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Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space in historic flight

Virgin Galactic reaches edge of space in historic flight

Science
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Virgin Galactic made history Thursday by flying to the edge of Earth's atmosphere, taking its boldest step yet in space tourism. The company's rocket-powered VSS Unity took off from its Mojave Air & Space Port early Thursday. Its SpaceShipTwo separated from the WhiteKnightTwo twin-fuselage carrier aircraft and reached a maximum altitude of 51.4 miles before returning to Earth. NASA recognizes the 50-mile mark as the edge of space. The test flight marked a major bounce back for Virgin Galactic, which saw pilot Michael Alsbury die and fellow pilot Peter Siebold injured four years ago when the VSS Enterprise broke apart in a failed test flight that put the entire project in jeopardy. "Incremental flight test programs are by definition open-ended and, to a great extent, each...
California wildfires: Death toll reaches grim milestone

California wildfires: Death toll reaches grim milestone

World
The death toll in wildfires sweeping California has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still unaccounted for, officials have said.Six more people were confirmed killed in the Camp Fire in the north of the state, taking the toll there to 29.That fire now equals the deadliest on record in California - the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles.In the south, the Woolsey Fire has claimed two lives as it damaged beach resorts including Malibu.An estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.With strengthening winds threatening to spread the flames, California Governor Jerry Brown has urged President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster, a move that would harness more...
Elon Musk's Tesla reaches farthest point from sun

Elon Musk's Tesla reaches farthest point from sun

Technology
SpaceX billed Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster as on "an endless road trip past Mars" when it launched in February. However, the car and its pilot have now reached their farthest point from the sun before swinging back into orbit.The Roadster has reached its first apogee from the sun according to the Where is Roadster? website, run by Ben Pearson, and as reported by technology news site Ars Technica.While the Cape Canaveral launch of Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy - the most powerful in the world - was a big success, the red sports car overshot its touted mark for Mars.Its orbit will bring it close to Mars - and to Earth - in two years' time, with it being at its closest to Earth at 51.7m km (32m miles) on 6 November 2020. Rather than entering Mars' orbit, the Tesla looks to be on a ...
Cigarette smoking in U.S. reaches all-time low

Cigarette smoking in U.S. reaches all-time low

Health
Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low among U.S. adults -- 14 percent -- according to new data released by the U.S. government. Experts and researchers say the new data is proof that efforts to decrease the rates of smoking in the United States have been successful, but they say there is still much more work to be done. An estimated 34 million adults in the United States smoked cigarettes either every day or some days in 2017, which is down from 15.5 percent of adults in 2016 and 67 percent fewer since 1965, according to data released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute. The most dramatic cigarette usage decline was among adults aged 18 to 24 years -- 10.4 ...
Hamleys reaches endgame under Chinese owner

Hamleys reaches endgame under Chinese owner

Business
The Chinese owner of Hamleys, the world's most famous toy retailer,‎ has begun exploring a sale of the company just days after reporting multimillion-pound losses. Sky News has learnt that C.banner International, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has launched a strategic review of Hamleys, which it bought three years ago.The review, which was prompted by several expressions of interest in a takeover from unnamed parties, is at a preliminary stage and might not lead to a formal sale process, according to a City source.News of C.banner's‎ decision to explore options for Hamleys throws the future ownership of the toy retailing giant into doubt just before its crucial Christmas trading period gets under way.Vermilion Partners, a corporate finance firm w...