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Nasa ’Earthrise’ astronaut dies at 90 in plane crash

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Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who snapped one of the most famous photographs taken in outer space, has died at the age of 90.

Officials say a small plane he was flying crashed into the water north of Seattle, Washington.

Anders’ son Greg confirmed that his father was flying the small plane, and that his body was recovered on Friday afternoon.
“The family is devastated. He was a great pilot. He will be missed,” a statement from the family reads.

Anders – who was a lunar module pilot on the Apollo 8 mission – took the iconic Earthrise photograph, one of the most memorable and inspirational images of Earth from space.

Taken on Christmas Eve during the 1968 mission, the first crewed space flight to leave Earth and reach the Moon, the picture shows the planet rising above the horizon from the barren lunar surface.

Anders later described it as his most significant contribution to the space programme.

The image is widely credited with motivating the global environmental movement and leading to the creation of Earth Day, an annual event to promote activism and awareness of caring for the planet.

Speaking of the moment, Anders said: “We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing that we discovered was the Earth.”

Officials said on Friday that Anders crashed his plane around 11:40PDT (1940BST).

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the 90-year-old was flying a Beechcraft A A 45 – also known as a T-34. The agency said that the plane crashed about 80ft (25m) from the coast of Jones Island.

Witness Philip Person told King-TV in Seattle that he saw the crash.

The plane began doing what appeared to be a loop and became inverted, he told the network.

“I could not believe what I was seeing in front of my eyes,” Person told the local news station. “It looked like something right out of a movie or special effects. With the large explosion and flames and everything.”

Footage that allegedly captured the plane crash appears to show an effort to pull up at the last second, before its the surface of the water and becomes a fiery wreck.

Anders also served as the backup pilot to the Apollo 11 mission, the name of the effort that led to the first Moon landing on July 24, 1969.

Following Anders’ retirement from the space programme in 1969, the former astronaut largely worked in the aerospace industry for several decades. He also served as US Ambassador to Norway for a year in the 1970s.

But he is best remembered for the Apollo 8 mission and the iconic photograph he took from space.

“In 1968, during Apollo 8, Bill Anders offered to humanity among the deepest of gifts an astronaut can give. He traveled to the threshold of the Moon and helped all of us see something else: ourselves,” Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who now serves as a US Senator for the state of Arizona, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that Anders “inspired me and generations of astronauts and explorers. My thoughts are with his family and friends”.

(BBC)

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Fresh protest in Jaffna over poaching by Indian fishermen

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Associations representing fishermen in the north today  staged a protest in front of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna demanding to stop the Indian trawler that were trespassing in the Sri Lankan waters.

They also met the Indian Consul General Sai Murali and handed over a letter.

The move came as the  government was planning to  take up the issue of poaching with the visiting Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishnakar  who is due on June 20 in Colombo.

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi on June 9 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the matter was also raised in a separate meeting with Minister Dr Jaishnakar as well.

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda earlier told the Sunday Times that the government will take up the matter with the visiting Indian Foreign Minister this week as the government is consistent with its policy of preventing Indian fishermen from robbing billions worth of fisheries resources from the Northern Sea.

“As a nation, we have to protect our resources, interests and the livelihood of our fisherfolks. I hope to raise the issue in the next Cabinet meeting (June 19) as well,” Minister Devananda said.

Days before the annual breeding ban was lifted, a group of fishermen’s unions based in North handed over a petition on Tuesday to officials at the Indian Consulate General office in Jaffna requesting them to make immediate steps to prevent Indian fishermen coming into Sri Lankan waters at the expense of their livelihood.

The fishermen unions which formed a collective outfit as Northen Fishermen’s Allaince requested President Wickremesinghe in a petition urged authorities to “expedite their maximum efforts to monitoring and preventing the daily incursion of thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings,”

The two-month-long ban came into effect from April 14 onwards and was lifted on Friday is enforced to facilitate the breeding of fish banks in the ocean and maintain the equilibrium of marine sources for sustainability.

Currently, Indian fishermen who engage in fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters are arrested by the Navy and Coast Guard and subjected to legal action after their trawlers are seized.

Following the legal action in which the Magistrate courts hand in a suspended sentence of eighteen months for engaging in fishing without a license, fishermen are released and repatriated through the assistance of Indian diplomatic missions.

(sundaytimes.lk)

(This story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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President tells Minister Wijeyadasa to quit?

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The Senior Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa has claimed that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has pressured Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, to resign from the government.

He alleged that Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe revealed this during a politburo meeting.

However, ‘Ada Derana’ reports that upon contacting Minister Rajapakshe, he said that the statement made by Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa is untrue.  

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 Railways TU action called off

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The Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) has decided to call off their planned trade union action as their demands are being reviewed by the Public Service Commission. 

The Commission is expected to announce its decision by Thursday (20). Meanwhile, train operations are continuing as usual today, according to the SLRSMU.

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