Royal wedding could give £80m lift to Britain’s economy

Pubs, retailers and landlords hopeful of bumper weekend to celebrate Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding

The royal wedding could provide a shot in the arm of more than £80m for the country’s slowing economy as retailers, pubs and hoteliers look to cash in on Harry and Meghan’s looming nuptials.

The tourist authority VisitBritain said about 50,000 Americans were expected to be among the crowds lining the roads in Windsor and soaking up the atmosphere in the capital when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot later this month. Pubs have been given special permission to stay open late while retailers in London’s shopping district are anticipating a £60m mini sales boom on the back of tourist spending sprees.

(July 1, 2016) 

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U.S. lawmakers set $717 billion defense bill with eye on China, Russia, Turkey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers released details on Friday of a $717 billion annual defense policy bill, including efforts to compete with Russia and China and a measure to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey.

Kennedy cousin’s murder conviction overturned, new trial ordered

(Reuters) – A divided Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday threw out the 2002 murder conviction of Michael Skakel, a member of the Kennedy family, and ordered a new trial.

Glare on Southwest highlights tense relationship between management, mechanics

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal investigators were assigned last year to monitor Southwest Airlines’ maintenance operations, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday, after whistleblower complaints of mistreatment of mechanics raised safety concerns.

Iowa governor signs ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban into law

(Reuters) – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law on Friday a bill outlawing abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which often occurs at six weeks and before a woman even realizes she is pregnant, and Reynolds acknowledged the likelihood of a court challenge.

Wall St. rallies as inflation fears ebb; Apple hits record high

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The three major U.S. stock indexes rose more than 1 percent on Friday after weaker-than-expected U.S. wage growth helped to calm investor fears about rising interest rates and inflation, though the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials still posted losses for the week.

Get up super early and watch NASA’s InSight Mars lander launch live

Night owl? Good news — there’s an historic rocket launch early tomorrow morning that you can catch while the rest of the country is sleeping. NASA’s InSight Mars lander is scheduled for takeoff at 4:05 AM Pacific, weather permitting. You can watch it live at the links below.

InSight is launching atop an Atlas V rocket with a Centaur for the orbital stage, operated by United Launch Alliance. After a six-month trip through space, the mission is to discover the secrets lying deep within the Red Planet using sensitive seismographs and a temperature probe that will bore into the surface. There’s also a pair of CubeSats hitching a ride to test how tiny spacecraft will perform outside Earth’s orbit.

It’s historic not just because it’s an awesome Mars lander that will teach us about the formation of our rocky neighbor and Earth itself, but because this is the first time an interplanetary mission has taken off from the west coast of the country. It’s launching from Vandenberg air base, between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo (a couple hours north of LA, for those not familiar with Californian geography).

“If you live on the California Central Coast or south to L.A. and San Diego, be sure to get up early on May 5th, because Atlas V is the gold standard in launch vehicles and it can put on a great show,” said Kennedy Space Center launch director Tim Dunn in a NASA news release.

That all depends on the weather, of course. The dreaded marine layer lies heavy on the coast, and that means visibility will be extremely low. But as coastal Californians know, waiting for it to go away is a good way to waste a whole day. NASA can’t wait that long — the rocket needs to go off when this side of the planet is facing the right direction, of course. So Range Safety may waive the eyes-on visibility requirement for launch, provided all other telemetry systems are working normally.

Going from launch to orbit will take about 13 minutes, at which time InSight will wait for about an hour, and then a final burn will send it on its way to Mars. The whole process should take about 93 minutes.

So if you’re up tomorrow in the predawn hours, check out the launch either at NASA’s stream or at the YouTube hosted one that should appear here half an hour or so before launch.

Last big group of caravan asylum seekers cross into U.S

TIJUANA, MEXICO (Reuters) – Seventy men, women and children poured through a U.S. port of entry early Friday to seek asylum, the largest single group yet accepted by U.S. officials from the caravan of Central American migrants that enraged President Donald Trump.