Payerne, Switzerland – A Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft made a successful inaugural flight Monday as its makers prepare for what they hope will be the first round-the-world solar flight.
The Solar Impulse 2 team said the aircraft spent 2 hours and 17 minutes in the air above western Switzerland early Monday. They plan several other flights over the coming months.
The Solar Impulse 2 is a bigger and better version of a single-seat prototype that first took flight five years ago. The plane soaks up energy from the sun through some 17,200 solar cells that cover its massive wings, which span 236 feet.
Palestinian government gets interim Cabinet
Jerusalem – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a unity government Monday, moving to carry out a reconciliation pact between his Fatah faction and the militant Islamist group Hamas that has raised tensions with Israel.
The United States said it would work with the new Palestinian government and continue providing it with financial aid, because the interim Cabinet is composed of technocrats that do not include ministers affiliated with Hamas.
Although members of the new Cabinet, endorsed by Fatah and Hamas, were billed as independent professionals unaffiliated with either faction, Israel reiterated Monday that it would not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and has targeted it with suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
Chinese police detain government critics
Beijing – Beijing put additional police on the street and detained government critics today as part of a security crackdown on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the crushing of pro-democracy protests centered on the capital’s Tiananmen Square.
Police manned checkpoints and officers and paramilitary troops patrolled over pedestrian overpasses and streets surrounding the square in the city center.
The increased security comes on top of heightened restrictions on political activists, artists, lawyers and other government critics. Dozens have been taken into detention, forced out of Beijing or confined to their homes in other parts of the country.
China allows no discussion of the events of June 3-4, 1989, when soldiers accompanied by tanks and armored personnel carriers fought their way into the heart of the city, killing hundreds of protesting citizens and onlookers.