ISS astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

German ISS astronaut Alexander Gerst is seen on a video screen during a concert of the electric band 'Kraftwerk' at the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, southern Germany on July 20, 2018. (AFP/Reiner PFISTERER)
Updated 21 July 2018
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ISS astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

  • Video posted Saturday by the European Space Agency shows German astronaut Alexander Gerst “dropping in” for a live performance
  • Using a tablet computer with a virtual synthesizer, Gerst played a duet of Kraftwerk’s 1978 song “Spacelab”

BERLIN: Kraftwerk fans are used to hearing otherworldly tunes, but the German electronic music pioneers took it to another level at a gig in Stuttgart.
Video posted Saturday by the European Space Agency shows German astronaut Alexander Gerst “dropping in” for a live performance from the International Space Station.
Using a tablet computer with a virtual synthesizer, Gerst played a duet of Kraftwerk’s 1978 song “Spacelab” with the band Friday night to cheers from the audience.

He’s not the first space musician. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and played a duet with the Barenaked Ladies while 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the Earth in 2013.
American astronaut Ron McNair planned to play saxophone from orbit with Jean Michel Jarre in 1986 but died in the Challenger tragedy.


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.