three dozen people had been injured, including 18 firefighters.

Some 8,000 people, including senior citizens from nursing homes, went to the Qualcomm stadium, where the San Diego Chargers football team plays, or to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, famed for its horse racing track. Thousands of horses and family pets were also accommodated.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President George W. Bush to upgrade California's wildfires to a "major disaster," which would trigger federal help. Link

Watch the video update from Reuters:

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Oct 23, 2007

Picture of Crescent Saturn

When viewed from beyond earth, the Saturn can show an unfamiliar diminutive sliver crescent phase. This image of crescent Saturn in natural color was taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in May. The image captures Saturn's majestic rings from the side of the ring plane opposite the Sun -- the unilluminated side -- another vista not visible from Earth.

Pictured are many of Saturn's photogenic wonders, including the subtle colors of cloud bands, the complex shadows of the rings on the planet, the shadow of the planet on the rings, and the moons Mimas (2 o'clock), Janus (4 o'clock), and Pandora (8 o'clock). As Saturn moves towards equinox in 2009, the ring shadows are becoming smaller and moving toward the equator. During equinox, the rings will be nearly invisible from Earth and project only an extremely thin shadow line onto the planet. Link

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Levitation in Times Square and White House

A news from the magic world! Dutch magician 'Ramana' has tried his best to freak out American people by levitating in Times Square and in front of the White House. The illusionist, real name Wouter Bijdendijk, hovered several feet above the pavement with apparent ease. His only "prop" was a stick that he held with his left hand.

A household name in his native Netherlands, Ramana has performed for Queen Beatrix and has been honoured in India with the Golden Cloth award, the highest cultural honour ever given to a westerner.

"This is an art," Ramana said.

Watch a video report from Reuters, on Ramana's levitation in front of White House:

Ramana's repertoire also includes "flying" up to 10 metres above ground, mind reading and other forms of Indian street trickery. Link 1, 2

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Six Asiatic elephants electrocuted after drinking beer

In a tragic accident, six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted when they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India's remote northeast. The elephants died after uprooting an electric pole.

A herd of about 40 asiatic elephants were looking for food on Friday in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 240 kilometres west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state. Then they got the taste of rice beer brewed by tribal communities and the tragic accident happened.

"There would have been more casualties had the villagers not chased them away," said Dipu Mark, a local conservationist.

India's northeast accounts for the worlds largest concentration of wild Asiatic elephants with the states of Assam and Meghalaya alone estimated to have 7,000 of them. Four wild elephants had died similarly in the region three years ago. Link

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Coca Cola vending machine Skirts

A new designer skirt, that protects you! Take a look at the images. This skirt helps the wearer to disguise as a Coca Cola machine! Ms Tsukioka, 29, the designer of this vending machine skirt hopes that it will help to ease women's fear of crime.

Ms Tsukioka unveiled her design in Tokyo. The wearer needs to lift a flap on the skirt, to expose a large sheet of cloth printed with the familiar bright red Coca Cola logo. The idea of this skirt was inspired by a trick used by Japanese ninjas, who cloaked themselves in black blankets so they couldn't be seen at night. A deluxe model of the skirt even boasts four sides for a more complete cover.

Ms Tsukioka said: "It is just easier for Japanese to hide. Making a scene would be too embarrassing."

She has already sold 20 of the £400 hand-sewn vending machine skirts. Now, she aims to market the design worldwide. Link

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Oct 22, 2007

Limited edition Ferrari Bicycle

A new Ferrari, with two wheels! Take a look at the image. This is a limited edition Ferrari bicycle, released for the Christmas season. This bicycle comes with the black horse logo of Ferrari and looks cute. You don't need to spend a fortune to get one, as they are priced between £195 and £355.

Online retailer cxbikes.com said: 'It's like driving a Ferrari without wandering on to the race track.' Link

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Oct 17, 2007

McCanns to continue their campaign

The McCanns will continue to campaign for Madeleine's safe return. According to their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, an £80,000 poster campaign was launched yesterday to target remote villages in Southern Portugal and Spain. On the other hand, Portuguese police are trying to collect evidences to relate the McCanns with Madeleine's disappearance.

Yesterday, the spokesman of McCanns admitted for the first time that Madeleine's parents know she is probably dead. But they have not given up hope that she could be alive. This is the human nature that you always fear the worst, said the spokesman.

The McCanns are facing new claims that evidence of a decomposing body was found in their hired car. Portuguese police sources allege forensic test results show "bodily fluid" from a corpse in the boot of the Renault Scenic rented by Kate and Gerry McCann 25 days after Madeleine went missing. They are also claiming that the evidence was found on the underside of a carpet, indicating that a body was deliberately hidden there.

On the other hand, a computer used by Gerry McCann has been seized by police investigating the case. Detectives want to check the desktop computer's history to see which websites were visited in the days and weeks after Madeleine disappeared. They will also monitor email traffic to and from the McCanns, provided the trawl gets the go-ahead from a judge.

Mr Gerry McCann and his wife Kate set up a mini-office from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz after the disappearance of Madeleine, in order to campaign for the safe return of their daughter. Link

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Race between Man and Cheetah!

A man racing a Cheetah! Can you believe this? It was a real stunt performed by South Africa's flying winger Bryan Habana, for a promotion. Habana is regarded as the fastest rugby player on the planet, who can run 100m in 11 seconds. But organisers decided even he needed help against an animal which can accelerate from 0-60mph in three seconds and has a top speed of 70mph. So, they gave him a 30m head start.

The cheetah was chasing a leg of lamb propelled in front of it and a man with a tranquiliser gun was on hand to stop unwanted situation! But, it was never required and the race was a draw! Link

Watch the video of this race between Man and Cheetah:

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New marine life found in Philippines

The colourful creatures in the pictures are some of the new marine life, discovered in the Celebes Sea off Tawi-Tawi, Philippines. Dr Larry Madin, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and his team discovered these creatures during the Inner Space Speciation Project, when they explored one of the world's deepest ocean basins in search of organisms isolated there for million yeras.

Dr Madin and his team of more than two dozen scientists explored the deep ocean, to a depth of 2,800m (9,186ft) using a remotely operated camera. They collected about 100 different specimens, including species possibly never discovered before.

The more outstanding specimens include a transparent sea cucumber that swims by bending its elongated body and a jet-black jellyfish. One of the most striking creatures found was a spiny orange worm armed with ten squid-like tentacles.

Within a few weeks, scientists will determine whether the collected specimens were newly discovered. Link

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Oct 16, 2007

The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System

The Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS), or Canadarm, is a mechanical arm used on the Space Shuttle to maneuver a payload from the payload bay of the orbiter to its deployment position and then release it. It can also grapple a free-flying payload, maneuver it to the payload bay of the orbiter and berth it in the orbiter.

Since its first usage during STS-2 in 1981 on Columbia, the SRMS has been used on over 50 shuttle missions. It was first flown on Challenger during STS-7 in 1983. Then in 1984 it was first used aboard Discovery during STS-41-D, Discovery's first flight. It was used on Atlantis first during STS-61-B. The SRMS onboard Challenger was lost during the Challenger disaster in 1986. An SRMS was then next used on Endeavour during STS-49.

Since the installation of the Canadarm2 on the International Space Station, the two arms have been used to hand over segments of the station for assembly from the SRMS to the Canadarm2; the use of both elements in tandem has earned the nickname of 'Canadian Handshake' in the media.

Following the Columbia disaster, the SRMS has been used on every space shuttle flight to inspect the heat shield for damage that may have been caused during launch. It is likely that the arm will be a part of all future shuttle missions. Images from NASA Link

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Airbus A380 with double beds

A dream journey begins! Finally, after delay of two years, Airbus delivered its first A380 superjumbo on Monday, to Singapore Airlines. The delivered Airbus A380 contains luxury suites equipped with ultra-comfortable double beds.

The A380, as configured for Singapore Airlines, will have 471 seats which are divided into 399 economy seats, 60 business seats and 12 first-class suites. Two luxury suites will have an actual double-sized bed complete with regular pillows and covers. A sliding door and fabric screen will provide some privacy from peering passengers.

Singapore Airlines will start the A380 on trips between Singapore City and Sydney Australia on October 25th. The one-way price on the double beded suits will be approximately $7160 USD. Link

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