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Chinese space startup revs up for reusable rocket race
10 August 2019, 7:58 PM

Chinese startup LinkSpace on Saturday completed its third test of a reusable rocket in five months, stepping up the pace in China’s race to develop a technology key to cheap space launches in an expected global boom in satellite deployment.

LinkSpace’s RLV-T5 rocket blasted off in a desert in western Qinghai province at 0230 GMT. It flew as high as 300 meters (984 feet) before returning to the launchpad on its own after 50 seconds, CEO Hu Zhenyu, 26, told Reuters.

The Beijing-based company aims to launch its next-generation RLV-T16 next year that will be capable of reaching an altitude of up to 150 kilometers, Hu said.

The RLV-T5 previously hovered 20 meters and 40 meters above the ground in two tests in March and April respectively.

China envisions constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft and rural areas to tracking coal shipments and commuter traffic.
Reliable, low-cost and frequent launches will be key, with recoverable or partially recoverable rockets like the Falcon 9 from Elon Musk’s SpaceX one pathway to eventually affordable satellite deployment missions.

SpaceX has already used recoverable rockets on a number of orbital missions since a historic launch early in 2017, spurring Europe, Russia, Japan and China to speed up their own research into the technology or at least consider studying it.

LinkSpace’s test flight on Saturday came on the heels of a historic delivery of a satellite into orbit last month by privately owned Chinese firm iSpace.

Beijing-based iSpace told Reuters last week that it was also planning to launch a recoverable rocket, in 2021.

Texas shooting suspect told police he targeted ‘Mexicans’
10 August 2019, 7:42 PM

The suspected gunman accused of killing 22 people in a shooting rampage at Walmart in El Paso, Texas last weekend confessed while surrendering and told police he was targeting “Mexicans,” according to an El Paso police affidavit released on Friday .

The suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, came out of his vehicle, stopped at an intersection, “and stated out loud ‘I’m the shooter’”, Detective Adrian Garcia said in the affidavit on Sunday, a day after the shooting.

Crusius has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond.

The affidavit said Crusius waived his right to remain silent after he was taken into custody and told detectives he entered the Walmart with an AK47 and multiple magazines.

“The defendant stated his target (was) Mexicans,” the affidavit said.

Crusius is accused of shooting and killing 22 people and wounding two dozen more on Saturday, shortly after a manifesto appeared online explaining his motivation and decrying a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States.

Cyndi Lauper settles copyright lawsuit over ‘Kinky Boots’ finale
10 August 2019, 7:34 PM

Cyndi Lauper has settled a lawsuit by songwriter Benny Mardones that accused her of lifting elements of his song “Into the Night” for the finale of her 2013 Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots,” according to a court filing.

In a letter filed on Friday night with the US District Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for Mardones and his writing partner Robert Tepper said the parties have agreed in principle to settle the case.

They asked US District Judge Victor Marrero for 30 days to complete a final settlement.

Stephen Doniger, a lawyer for Mardones and Tepper, declined to comment. Lawyers for Lauper did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mardones and Tepper had accused Lauper of lifting the “pick you up” theme from “Into the Night,” a Billboard Top 20 song for Mardones in 1980 and in 1989 when it was re-released, for “Raise You Up,” the finale to “Kinky Boots.” They also claimed that the songs’ lyrics and music were substantially similar.

Lauper in court papers has denied any copyright infringement.

“Kinky Boots,” with a score by Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, won six Tony awards, including Best Musical. It ended its Broadway run in April after 2,507 regular performances.

ANC in KZN refutes claims of plotting against Gumede
7 August 2019, 11:45 AM

The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has refuted allegations by supporters of eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede that the party is plotting to remove her from her position.

Gumede is on leave following her arrest in connection with a R208 million Durban solid waste tender.

The party decided to extend Gumede’s leave of absence as well as that of Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba who is facing a murder charge.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu says the party is protecting its credibility.

“We distance ourselves from those allegations. If there are such allegations they need to be proven. We are not only faced with Zandile’s case. And the PEC of the ANC didn’t discuss the Gumede issue.”

“It discussed a number of cases and of course agreed that indeed on Sunday we need to finalise all the cases including the comrade Zandile issue. We are not obsessed with Zandile. But we are dealing with the issues because we are a leader of society. And our credibility in the society is important.”

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Peter Moyo
Moyo still not allowed to resume his duties as Old Mutual CEO
7 August 2019, 11:39 AM

Peter Moyo has not been allowed to resume his duties as Old Mutual CEO after the company applied for leave to appeal last week’s court ruling.

The High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the axed CEO be reinstated with immediate effect.

The judgment was made after Moyo was fired in May over an alleged conflict of interest involving investment company NMT Capital.

Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe says they are hoping that another court will rule differently.

“He did win the court order but then Old Mutual applied for leave to appeal. We are of the view that a different court will find in a different manner, because we believe we have supplied enough evidence to show why the Board lost confidence in Moyo and trust in him as CEO.”

“The root cause of it was based on a conflicting interest that arose on how he managed the difference of interest between NMT Capital and Old Mutual as a preference shareholder in NMT.”

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