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Azerbaijan sends AstraZeneca vaccine to Dushanbe via AZAL plane (PHOTO)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 20

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Another plane of the Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) with 40,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 on board landed at the Dushanbe International Airport in Tajikistan on July 20, Trend reports with reference to AZAL.


Some 40,000 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 were also supplied to Bosnia and Herzegovina to combat the spread of COVID-19 as humanitarian aid upon President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s instructions.

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All passengers survive after plane makes hard landing in Siberia

Flight from the town of Kedrovy to the regional capital of Tomsk was carrying between 13 and 17 passengers.

All 19 people on board a Russian Antonov An-28 passenger plane that vanished from radars in Siberia survived after the aircraft made a hard landing on Friday, the emergencies ministry said.

The aircraft – operated by SiLA, a small airline offering regional flights in Siberia – went missing while flying from the town of Kedrovy to the city of Tomsk.

However, the aircraft was located after helicopters were dispatched to search for it.

The ministry said all 19 people on board had survived and were now being evacuated from the site.

The incident comes less than two weeks after a similar aircraft, an Antonov An-26, crashed into a cliff in poor visibility conditions on the remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s far east, killing all 28 people on board.

An Antonov-28, the same type of plane that went missing over Tomsk, crashed in a Kamchatka forest in 2012, killing 10 people. Investigators said both pilots were drunk at the time of the crash.

Russian aviation safety standards have improved in recent years but accidents, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions, are not uncommon.

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Wildfires raging in the western United States, 2 Arizona firefighters were killed in a plane crash

Firefighters working in the hot weather struggled to control the Northern California wildfires that continued to spread on Sunday and forced a major highway to be temporarily closed. This was one of several fires in the western United States. Another heat wave broke records and strained the power grid.

In Arizona, on Saturday, two firefighters crashed an airplane that crashed while investigating a small wildfire in rural Mojave County. The Beech C-90 aircraft was helping to detect a lightning-induced fire in the Cedar Basin near the small community of Wikieup when it crashed around noon.

There are only two firefighters on board. Officials determined that one of them was Jeff Pichola, who was a retired fire chief in Tucson who worked for the US Forest Service. Before the relative was notified, the name of the other person was concealed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

In California, a fire in southern Oregon destroyed interstate power lines and prevented up to 5,500 megawatts of electricity from flowing south to the state. Officials demanded that all residents quickly reduce electricity consumption.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, said on Saturday that due to the soaring temperature in the area, the Bootleg fire caused three power transmission lines to be cut off, resulting in a shortage of power supply.

The National Weather Service in Medford, Oregon, said on Twitter on Sunday: “The piracy fire today will see the potential for extreme growth.”

On Saturday, the Sugar Fire swept through downtown Doyle, California, burning along telephone poles. (Noah Berger/Associated Press)

Driven by strong winds, the fire spread in the dense timber of Fremont-Vinema National Forest (near Sprague River Township, Klamath County) in Oregon, spreading to 580 square kilometers.

Unstable wind is a problem

In the southeast, California’s largest wildfire this year is raging near the border with Nevada. The Beckwourth Complex Fire-the fire caused by two flashes of lightning burning 72 kilometers north of Lake Tahoe-doubled in size between Friday and Saturday, there is no sign of spreading northeast from the forested area of ??the Sierra Nevada.

Later on Saturday, flames spread from U.S. Highway 395, which was closed near Doyle, a small town in Lassen County, California. The driveway reopened on Sunday, and officials urged motorists to proceed with caution and continue along the key north-south route where the fire is still active.

“Don’t stop to take pictures,” said Jack Kagle, head of California’s Incident Management Operations Department. “If you stop and see what happened, you will hinder our actions.”

On Wednesday, a wildfire burned on Oregon Highway 138 near Steamboat, Oregon. (Oregon Department of Transportation/Associated Press)

Cagle said that Doyle’s building was burned down, but he did not have an exact figure. Bob Prary, who manages the Buck-Inn bar in the town of approximately 600 people, said that after the outbreak on Saturday, he saw at least six houses destroyed. On Sunday, Doyle and the surrounding fires were smoldering, but he worried that some remote pastures were still in danger.

“It looks like the worst situation in the town has passed, but back on the mountainside, the fire is still strong. Not sure what will happen if the wind changes,” Prali said. Kagle pointed out that unstable wind is a concern for firefighters, and gusts are expected to reach 32 km/h.

The fire was controlled by only 9%, and the fire expanded to 339 square kilometers. The temperature in the area may again exceed 37 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

Temperatures in Death Valley are as high as 53 degrees Celsius

This is one of several fires threatening homes in the western states. As the high pressure zone covers the area, the high temperature is expected to reach triple digits throughout the weekend.

According to readings by the National Weather Service in Furnace Creek, Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California reached 53 degrees Celsius on Saturday. The shocking high temperature was actually lower than the day before, when the location reached 54 degrees Celsius.

Death Valley also recorded 54 C days in August last year. If the expert confirms that the reading and that Friday are accurate, they will be the highest temperature recorded there since July 1913, when the Furnace Desert reached 57 degrees Celsius, which is considered the highest temperature measured on earth.

On Sunday, a fan cooled a rescue horse at the Coachella Valley Horse Rescue Center in Indio, California. The well that provided tap water for the rescue broke, and the rescue has been relying on water donations from the community and the local fire department to keep its 18 horses alive in the California heat wave. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The National Weather Service warned that this dangerous situation could lead to heat-related diseases.

On Saturday, Palm Springs in Southern California also set a record high of 49 degrees Celsius, while Las Vegas tied the record of 47 degrees Celsius.

NV Energy, the largest electricity supplier in Nevada, also urges customers to save electricity on Saturday and Sunday nights, as heat waves and wildfires affect transmission lines throughout the region.

In Idaho, Governor Brad Little mobilized the state’s National Guard to help extinguish fires caused by thunderstorms that swept through dry areas.

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Richard Branson finished his historic venture onboard his own rocket-powered plane in a landmark moment for the commercial space industry

Branson -— along with Virgin Galactic employees Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla and pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci — boarded the SpaceShipTwo, a winged plane with a single rocket motor that the company has spent nearly two decades developing, before the crack of dawn. Attached beneath its massive, twin-fuselaged mothership, dubbed WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle took to the skies at 8:30 am MT and climbed to about 50,000 feet in the air.
Just after 9:15 in the morning, the SpaceShipTwo detached from its mothership and dropped momentarily before its engine screamed to life and the vehicle swooped upward. On board, the passengers experienced up to three Gs of force from the burst of extreme acceleration and watched the blue sky fade into the star-speckled darkness of outer space. At the top of the flight path, more than 50 miles high, the vehicle was suspended in weightlessness for a few minutes, allowing the passengers to enjoy panoramic views of the Earth and space as SpaceShipTwo flipped onto its belly. It then deployed its feathering system, which curls the plane’s wings upward, mimicking the shape of a badminton shuttlecock, to turn the spaceship rightward as it flew back into the Earth’s thick atmosphere and glided back down to a runway landing.
Virgin Galactic spaceplane VSS Unity rockets to outer space, with Richard Branson and crew onboard.
As Branson floated around in microgravity, he taped a message using cameras onboard the space plane: “To all you kids out there — I was once a child with a dream, looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult in a spaceship…If we can do this, just imagine what you can do,” he said.
This flight marked only the fourth test flight of the vehicle that reached the edge of space.
Surrounding SpaceShipTwo’s takeoff was — in typical Branson fashion -— a high-production party with friends, family, employees and a few VIPs in attendance. Earlier on Sunday, Branson tweeted a picture of himself and a barefoot Elon Musk hanging out. Grammy-nominated artist Khalid is also expected to perform an as-yet-unreleased song on an outdoor stage.

What this means

Branson’s flight — which came just nine days before Amazon bilionaire Jeff Bezos is slated to rocket into suborbital space aboard his own company’s spacecraft — is a landmark moment for the commercial space industry. The up-and-coming sector has for years been seeking to make suborbital space tourism (a relatively simple straight-up-and-down flight, as opposed to orbiting the Earth for longer periods) a viable business with the aim of allowing thousands of people to experience the adrenaline rush and sweeping views of our home planet that such flights can offer.
Branson and Bezos are situated to become direct competitors in that industry, each offering tickets to wealthy customers for brief rides to the upper atmosphere aboard supersonic, rocket-powered spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic plans to conduct just one more test flight before it will begin flying paying customers. More than 600 people have reserved tickets priced at $ 200,000 to $ 250,000 so far. The company is expected to reopen ticket sales soon, though at a higher price point.
Branson’s flight also helps bolster Virgin Galactic’s reputation as the “world’s first commercial spaceline.” That’s how the company advertised itself as it signed up those hundreds of willing customers who’ve waited through development delays — and a tragic mishap — for their chance to ride aboard SpaceShipTwo.
But whether or not Virgin Galactic will really be the “first” commercially operational suborbital space company is not yet clear. Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, appeared poised to put its founder in space before Branson, until Virgin Galactic made the surprise announcement earlier this month that he would be on the very next test flight, a departure from the company’s earlier plans.
Bezos’ flight, slated for July 20, could kick off the company’s commercial operations sooner than that, and one of his fellow passengers on the flight is a paying customer, having won a ticket through a charity auction for the price of $ 28 million. The company has not yet begun selling tickets to the public, however, nor has it set a specific date for when it plans to do so.
Neither company is expected to offer tickets that are affordable to the average American. Branson did tease a big “announcement” about his effort to “democratize space” ahead of the flight. But he revealed Sunday only that Virgin Galactic would be holding a “sweepstakes” for two free tickets, along with a tour of the facility from the winners from Branson himself.

How Virgin Galactic got here

Virgin Galactic moved into its facilities in New Mexico in May 2019 after years of delay. The glitzy building, called Spaceport America, was paid for with more than $ 200 million in mostly taxpayer money, and it had been waiting nearly a decade for Virgin Galactic to move in and open for business.
The company refurbished the building to include a lounge and other amenities that ticket holders will be able to use before their brief journey to the edge of space.
Virgin Galactic’s development program has endured a series of setbacks, including a catastrophic accident during a test flight in 2014 that left a co-pilot dead and the pilot badly injured after the SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system was prematurely deployed, ripping the spacecraft apart. The company has since parted ways with its manufacturing partner and says it has worked to enhance SpaceShipTwo with additional automated safeguards.
Branson said ahead of Sunday’s test flight that he was anxious to join the pilots and test engineers who’ve already flown on SpaceShipTwo because he felt it demonstrated a crucial vote of confidence.
Richard Branson receives some cards from children as he walks out from Spaceport America, near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico on July 11, 2021.
“You’ve got to remember that Virgin Galactic has people on every spaceflight… The fact that I’m willing to fly with those people shows confidence,” Branson told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane earlier this month. “I think the least the founder of the company can do is go up there and fly with his people.”

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire to reach suborbital flight in his own rocket-powered plane. He called it ‘the experience of a lifetime.’

Getting Richard Branson to space is a two-step process — and frankly, it’s weird.

If you know anything about quirky aerospace visionary Burt Rutan and his early involvement in Virgin Galactic, you’ll understand why.

There are no NASA-esque rocket towers or launch pads being used here.

SpaceShipTwo is a winged, rocket-powered spaceplane that takes off from an airport runway, attached beneath the conjoined wings of a mammoth mothership, called WhiteKnightTwo, which is essentially a twin-fuselage airplane. That must sound strange, and that’s because it is indeed a very strange looking setup:

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire
SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity flies in New Mexico airspace in October 2020. Virgin Galactic

The two vehicles fly conjoined up to about 50,000 feet altitude, at which point the spacecraft, with its four occupants inside, drops from its mothership. SpaceShipTwo’s single rocket motor will fire up as soon as the spacecraft detaches in order to blast the vehicle up to nearly 300,000 feet in just one minute.

If all goes according to plan, of course. Though Virgin Galactic has successfully sent a crew to the edge of outer space three times, it was forced to abort a test as recently as December of 2020, when the rocket failed to ignite.

Here’s an overview of the flight path Virgin Galactic previously shared:

SpaceShipTwo, controlled by two pilots, can house up to eight paying passengers in its cabin, offering them panoramic views of the Earth and the star-speckled expanse of the cosmos through its twelve circular windows.

The SpaceShipTwo that will be used for today’s flight is VSS Unity, the only SpaceShipTwo that has previously flown to space.

Chaos above Black Sea: Russian jets intercept ‘US spy plane’ – warned away from border

The Russian Su-30 fighters intercepted the US Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol plane over the waterway, Russia’s National Defense Control Center reported this morning. Russian radar stations had detected what they described as an “aerial target” approaching Russia’s state border.

The fighters, from the Black Sea Fleet’s quick reaction alert naval aviation and air defense forces, were scrambled to investigate, the statement explained.

The National Defense Control Center added: “The crews of the Russian fighters identified the aerial target as a Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft, and shadowed it over the Black Sea.”

The statement insisted the aircraft, which belonged to the United States, was “not allowed to violate Russia’s state border.”

Separately, Russia is tracking a Spanish naval ship in the Black Sea, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s defence ministry as saying on Wednesday, with both Ukraine and NATO countries both holding military drills in the area.

The ministry said the Spanish ship had entered the Black Sea on Wednesday to take part in the Sea Breeze 2021 military drills, which started late last month in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine and involve more than 30 countries.

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Russian plane missing: Jet with 29 on board disappears after attempting to land

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17 killed in military plane crash in southern Philippines

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 Hercules transport plane with 92 people aboard crashed on Sunday while attempting to land on Jolo island in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, killing 17 and and injuring 40 others, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement that among the 92 personnel on board the plane, three are pilots and five are crew members, with the rest being “Army personnel reporting for duty.”

Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing, Lorenzana added.

Armed Forces of the Philippine chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana said earlier the plane was transporting troops from Cagayan de Oro City on Mindanao island when it crashed around 11:30 a.m. local time on Jolo island.


“The plane missed the runway and tried to regain power but failed,” Sobejana said.

“Responders are at the site now,” he said, expressing hope that more people on the plane will be saved from the wreckage.

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Military plane transporting troops crashes in the Philippines

Rescue efforts underway after C-130 crashed on Jolo island, army chief says.

A military plane transporting troops has crashed in southern Philippines after missing the runway during landing on Sunday, the military chief said.

General Cirilito Sobejana told reporters that at least 40 people have been rescued from the burning wreckage of the C-130, which crashed as it tried to land on Jolo island, 1,000km (621 miles) south of the capital Manila.

“Responders are at the site now, we are praying we can save more lives,” Sobejana said.

“It’s very unfortunate. The plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”

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As the number of people traveling by plane climbs, so do reports of travelers refusing to follow instructions, or even turning violent

(CNN) — Travel this long holiday weekend will be busy — and not only by pandemic standards.

Experts expect it will rival the busiest Independence Day weekend of the pre-coronavirus era. Lines at airports and jams on the highways will be back with a vengeance, they say.

AAA forecasts a record number of Americans are taking to the increasingly busy roads this weekend, and warns they will encounter the most expensive July 4 gas in seven years. America’s airports haven’t been this busy in more than a year, and some airlines are struggling to keep up with the demand.

With crowds at the airports and cars on the highways, this weekend is expected to look similar to the times before the pandemic rocked the industry.

But reminders of the pandemic remain: Face masks are still required for all passengers — even vaccinated ones — on all public forms of transportation, including airplanes, trains and buses, and in hubs like rail stations and airports. Restrictions prevent or complicate international travel to many countries. Cruises are just restarting with some onboard changes. And while airlines are back to selling middle seats, many have not yet returned full alcohol service.

“Even our regular fliers are sort of first-time fliers at this point,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told CNN.

Road trips are more popular than ever

The 47.7 million Americans that AAA forecasts will travel more than 50 miles between Thursday and Monday rivals the record-setting 2019 figure of 48.9 million.

The number of vacationers packing the car for a road trip, AAA expects, will be the largest ever: 43.6 million.

That means roads in vacation hot spots will see an even larger influx of traffic.

The transportation data firm Inrix says many cities — from New York to Los Angeles — are experiencing less traffic than usual this time of year, as many workers continue to sign in from home. Washington, D.C. traffic is 13 percentage points below usual, and San Francisco is down 21 percentage points. Both numbers are still higher than this time in 2020, when only 34.2 million people hit the road, AAA said.

But the story is different in the nation’s tourist hubs. Nine cities in Florida — including Tampa and Orlando — are seeing more traffic than usual.

Rental car companies parked their cars last year and sold off some inventory, creating a shortage as demand picks up.

Rental car companies parked their cars last year and sold off some inventory, creating a shortage as demand picks up.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

“This is going to be a robust travel season,” said AAA spokesman Andrew Gross.

Among the factors causing families to take road trips, Gross said, is protecting unvaccinated children from crowded planes or trains, and high demand for rental cars in places they might have looked at for flights. Rental car companies that downsized fleets when demand dropped during the pandemic are now short on supply. That has driven a spike in rental prices — when there are cars to be had.

Gas prices are also climbing, and the national average of $ 3.12 on Thursday is the most expensive since reaching $ 3.66 in 2014. Prices at the pump reflect not only the demand for fuel, but the challenge to get it delivered to gas stations around the country. Some stations may run out, AAA says.

“It’s not that we have a gas supply issue in this country,” Gross said. “There just are not enough gas tank drivers available, because during the pandemic, there weren’t a lot of deliveries, so these drivers — highly in demand — they went off and found other jobs.”

The unruly skies

Air travel at some vacation hot spots — such as Nashville and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — is already exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday. Officials launched a campaign to hire 6,000 workers, and the agency said it will continue staffing up through Labor Day.

July 4 travel kicked off with one of the busiest days at airports in 16 months.

The TSA reported screening 2,147,090 passengers on Thursday. That number fell just short of the record-setting 2.17 million screened last Sunday. TSA said it expects that record “to be outpaced over the holiday weekend.”

As passenger numbers climb, so do reports of passengers refusing to follow crew instructions, or even turning violent.

The Federal Aviation Administration has received more than 3,200 reports of unruly passengers this year, and opened 491 investigations. On average over the last 15 years, FAA has opened about 180 investigations annually, and officials say the number of reports filed was never large enough to warrant tallying.

“Now the public is coming back and getting out and treating flight attendants as punching bags, and they’re doing that verbally and physically,” said Nelson of the flight attendant union.

“Conflict is rising very quickly,” she added. “Everyone’s at a stress level 10. Everyone needs a little help right now and we’re asking everyone be a helper.”

Airlines that faced an uncertain future last summer are seeing passengers return in droves. United Airlines told CNN that even with business and international travel depressed, Thursday is the busiest travel day it has seen since the pandemic began.

“Leisure demand is more than 100%,” United CEO Scott Kirby told CNN. “The recovery indicates the huge desire for people to get back to living life.”

Air travel has been on the rise heading into the busy summer season.

Air travel has been on the rise heading into the busy summer season.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Packed planes

Planes are nearly full. Ultra-low-cost carriers, which specialize in shuttling people to vacation destinations, expect to see “load factors in the 90s,” said Chris Brown, a vice president at the National Air Carriers Association.

Airlines for America, representing the largest US airlines, said flights were 89% full last week — compared to 90% in the same week of 2019.

Some of the return is driven by passengers using flight credits from trips canceled during the pandemic.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said their schedules and staffing have been thrown off by the growing demand and weather. Data from the aviation website FlightAware show Southwest canceled or delayed 39,728 flights last month — the most of any US airline. The data showed American canceled or delayed 36,714 flights.

Southwest has pleaded with flight attendants to pick up extra trips and offered twice the usual pay. It said in a memo obtained by CNN that “adverse weather conditions” have put crews out of position for the next flight, and it said fewer flights between cities has made it harder to reposition crew members.

“If you are healthy and it is safe to do so, please help your fellow Cohearts by picking up available shifts,” wrote Southwest executive vice president Alan Kasher.

American said it would preemptively trim 1% of flights from its schedule through mid-July, citing bad weather and staffing shortages. The advance changes mean “impacting the fewest number of customers” and rebooking them.

Travelers taking the train instead will see more service from Amtrak. It recently began running more trains up and down the East coast and restored pre-pandemic service to dining on long distance routes in the West.

No matter how travelers head out, they should pack their patience, experts say.

“You’re going to have a lot of company on the road and in the skies and around you at all times,” said Gross, of AAA. “So just expect it won’t always be the smoothest, but you’re going to get there and you’re going to have fun.”

Author: By Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean, CNN
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