News roundup: teatime
NASA TODAY ANNOUNCED that several high-profile project cancellations will be scrapped for budgetary reasons. The planned cancellations, including abandonments of the Mars Express progam and probes to Uranus and Titan, are reported to be "under-funded" by NASA insiders, who expressed their disappointment that the projects will now go ahead as unplanned.
"This is precisely the type of U-turn we're all too used to seeing under the Bush administration," commented one analyst. It is thought that over 2000 of the world's foremost cutback specialists will be made redundant, leading some to speculate that the United States will fall ahead in the space race once more. Last year NASA failed to scrap over 30 projects, up 45% from 2005.
However, industry commentators described as a "ray of hope" rumours that top Russian bureaucrats may be imported to bring the programs back over budget and behind schedule.
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NORTH KOREAN STATE television stations have launched a major initiative to rid the country of "Western-style moral weaknesses", focussing primarily on television. Round-the-clock broadcasts urge viewers to report those seen watching the broadcasts to the authorities. Those found or in the vicinity of radio waves are liable for a large fine, in addition to further penalties for the new offence of being fined by the state. As part of the initiative, the director of North Korea's main television station has personally funded a smear campaign against himself.
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THE ASSOCIATION OF Dyslexic Global Warming Activists (AWDGA) yesterday reported slow progress in its efforts to force Iraq to lower its carbomb emissions.
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A COALITION OF Japanese and Norwegian scientists have admitted their "bafflement" at the decline of several types of Pacific whale. Species at risk include the Okinawan Tasty Whale and the Greater Beached Whale. "Time is running out," said a spokescap'n at a press conference this morning. "We have caught almost every one of these whales known to exist to research their disappearance, and yet we are no closer to an answer. Our figures indicate there may be only five whales left, and we hope that these will provide vital clues to their diminishing numbers."
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NOW SPORT, and rain stopped play in the Cricket World Cup semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand; the rain will now go on to play Australia in the final. In Formula One, Benetton have signed the space previously occupied by Michael Schumacher on a record contract, while the World Indoor Athletics Championship 100m was won for the first time by an anabolic steroid running without the aid of an athlete. And lastly, the London Marathon has been won by Fatley Dunbar, who put his victory down to "almost having finished last year's marathon by the time this one started", although he also acknowledged the important role played by his coach, in which he drove large portions of the course.
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