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Thailand: US man may face death penalty for living on floating home in Andaman Sea | World News



A US man and his Thai partner could face the death penalty after a home they lived on in the Andaman Sea was raided by Thailand’s navy.

Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet lived in the structure, known as a seastead, 13 nautical miles from the Thai coast, in order to avoid the jurisdiction of Thai law.

They had lived at the seastead for around a month and had documented their adventure online.

However, Thailand’s navy claimed the couple “endangered national sovereignty” by living on the structure, a crime which is punishable by imprisonment or even death.

The couple were tipped off and fled the structure by the time the navy reached them and are now on the run.

The structure before it was erected. Pic: Facebook/ Chad Elwartowski
The structure before it was erected. Facebook pic: Chad Elwartowski

Thai police confirmed they were searching for the couple, and that the navy had filed a criminal charge regarding the pair.

They added that Mr Elwartowski was a fugitive of Thailand, and has had his visa revoked, whilst Ms Thepdet remains wanted by police.

In an email, Mr Elwartowski said in a statement: “This is ridiculous… we lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.

“We are still quite scared for our lives.

“We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.

“I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government”.

Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet
Chad Elwartowski and his partner Supranee Thepdet are on the run. Facebook pic: Chad Elwartowski

Supanee Thepdet, Mr Elwartowski’s partner, is widely known as Nadia Summergirl, who is a bitcoin investor in Thailand.

Ocean Builders, the organisation that constructed the seastead, said: “Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet are being held responsible for building the seastead and putting it in its current location.”

It added the couple had no part in the design or construction of the building, and were simply living on board.

The organisation said the structure still stands and would like to donate it to a university for marine research.

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Houston has a problem: NASA snubs city’s bid to lead next moon mission | US News



It may have been one of the first words ever uttered on the moon, but Houston has been snubbed by NASA as the base of operations for the development of the next lunar lander.

Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, has been chosen to lead preparations for the planned expedition, beating out competition from Johnson Space Center in the Texan city.

The latter managed the iconic Apollo quest 50 years ago, and state congressmen hoped that legacy would see it chosen for the next mission, which is aiming to send a woman to the moon for the first time by 2024.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine

‘Next person on the moon will be a woman’

Republican senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and representative Brian Babin have asked NASA to reconsider its call to pick the so-called Rocket City in Alabama, although the site has long specialised in rocket propulsion.

NASA Saturn V moon rockets were developed there in the 1960s and it is also where a new mega-rocket dubbed the Space Launch System is being built.

Explaining the decision, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “I would argue that when it comes to propulsion, there is no place in the world that is more experienced and better than Marshall Space Flight Center.

“At the same time, it is absolutely true that when you think about the module where our astronauts will be, that cannot be done without the Johnson Space Center.”

Rowland Manthorpe

Debunking moon landing myths

With Marshall being the main base of preparation for the highly-anticipated mission, more than a third of the 360 NASA personnel dedicated to it will be stationed there.

There will be 140 in Huntsville, 87 in Houston, and the rest elsewhere.

Former engineering manager Lisa Watson-Morgan will lead the programme from Marshall, and says her team will “bring their speed and our experience” to the project to meet the 2024 deadline set by the White House.

(Original Caption) 7/17/1969- Space Center, Houston, TX- Overall view of activity in Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center, Building 30, on the second day of the Apollo II lunar landing mission. A picture of astronaut Neil A. Armstrong was being transmitted from the color TV camera aboard the Apollo II spacecraft as it traveled toward the moon. The spacecraft was about 130,000 mautical miles from earth when this photo was taken.
The space centre in Houston has a rich legacy

The programme has been named Artemis after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, who also happens to be the goddess of the moon.

NASA remains the only organisation in existence to ever land a man on the moon, and the Artemis mission is set to be the next occasion on which a human steps foot on the surface.

Billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently raised eyebrows by suggesting that his company could land on the moon even sooner, telling Time magazine he could do “in less than two years”.

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Dozens feared dead or injured in explosion at wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan | World News



Dozens of people are feared dead or injured after an explosion ripped through a wedding hall in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The blast happened at the Dubai City venue in the west of the city, which is home to many members of the Shiite Hazara community, with hundreds thought to be inside.

Interior ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi did not provide an estimate on the number of casualties, but emergency services have said that at least 20 have been taken to hospital.

Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said on Twitter: “Devastated by the news of a suicide attack inside a wedding hall in Kabul. A heinous crime against our people; how is it possible to train a human and ask him to go and blow himself (up) inside a wedding?!!”

There is as yet no word on who was behind the blast, but Sunni Muslim militants including the Taliban and Islamic State have repeatedly attacked Shiite minorities in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan over the years.

Just three weeks ago, a Taliban suicide bomber killed 14 people and wounded 145 in an attack in western Kabul.

That incident came despite expectations of a deal between the terror group and the US, with both having reported progress in talks that would see American troops withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a security guarantee from the insurgents.

Most of the 20,000 foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan are from the US, as part of a NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces in their battle against terrorist threats.

The conflict continues to take a horrific toll on civilians, with more than 3,800 – including 900 children – killed by the US and allied forces, the Taliban, Islamic State and others last year, according to the United Nations.

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European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker cuts short holiday for urgent gallbladder surgery | World News



European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has cut short his holiday to have urgent surgery to remove his gallbladder.

The 64-year-old was taken back to Luxembourg from Austria to undergo an urgent cholecystectomy.

Mr Juncker, who is due to leave his post as the EU’s figurehead in October, has had to respond to speculation about his health before.

Last year he swayed and stumbled at a dinner for NATO leaders in Brussels and had to be supported on his feet.

His spokesman later said it was caused by sciatica and cramps as he hit back at claims Mr Juncker was drunk.

The gallbladder operation is common and usually happens if a person develops painful gallstones

The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ in the upper right part of the stomach which stores bile – a fluid produced by the liver that helps break down fatty foods.

According to the NHS, the patient can usually leave hospital the same day or the next morning if keyhole surgery is used.

Mr Juncker will be replaced as European Commission on 31 October by German conservative Ursula von der Leyen.

The Commission’s role includes proposing new laws, managing EU policies and supervising how its money is spent, negotiating trade deals and representing the EU on the world stage.

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