Sunday, 29 March 2009

Lights off- For planet Earth

Landmarks around the world have been plunged into darkness in a global push to act on climate change.

Sydney skyline

Sydney's skyline after the light switch-off for Earth Hour 2009

Lights were turned off at 8.30pm local time to mark Earth Hour, organised by the WWF.

To start the annual event, diesel generators were switched off on the Chatham Islands, a small archipelago off the east coast of New Zealand.

Lights then went out at Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Asia followed with lights at landmarks in China, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines dimming as people celebrated with candle-lit picnics and concerts.

Other iconic landmarks falling into darkness this year include the Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Table Mountain in Cape Town, CN Tower in Toronto and the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas.


Chiller in Manila

Among the landmarks taking part in Britain are Nelson's Column, the Forth Bridge, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and the London Eye.

The public is also being urged to get involved in their own homes.

"We are sitting here near the harbour. There are about 60 or 70 people here having a picnic," an Earth Hour spokesman said in Sydney.

The organisers suggested people in Britain took part with picnics, acoustic gigs and pub quizzes in the dark.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when more than two million homes and businesses switched off their lights for an hour.

A year later, 50 million people switched off their lights, with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome's Colosseum and the huge billboard in Times Square, New York, all standing in darkness.

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Area 51-Fact or Fiction?

Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.[1][2]

The base lies within the United States Air Force's vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).[3][4]

Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation, other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake, and most recently Homey Airport. The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N), known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".

The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.