UN resumes food aid
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it had resumed operations in two states in South Sudan halted after a wave of violence before secession in July. Southern authorities had given assurances that no food aid would be commandeered again, the UN agency said in a statement late on Thursday, after the southern Sudan army took a truck full of food destined for schools in Lakes state last month. A WFP employee was killed in Jonglei State last month, forcing the agency to suspend aid to seven of 11 counties in Jonglei, beset by violence between the army and rebels.
Princess’ hat on eBay
Whether you think it was wonderful or wacky, the flamboyant hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding last month could now be yours after she put it up for sale on Thursday on eBay. The princess, the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew, has put the Philip Treacy creation on the online auction site with a starting price of ￡5,000 (US$8,000). Proceeds from the sale will be split between two charities: the UN Children’s Fund and the British charity Children in Crisis. The 22-year-old princess is trying to cash in on the notoriety of her hat, with observers comparing it to a toilet seat or a giant pretzel. It has inspired its own Facebook page, which has a following of 137,000 people. One hour after the auction began at 4pm GMT, someone had already put in a bid for the full ￡5,000, but buyers still have 10 days to put in an offer.
Galliano trial date set
British designer John Galliano will go on trial in Paris on June 22 over alleged racial and anti-semitic insults during a drunken rant in a Paris bar in February that cost him his job at the fashion house Dior. He could face up to six months in prison and a fine of 22,500 euros (US$32,000) if convicted of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity.” Several French anti-racist associations have lodged civil complaints against the flamboyant star-couturier, as well as the people who claim he insulted them. Two cases will be judged at the same time and Galliano will appear in court.
Solar plane takes off
A solar-powered plane has taken off for its first international flight. The Solar Impulse team behind the project plans to fly the experimental aircraft to Belgium and France. The single-seater prototype took off from Payerne airfield at 8:40am yesterday and was expected to reach Brussels airport by nightfall. The plane with the wingspan of a Boeing 777 made its 2009 maiden flight in Switzerland and further tests have all taken place there. The flight across France, Luxembourg and Belgium poses a fresh challenge as it requires navigation across international air traffic networks.
Io has ‘ocean’ of magma
A moon of Jupiter is the only place other than Earth in the solar system where volcanoes occur, and scientists have found an ocean of magma beneath its surface that feed its potent eruptions. Io is the most volcanic object known in the solar system, producing 100 times more lava than Earth, and data from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft has shed new light on how that happens, said the study out yesterday in the journal Science. A vast ocean of molten rock, known as magma, lies about 30km to 50km under Io’s crust. “The blistering temperature of the magma ocean probably exceeds 1,200oC,” NASA said in a statement.