1. #5976
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    RAF's largest aircraft Voyager officially unveiled



    The RAF's largest aircraft has been officially unveiled and named Voyager ahead of its first public appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

    The dual role air-to-air tanker and transport plane has a 60-metre (197ft) wingspan and is nearly 60 metres long.

    It can carry almost 300 troops more than 6,000 miles and will replace the long-serving VC-10 and Tristar.

    At a naming ceremony at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, Defence Secretary Liam Fox called it "magnificent".

    He said: "This magnificent aircraft is the future for the RAF's air-to-air refuelling and passenger transport capability for the coming decades.

    "Voyager, together with the C-17, C-130J and the A400M transport aircraft, will provide the RAF with a truly world class fleet of aircraft, underpinning the global reach that is vital to our operations."

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    China calls on Obama to cancel Dalai Lama meeting



    China has complained about US President Barack Obama's scheduled meeting on Saturday with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

    China's foreign ministry urged Mr Obama to cancel the White House engagement, which is expected to last half an hour.

    The private discussion is intended to show Mr Obama's support for Tibet's identity, the White House said.

    Mr Obama's last meeting with the Dalai Lama in February 2010 drew strong condemnation from Beijing.

    A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on Saturday: "We firmly oppose any senior foreign government officials meeting with the Dalai Lama in any way."

    The White House did not immediately return a call seeking comment about Beijing's displeasure.

    But the White House said earlier in a statement announcing the meeting: "The president will highlight his enduring support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve differences."

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    Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to have chemotherapy in Cuba



    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is to return to Cuba to resume cancer treatment, including chemotherapy.

    He recently returned to Venezuela after spending nearly a month in Cuba, where he had a cancerous tumour removed.

    He has asked the National Assembly to authorise Saturday's trip, as the constitution requires.

    During his previous absence, opposition politicians questioned his ability to lead Venezuela from abroad, rather than temporarily handing over power.

    Mr Chavez said he would go to Cuba "to begin what we've called the second phase".

    Since his return home on 4 July, the 56-year-old president has cut his workload on doctor's orders.

    He has not given precise details of where the tumour was found, only that he was operated on in the pelvic region.

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    India's Tata group to launch 'world's cheapest homes'



    India's Tata group says it will launch cheap housing that can be built within a week for 500 euros, according to Indian media reports.

    A spokesman for Tata, which in 2009 launched the world's cheapest car, the Nano, said the pre-fabricated houses would help the rural poor buy a home.

    Prototypes are already being tested with a view to launch by next year, the PTI news agency said.

    Indian authorities say millions of homes are needed in rural areas.

    The company is in discussion with state governments, the agency said.

    "It is [a] quick house built in seven days if you have a patch of land. Basic model of 20 sq metres, with flat roof will cost around 500 euros (32,000 rupees; 440)," Sumitesh Das, Tata Steel's head of global research is quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

    The company is also creating plans for slightly larger and more expensive houses, with facilities such as solar panels, according to the Times of India newspaper.

    The company says it is in discussion with state governments and village councils, but plans are at an early stage and it is unclear if the supply chain for building materials for the houses are in place or if the relevant authorities will find the models suitable.

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    Who, what, why: Is North Dakota really a US state?



    North Dakota is amending its constitution because of a long-standing technical omission that some claim makes its statehood invalid. So does that mean it's really just a US territory and not a state at all?

    Every American child is taught there are 50 states in the US.

    But an 82-year-old care home resident in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is throwing the truth of that universally held statement into some doubt.

    While reading the state constitution, which is 40 years older than he is, John Rolczynski noticed it omitted to mention the executive branch when explaining which new officers need to take the oath supporting the US Constitution.

    This, he says, makes the state constitution invalid because it is in conflict with the federal constitution, which requires all officers of the three branches of state government - executive, judicial and legislative - be bound by the oath.

    The answer

    • For 120 years, North Dakota has not fulfilled a technical requirement laid down in Article Six of the US Constitution
    • But its statehood is secure under Article Four, says one legal expert

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    A man splashes around in mud during the 14th Annual Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon Beach on Friday, July 16, 2011 in Boryeong, South Korea. The mud, which is believed to have beneficial effects on the skin due to its mineral content, is sourced from mud flats near Boryeong and transported to the beach by truck.



    A visitor covers himself with mud during the 14th Boryeong Mud Festival on Daecheon beach in Boryeong City, South Korea, Friday, 16 July 2011.


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    Cairo, Egypt: Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Tahrir Square to press the country's military rulers for faster steps toward democracy



    Qingdao, China: A boy swims on an algae-clogged stretch of the coast

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    Barcelona, Spain: A model wears Manuel Bolano during fashion week



    Benghazi, Libya: A girl dressed like Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi poses for a photo

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    Sandwich, England: Ben Curtis tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of the open golf championship at Royal St George's



    Bregenz, Austria: The scenery for the opera Andre Chenier by Italian musician Umberto Giordano is seen on a giant floating stage at Lake Constance

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    The Open 2011: Day three

    The best images as spectators and players alike struggle in the driving rain on the third day









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    World aquatics championships: Day one

    All the best images from the opening ceremony in Shanghai and the start of the diving competition




    Chinese flag bearers surround the competition pool for the opening ceremony



    181 nations are competing in Shanghai, the last major event before the London Olympics next year

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    Away from the opening ceremony, Mexico's Arantxa Chavez and Laura Sanchez dive during the women's 3m synchro springboard final





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    Googie Withers dies in Australia aged 94



    Actress Googie Withers, best known for appearing in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes and TV's Within These Walls, has died in Australia aged 94.

    She was born Georgette Lizette Withers in what was then British India. She died at her home on Friday.

    She was the first non-Australian to be awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

    Her last role was in the Oscar-nominated 1996 Australian movie Shine.

    Withers's family moved back to Britain from India and she began acting at age 12.

    She had been given her nickname Googie by her Indian nanny.

    She was working as a dancer in a West End production in London when she was offered work in 1935 as a film extra in The Girl in the Crowd.

    Withers, who had three children, appeared in dozens of films in the 1930s and 40s.

    She played Blanche in 1938's The Lady Vanishes, opposite Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave.

    Later in her career she appeared in several television productions, including prison drama Within These Walls on ITV and the BBC's Hotel du Lac and Northanger Abbey.

    In 1958, Withers moved to Australia with her husband, Australian actor John McCallum - he helped create the classic television series, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

    The couple co-starred in 10 films, and they lived together in Sydney until McCallum died last year at the age of 91.

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    The unfolding drought crisis in Somalia.



    The brother of one of the 19 Mumbai bombing victims holds his picture



    Egyptian protesters back on the streets

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    IN SPACE - JULY 15: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), STS-135 crew consisting of NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim; the Expedition 28 crewmembers are JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov form a microgravity circle to pose for a portrait aboard the orbiting complex's Kibo laboratory of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on the International Space Station July 15, 2011 in space. Space shuttle Atlantis is on the last leg of a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it delivered the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This was the final mission of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.

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    A woman visits the Caylee Anthony memorial that has been placed in the wooded area where the 2-year-old child remains were found on in Orlando, Florida. Caylee's mother Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder charges on July 5 and is scheduled to be released from jail tomorrow.

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    Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with others in South Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, July 16. Huntsman rode with the group as part of a campaign stop in Utah.

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    Military personnel march down University Avenue during the San Diego gay pride parade July 16 in San Diego, California. About 200 active-duty troops and veterans from every branch of the military participated for the first time in the march as the ban on the government policy on homosexuals serving in armed forces, or "Don't ask Don't Tell", remains in flux in the justice system.

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    A portion of the closed 405 freeway is seen in Los Angeles, California July 16, 2011. A Los Angeles freeway shutdown dubbed "Carmageddon" that city leaders have warned about for weeks failed to slow morning traffic in the region on Saturday, but officials remained cautious.

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    Thomas Voeckler of France puts the overall leader's yellow jersey back on after removing an undergarment as he climbs in the pack towards Col de la Porte pass during the 14th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 104.7 miles starting in Saint Gaudens and finishing in Plateau de Beille, Pyrenees region, France, Saturday July 16, 2011.

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