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May 28, 2022 7:29 am

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Voice of America – English: SpaceX Aiming for Friday Morning Launch to ISS


SpaceX is set to launch its third crew to the International Space Station early Friday, reusing a rocket and crew capsule in a human mission for the first time.

The Crew-2 mission blasts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:49 a.m. Eastern Time (0949 GMT), after being delayed a day by adverse weather along the flight path.

“It seems the weather is cooperating, so looks like we will try to launch tomorrow !!!” tweeted French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who will become the first European to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon.

“Our friends on the @Space_Station are expecting us to show up and we don’t want to be late. They even installed my bedroom recently and literally made my bed. Such nice hosts!”

The extra “bed” is necessary to accommodate an unusually large number of people aboard the ISS: 11 in total, as the Crew-2 team overlaps for a few days with Crew-1 astronauts, in addition to three Russian cosmonauts.

Pesquet will be accompanied by Americans Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide.

Crew-1 is set to splash down off the Florida cost on April 28.

It is the third time SpaceX will send humans to the ISS as part of its multibillion-dollar contract with NASA under the Commercial Crew Program.

The first mission, a test flight called Demo-2, took place last year and ended nine years of American reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the ISS following the end of the space shuttle program.

“In terms of getting the operations ready, it’s always easier the third time you do it,” Daniel Forrestel, a NASA launch integration manager, told AFP.

“I would never ever want to describe spaceflight as ‘routine,’ but ‘more familiar’ is a good way to put it,” he added.

The Crew-2 mission will reuse the capsule from Demo-2 and the Falcon 9 booster previously deployed for the uncrewed Demo-1 mission, a key cost-saving goal of NASA’s partnerships with private industry.

Major step for Europe

Ahead of the launch, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen of Denmark told AFP the mission was also a major step forward for Europe, which has dubbed it “Alpha” after its own naming convention.

“On the one hand, it means a lot of course to have an astronaut going to the International Space Station — but at the same time it’s also the next mission in a long line of missions.”

Germany’s Matthias Maurer will be the next European on a SpaceX mission this fall, followed by Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti next spring.

ESA will also be a key partner to the United States in the Artemis program to return to the Moon, providing the power and propulsion component for the Orion spacecraft, and critical elements of a planned lunar orbital station called Gateway.

Mogensen predicted that in the hours leading up to the launch, Pesquet, who is a close friend of his, would be feeling a “sense of relief” to finally start the mission after years of planning.

“You’re very focused on what’s going to happen, on your tasks at hand,” he said.

“Thomas and his crewmates have spent hours in a simulator training for this, they’ve gone through the launch procedures, they’ve gone through the docking procedures … there’s not a whole lot of time for nervousness.”

The Crew-2 team has around 100 experiments in the diary during their six-month mission.

These include research into what are known as “tissue chips” — small models of human organs that are made up of different types of cells and used to study things like aging in the immune system, kidney function and muscle loss.

Another important element of the mission is upgrading the station’s solar power system by installing new compact panels that roll open like a huge yoga mat.

After launch, the Falcon 9 rocket will return to Earth for an upright vertical landing on a drone ship, and the Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 5:10 a.m. (0910 GMT) Saturday, with hatch opening two hours later.

Pesquet and Hoshide have said they plan to liven things up by sharing their national cuisine with crewmates.

The Frenchman’s last meal prior to launch: roast chicken and mashed potatoes, a cheese and baguette platter, and ice cream for dessert. 

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4015160 Voice of America – English


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Voice of America – English: International Edition


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Voice of America – English: Amnesty International: Virus-Hit Indonesia Ordering Executions Over Video Apps


Indonesia has sentenced scores of prisoners to death over Zoom and other video apps during the pandemic in what critics say is an “inhumane” insult to those facing the firing squad.

The Southeast Asian nation turned to virtual court hearings as COVID-19 restrictions shut down most in-person trials, including murder and drug trafficking cases, which can carry the death penalty.

Since early last year, almost 100 inmates have been condemned to die in Indonesia by judges they could only see on a television monitor, according to Amnesty International.

The Muslim-majority nation has some of the world’s toughest drug laws and both Indonesian and foreign traffickers have been executed, including the masterminds of Australia’s Bali Nine heroin gang.

This month, 13 members of a trafficking ring, including three Iranians and a Pakistani, learned via video that they would be shot for smuggling 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of methamphetamine into Indonesia.

And on Wednesday a Jakarta court sentenced six Islamist militants to death using a video app over their role in a 2018 prison riot that left five members of Indonesia’s counter-terror squad dead.

“Virtual hearings degrade the rights of defendants facing death sentences — it’s about someone’s life and death,” said Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid.

“The death penalty has always been a cruel punishment. But this online trend adds to the injustice and inhumanity,” he added.

Indonesia has pressed on with the virtual hearings even as the number of executions and death sentences dropped globally last year, with COVID-19 disrupting many criminal proceedings, Amnesty said in its annual capital punishment report this week. 

Virtual hearings leave defendants unable to fully participate in cases that are sometimes interrupted in countries with poor internet connections, including Indonesia, critics say.

“Virtual platforms … can expose the defendant to significant violations of their fair trial rights and impinge on the quality of the defense,” NGO Harm Reduction International said in a recent report on the death penalty for drug offenses.

Lawyers have complained about being unable to consult with clients due to virus restrictions.

And families of the accused have sometimes been barred from accessing hearings that would normally be open to the public.

“These virtual hearings present a clear disadvantage for defendants,” said Indonesian lawyer Dedi Setiadi.

Setiadi, who defended several men sentenced to die in the methamphetamine case this month, said he would appeal their case on the grounds that virtual hearings were unfair.

Relatives of the defendants were not given full access, the lawyer said.

Death penalty cases are often reduced to long jail terms in Indonesia and an in-person trial might have brought about a less severe verdict, according to Setiadi, who described his clients as low-level players in the smuggling ring.

“The verdict could have been different if the judges had talked directly with the defendants and seen their expressions,” he said. “A Zoom hearing is less personal.”

Indonesia’s supreme court, which ordered online hearings during the pandemic, did not reply to requests for comment.

But the country’s judicial commission told AFP that it has asked the top court to consider returning to in-person trials for serious offenses, including capital cases.

Indonesia appears to be an outlier in holding virtual trials for death penalty cases, although reliable data can be hard to come by in some nations that impose executions.

Neighboring Singapore, which executes convicted murderers and drug traffickers, has sentenced at least one person to hang via video since the global health crisis began.

There are nearly 500 people, including scores of foreigners, awaiting execution in Indonesia, where condemned prisoners are marched to a jungle clearing, tied to a stake and shot.

Indonesia has not carried out executions for several years. But its courts have continued to sentence defendants to death on the back of strong public backing for the ultimate punishment – support that may have been bolstered by the pandemic.

“Advocates think that these criminals are continuing to commit crimes even during a time of crisis when everyone is suffering,” Amnesty’s Hamid said. “So they must be given the heaviest sentence possible.”

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4015160 Voice of America – English


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Voice of America – English: Daybreak Africa


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Настоящее Время: “Свободные петербуржцы для властей как кость в горле”. Депутат Максим Резник – о протестах и угрозах в свой адрес


1917 человек были задержаны всей России на акциях в поддержку голодающего в колонии политика Алексея Навального. Такие данные приводит “ОВД-Инфо”. Больше всего задержанных – 824 – в Санкт-Петербурге, где силовики применяли дубинки и электрошокеры. Многих граждан продолжали избивать в отделах полиции

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6697193 Настоящее Время


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Voice of America – English: VOA Newscasts (2 Minute)


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Voice of America – English: VOA Newscasts


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Главные новости – Google Новости: Россия предложила США обмен гарантиями невмешательства в дела друг друга – РИА НОВОСТИ


Россия предложила США обмен гарантиями невмешательства в дела друг друга  РИА НОВОСТИПосмотреть в приложении “Google Новости”

2644423 Главные новости – Google Новости


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Главные новости – Google Новости: Медведев заявил о возвращении эпохи холодной войны между Россией и США – РБК


  1. Медведев заявил о возвращении эпохи холодной войны между Россией и США  РБК
  2. Медведев заявил о возвращении к холодной войне между США и Россией  Lenta.ru
  3. Медведев: отношения России и США вернулись в эпоху холодной войны – Новости – Мир – Коммерсантъ  Коммерсантъ
  4. Медведев прокомментировал напряженность в отношениях РФ и США  Известия
  5. Медведев заявил о возвращении в эпоху холодной войны в отношениях с США  RT на русском
  6. Посмотреть в приложении “Google Новости”

2644423 Главные новости – Google Новости


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Voice of America – English: Sen. Tim Scott to Deliver Republicans’ Rebuttal to Biden Address


Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina will deliver the Republicans’ rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress next week.

Scott, who is the only Black Republican in the Senate, will serve as the face of the party after Biden addresses the nation Wednesday. Considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, Scott is a leading Republican voice on race and criminal justice reform and is popular with the pro-Donald Trump and moderate wings of the party.

The selection underscores the party’s efforts to unite and expand its appeal after a bruising 2020 cycle that saw them lose the White House and both chambers of Congress.

“Senator Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican Conference, he is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement announcing the selection. “As Senator Scott likes to say, he is living his mother’s American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most.”

Biden is set to address lawmakers just before he marks his 100th day in office. The speech — much like a State of the Union address, which presidents don’t deliver until their second year in office — will give Biden the opportunity to update the American public on his progress and make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled earlier this month.

In a statement, Scott said he was honored by the selection and looked forward to having “an honest conversation with the American people.”

“We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America,” he said.

Scott, a senator since 2013 and a former congressman whose grandfather picked cotton as a child, was initially reluctant to focus on race in his political career. But he has increasingly talked about his experiences living as a Black man in America amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and police tactics.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, he talked in emotional terms about how often he had been pulled over by law enforcement, including for failing to signal early enough for a lane change — or, as he called it, stopped for “driving while Black.”

“I’m thinking to myself how blessed and lucky I am to have 18 different encounters and to have walked away from each encounter,” he said.

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4015160 Voice of America – English