Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

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Competitors approach a target during the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria on Monday, August 20. (Reuters)
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Rene Erni of Switzerland drops a marker during the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria on Monday, August 20. (Reuters)
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Competitors take part in the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria on Monday, August 20. (Reuters)
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Competitors take part in the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria on Monday, August 20. (Reuters)
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Judges watch competitors approach a target during the FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship near Gross-Siegharts, Austria on Monday, August 20. (Reuters)
Updated 20 August 2018
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Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

  • Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event
  • Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision

GROSS-SIEGHARTS, Austria: The northern Austrian sky was filled with colorful hot air balloons early on Monday morning as the sport’s world championship sailed into view.
Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event, which is being held in Gross-Siegharts near the Czech border.
Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision, according to the World Air Sports Federation that oversees the sport.
Each flight is scheduled for 5am (0300 GMT) and 5pm when light winds usually allow for safer take off and landings. The event runs until Friday.


Personality on the morning commute: Australia’s emoji license plates

Updated 21 February 2019
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Personality on the morning commute: Australia’s emoji license plates

  • Queensland's largest automotive organization and some residents welcomed the digital addition
  • But some think it is costly and could attract unwanted attention
BRISBANE, Australia: Motorists in northeastern Australia can soon have their personality permanently stamped on their vehicles with the option of an emoji added to their license plates.
It will be positive vibes only on the morning commute after a Queensland firm announced that from March drivers can add the smiling, winking, laughing out loud, heart-eyed and sunglasses emoji to their plates.
The state’s largest automotive organization has welcomed the digital addition.
“For quite some time we’ve seen you can support your favorite team or town with a symbol on your number plate and using an emoji is no different,” Royal Automobile Club of Queensland spokesperson Rebecca Michaels told AFP.
Queensland resident Laura McKee has already put her order in for the new look plates.
“It’s a bit of fun, if this brightens up someone’s day while their stuck in traffic, then so be it,” she told AFP.
With a cost of between Aus$100 ($70) and $500 per plate, Queensland local Aroha Liebhart isn’t a fan, and thinks the emojis could attract unwanted attention.
“The cost pushes them out of reach for so many people, no one I know will be purchasing them when they’re so expensive,” she told AFP.
“I live in a high crime area, I do believe this will entice people to target the cars who do have them.”
But resident Mark Edwards wants to see more options for drivers, to better express a driver’s changing moods.
“They should be interchangeable so when you’re tired you can warn drivers, or when you’re a little angry you can swap them over,” he told AFP.