World’s richest man Jeff Bezos and his crewmates returned to the Earth surface safely after rocketing into space Tuesday aboard his Blue Origin spacecraft.
The crew launched from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility in West Texas at 9 a.m. ET and were in flight for 11 minutes.
Bezos’ trip comes nine days after Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson flew to about 85 kilometres in the air aboard a rocket ship he helped fund.
Joining Bezos, age 57, was Oliver Daemen, the 18-year-old son of a Dutch auction bidder, who is the youngest person to ever go to space.
The launch also featured the oldest person to go to space, 82-year-old Wally Funk.
The fourth person on board was Mark Bezos, Jeff’s brother.
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COVID-19 Third Wave: Biden Reveals Plan To Impose Fresh Restrictions
US President Joe Biden said “in all probability” new guidelines or restrictions would be imposed in the United States in response to a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
Asked if Americans should expect new recommendations from health authorities or new restrictive measures, the president responded, “in all probability,” before leaving the White House by helicopter for the weekend.
He did not specify what steps could be taken.
US federal authorities, local officials and businesses have boosted health protocols in recent days in the face of surging cases spurred by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Biden added, however, that the country had had “a good day” on Thursday in terms of vaccinations.
“Almost a million people got vaccinated,” he said, as his administration works to revive a sluggish inoculation campaign.
“I am hopeful people are beginning to realize how essential it is.”
US health authorities this week recommended that even vaccinated Americans again wear masks indoors in areas with high infection rates.
The federal government has also tightened health regulations for its millions of employees, who must now either be vaccinated or wear masks and be tested regularly, even in areas with low case numbers.
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US Maintains Entry Restrictions Due To Rising Delta COVID-19 Cases
The United States said Monday it would maintain restrictions on international travel into the country, sidestepping European pressure, as cases rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and abroad,” she said.
She said the trend of rising cases appeared likely to continue “in the weeks ahead,” although she repeated that it mostly affected unvaccinated people.
The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.
The European Union in June opened up to travelers from the United States, typically requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy that feared another troubled year.
EU leaders have asked the United States to show reciprocity and President Joe Biden on July 15 said he would have an answer on the issue “within the next several days” after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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Pope Hopes Olympic Games Will Be ‘Sign Of Hope’ In Pandemic
Pope Francis said Sunday he hopes the Tokyo Olympics, which opened Friday, will be a sign of hope and “universal brotherhood” during the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world.
“In this period of pandemic, let these games be a sign of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood and of a healthy competitive spirit,” the pontiff said at the end of the Angelus prayer.
“May God bless the organizers, the athletes and all those who are collaborating for this great celebration of sport,” he told faithful gathered on Saint Peter’s Square.
The Games opened officially on Friday in a nearly empty stadium after being postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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