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50 years ago, a dress rehearsal for the Moon landing

WT24 Desk As Earth grew ever smaller below his spacecraft, Apollo 10 commander Tom Stafford made an unusual request to mission control, AFP reports. The year was 1969, and his vessel was the first to be equipped with a colour camera, which was beaming live images to an awestruck global audience. “I was feeling real high,” recalled Stafford, who is ...

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Iraq turns to budding ecotourism to save marshes

WT24 Desk Thirty years after Saddam Hussein starved them of water, Iraq’s southern marshes are blossoming once more thanks to a wave of ecotourists picnicking and paddling down their replenished river bends, AFP reports. A one-room home made of elaborately woven palm reeds floats on the river surface. Near it, a soft plume of smoke curls up from a firepit ...

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Ireland launches first ‘dry pub’

WT24 Desk It’s happy hour in Dublin and the drinks are flowing, but in Ireland’s first “dry pub” patrons are forgoing Guinness and whiskey for non-boozy beers and zero per cent wine, according to AFP. The Virgin Mary, which opened this month, bucks the trend in a city where nightlife is fuelled by stout and spirits, offering a menu of ...

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Omani becomes first Arabic writer to win Booker

WT24 Desk Jokha Alharthi on Tuesday became the first Arabic author to win the Man Booker International prize for her novel “Celestial Bodies” which reveals her Omani homeland’s post-colonial transformation, AFP reports. “I am thrilled that a window has been opened to the rich Arabic culture,” Alharthi, 40, told reporters after the ceremony at the Roundhouse in London. Alharthi is ...

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Phone use limit can reverse sleep problems in a week

WT24 Desk Limiting evening exposure to blue-light emitting screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can reverse sleep problems and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood in teenagers, after just one week, says a study, IANS reports. The researchers found that those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 ...

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Current assessment may twist memories of love

WT24 Desk If you do not think of a person as highly now as you used to, the memories associated with that person can also change, says a study, according to IANS.As our memories fade, we rely on our current assessment of the people to remember how we felt about them in the past, and, the study suggests, this extends ...

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Fatal odds of pigeon racing in the Philippines

WT24 Desk It is a brutal 600-kilometre gauntlet during which competitors face searing heat, wild seas, vicious predators, and the threat of kidnapping, AFP reports. Only one in ten will finish. This is the MacArthur competition — the Philippines’ longest homing pigeon race. It’s a tough challenge for the birds and a tense affair for the owners. “Compared to Europe ...

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Photographic memories: From being nostalgic mementos to digital distractions, photos have travelled far

As we march towards 2020, with its promise of perfect vision, selfie-ready smile plastered on face, it is truer than ever that ‘today everything exists to end in a photograph’! WT24 Desk Heard about the vegan who never got photographed because she refused to say cheese? Now that I’ve alienated any vegans who may have stumbled here (I mock you ...

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Taiwan parliament becomes first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage

Supporters celebrate as legislation passed giving gay couples right to marry WT24 Desk Taiwan’s parliament has become the first in Asia to recognise same-sex marriage with the passage of legislation giving gay couples the right to marry, according to The Guardian. Lawmakers on Friday comfortably passed part of a bill that would allow gay couples to enter into “exclusive permanent ...

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‘Things are quite tense’: Taiwan on edge as same-sex marriage vote looms

Supporters uneasy ahead of parliamentary debate on marriage equality bills WT24 Desk Two years ago, Taiwan’s constitutional court made a historic ruling, declaring the country’s civil code, which posited that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, unconstitutional, The Guardian reports. The court gave Taiwan’s legislature two years to pass a law that would give legal recognition to ...

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