More than fifty years after the end of the Apollo program, NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024 as a "proving ground" to test the next generation of spacecraft ahead of an eventual crewed mission to Mars. NASA's current roster of female astronauts The new program has been named Artemis after Apollo's twin-sister in Greek mythology, and the space agency has said that the mission will see the first woman to stride the lunar surface. So, who will she be? No one knows for sure, but it's a likely bet the candidate will be selected from among NASA's current roster of 12 female astronauts. They're aged between 40 and 53, and are former military pilots, medical doctors and scientists who were picked from among thousands of applicants since the late 1990s. Predicting who will join Neil Armstrong in the annals of history isn't an exact science, but several former astronauts and experts interviewed by AFP say the proximity of the deadline mean it probably won't be a new recruit. … [Read more...] about Womankind’s giant leap: who will be the first female moonwalker?
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At the back of a restaurant in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, cats stand paws splayed against the bars of their tiny wooden cage, soon to be submerged in hot water. The drowned carcasses are shaved and their skins burned, meters from a pile of ageing, silent bones. Often grilled or stir-fried in a marinade of garlic and peppers, the meat is best served with an accompaniment of beer or rice wine. Sitting on stools, two groups of men await their food. "My restaurant has been running for three years. Cat meat is exotic and expensive, perfect for those with good taste. Customers can pay up to VND2 million ($86.34) for a black cat," says owner Cuong. It is difficult to cook cat meat, he adds, noting he first learnt the recipe from a relative in northern Thai Binh Province. Cuong's restaurant serves up to five cats a day, "though by the end of lunar months, the number could double thanks to the belief the meat helps avoid bad luck." The owner describes cat as softer and sweeter than pork … [Read more...] about Paws for thought: cat meat still top of the menu
Competition in the country’s credit card market has become stiff as more and more foreign and domestic banks as well as finance companies are competing to gain market shares. Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam Branch in HCM City, speaking at a seminar on online payments, says the biggest advantage of non-cash payments are time savings, no transportation fees, and safer transactions. Credit cards are expected to grow as more than 70 per cent of the population are young and the country has the fastest growth in both income and spending in the region. Internet retail is also growing. Young consumers are quicker to adapt to new payment methods and are making the switch from cash to card transactions. Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam's branch in HCM City, said at a seminar on online payments that the biggest advantages were the economic benefits, including time savings, no transportation fees, and safer transactions. … [Read more...] about VN banks compete for customers in credit card market