Pope: Moon landing inspires progress on justice

US Vice President Mike Pence with astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the Kennedy Space Center. (AP)
Updated 22 July 2019

Pope: Moon landing inspires progress on justice

  • Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis hopes that the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk inspires efforts to help our “common home” on Earth.
Francis told the public in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the day after the anniversary of the July 20, 1969, lunar landing, that the feat achieved an “extraordinary dream.”
He expressed hope that the memory of “that great step for humanity” would spark the desire for progress on other fronts: “More dignity for the weak, more justice among people, more future for our common home.”
The pope’s remarks came as US Vice President Mike Pence marked the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first moon landing at the Apollo 11 launch site.
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin accompanied Pence to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in the US and showed him the pad where he began that momentous journey 50 years ago. Aldrin later got a standing ovation during a speech by Pence.
Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago. Command module pilot Michael Collins did not attend the Florida celebration.
Pence says Apollo 11 is the only event of the 20th century that “stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century.”
The vice president reiterated the Trump administration’s push to put Americans back on the moon by 2024.

BACKGROUND

Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago. Command module pilot Michael Collins did not attend the Florida celebration.

India is bidding to become just the fourth nation — after Russia, the US and China — to land a spacecraft on the moon.
India will make a second attempt on Monday to send a landmark spacecraft to the moon after an apparent fuel leak forced last week’s launch to be aborted.
The fresh launch attempt for Chandrayaan-2 — Moon Chariot 2 in some Indian languages including Sanskrit and Hindi — has been scheduled for 2:43 p.m. (0913 GMT) on Monday, the Indian Space Research Organization said.
“Chandrayaan 2 is ready to take a billion dreams to the Moon — now stronger than ever before!” it said on Thursday.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MkIII, India’s most powerful rocket.
Experts said setbacks were to be expected in such missions given their complexity, and that it was more prudent to delay the launch instead of taking risks that may jeopardize the project.


Hong Kong endures more transit disruptions, campus violence

Updated 39 min 24 sec ago

Hong Kong endures more transit disruptions, campus violence

  • Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes
HONG KONG: Hong Kong residents endured a fourth day of traffic snarls and mass transit disruptions Thursday as protesters closed some main roads and rail networks while police skirmished with militant students at major universities.

Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. None of the officers were injured, and six arrows were seized at the scene, police said.

Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes.

The government appealed for employers to show flexibility. “For staff who cannot report for duty on time on account of conditions in road traffic or public transport services, employers should give due consideration to the circumstances,” a statement said.

The Education Bureau extended the suspension of classes for kindergarten to high school students until Monday. It ordered schools to remain open, though, to handle children whose parents need to send them to school.

At Polytechnic University, protesters shot an arrow at officers patrolling nearby, then threw flower pots from a height when other officers arrived. Police responded with tear gas, and protesters fired more arrows.

Protesters have hurled gasoline bombs and thrown objects off bridges onto roads below during clashes at campuses this week. The Chinese University of Hong Kong suspended classes for the rest of the year, and others asked students to switch to online learning.

Students at Chinese University, site of some of the fiercest clashes where students hurled more than 400 firebombs at police on Tuesday, have barricaded themselves in the suburban campus.

Early Thursday they used chainsaws to drop trees onto streets around the campus and prepared for a possible confrontation with police, which were not intervening.

Anti-government protests have riven Hong Kong, and divided its people, for more than five months.

A major rail line connecting Kowloon to mainland China was closed for a second day and five major underground stations were shut along with seven light rail routes, the Transport Department announced.

“Road-based transport services have been seriously affected this morning due to continued road blockages and damage to road facilities. In view of safety concerns and uncertain road conditions, buses can only provide limited services,” the department said.
Traffic was also disrupted because protesters have destroyed at least 240 traffic lights around the city.

The movement began in June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Activists saw it as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a “one nation, two systems” principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.