Astronomer Moore dies
Astronomer and broadcaster Patrick Moore died on Sunday, friends and colleagues said. He was 89. He died at his home in Selsey, southern England, a statement on Sunday read. No specific cause of death was given, but he had heart problems and been confined to a wheelchair. Moore was well known for his long-running BBC television show The Sky at Night, which was credited for popularizing astronomy with generations of Britons. In its obituary, the Daily Telegraph reported that Moore believed he was the only person to have met the first man to fly, Orville Wright, the first man in space, Russian Yuri Gagarin, and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
Cosmodrome lease may end
Space agency Kazcosmos head Talgat Musabayev yesterday said that Russia’s lease of a launch facility, the only site worldwide currently being used to get astronauts to the International Space Station, may be suspended. Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency cited Musabayev as telling parliament that proposals are being considered to bring the Baikonur facility under Kazakh jurisdiction. Russia pays US$115 million annually for use of the Soviet-built Baikonur cosmodrome under an arrangement set to expire in 2050. It spends US$160 million per year operating the facility. It is likely that Russia will continue to use Baikonur, since its own in-country launch facilities remain underdeveloped, but the absence of a lease may create an air of uncertainty over how the facility will be administered in future.
>Psy performs for Obamas
This year’s “Christmas in Washington” concert attended by President Barack Obama and his family included some non-traditional entertainment: a performance by South Korean rapper and Internet sensation PSY. Wearing an all-red outfit, including a sparkling, sequined top, PSY was joined by dancers wearing reindeer antlers as he performed his popular Gangnam Style dance. Other performers included Diana Ross and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. The concert benefits Children’s National Medical Center.
Center-left wins: official
Partial results show that the center-left government overwhelmingly won parliamentary elections, an outcome that could bring more upheaval because of a feud between the president and the prime minister. Election official Marian Muhulet yesterday said that the center-left alliance led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta won about 59 percent of the seats in the 452-seat legislature, followed by a center-right group allied to President Traian Basescu that polled just below 17 percent. About 81.45 percent of the votes have been counted.