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Engineering marvels meet as Solar Impulse 2 craft flies over Giza pyramids

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The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Cairo on Wednesday for its penultimate stop as the solar-powered plane nears the end of its marathon tour around the world.

After the two-day flight from Spain, just one final leg lies between it and its final destination, Abu Dhabi, where it started its odyssey in March last year.

The aircraft landed in Spain last month, after completing the first solo transatlantic flight powered only by sunlight.

After setting off from Seville on Monday morning, the plane passed through Algerian, Tunisian, Italian and Greek airspace, and flew over the Giza Pyramids before touching down at Cairo airport at around 7:10 am (0510 GMT).

Its support crew cheered as the plane, no heavier than a car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, landed, and trailed after it on bicycles.

It had finished the 3,745 kilometre (2,327 mile) journey with an average speed of 76.7 kilometres (47.7 miles) an hour, the flight organiser said.

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“It was fantastic, everything worked well,” pilot Andre Borschberg told the control tower, as a live stream from the cockpit was broadcast on Solar Impulse 2’s Facebook page.

He emerged from the cockpit and hugged Bertrand Piccard, with whom he has taken turns flying the plane around the world.

Solar Impulse is being flown on its 35,400-kilometre (22,000 mile) trip in stages, with Piccard and his Swiss compatriot Borschberg alternating at the controls of the single-seat plane.

Picard, who had arrived early to greet the aircraft, told reporters that flying Solar Impulse 2 showed what new technologies can do.

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– ‘Reality of today’ –

The 58-year-old had flown the plane across the Atlantic in a 6,765 kilometre (4,200 mile) journey.

It had completed its flight from New York to Seville in 71 hours, flying through the night with the energy stored in its 17,000 photovoltaic cells.

“It’s a new era for energy,” he said.

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“I love to fly this plane because when you are in the air for several days you have the impression to be in a film of science fiction,” he said.

“You look at the sun, you look at your motors, they turn for days and for days, no fuel. And you think that’s a miracle. That’s magic. It is actually the reality of today. This is what we can do with these new technologies.”

He said the pilot takes 20 minute naps during the long flights, as the plane inches across the sky.

Borschberg had piloted the plane in its 8,924 kilometre (5,545 mile) flight from Japan to Hawaii in 118 hours, breaking the previous record for the longest uninterrupted journey in aviation history.

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“It is comfortable. But of course you need to train for that,” Piccard said.

Borschberg and Piccard have said they want to raise awareness of renewable energy sources and technologies with their project.

Picard said the plane could fly continuously. “The pilot is the limit,” he told AFP.

“You capture the energy during the day, you use it in the engines and store it, and during the night you use the storage from the batteries, and you continue cycle after cycle,” he said.

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Borschberg said a 20-day long flight could be on the cards.

“Will we be able to fly longer? I believe we will fly 20 days. But you have to be sustainable. You have to produce water. You have to produce oxygen,” he said.

Piccard does not expect solar powered commercial planes any time soon.

“But there will be passengers very soon in electric airplanes that we will charge on the ground.

“On the ground you can charge batteries and you can have short haul flights maybe 500 kilometres (310 miles) with 50 people flying in these planes” in a decade, he predicted.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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‘Veto the Cheato’: Americans gathered nationwide for #ImpeachTrump rallies

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Frustrated Americans on Saturday attended #ImpeachTrump rallies from coast-to-coast.

The rallies were organized by MoveOn, Indivisible, Democracy for America, the Women's March, Credo and other progressive organizations.

Over 140 events were held nationwide.

[caption id="attachment_1513038" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Map of #ImpeachTrump rallies in the contiguous United States.[/caption]

Many attendees took the time to create hand-made protest signs, while others held printed banners.

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‘Weakness doesn’t win elections’: Indivisible co-founder explains why members are holding #ImpeachTrump rallies

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The growing support to commence impeachment proceedings by House Democrats is driven by their need to fire up grassroots support to hold control of the chamber, an Indivisible co-founder explained on MSNBC.

"The call for impeachment continues. this as protesters are hitting the street in more than 140 rallies planned across the country. Organizers say the "Impeach Trump" event is a day of action urging House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings," MSNBC's Richard Lui reported Saturday.

"A new survey from the indivisible project finds 80 percent of their respondents say the House should start impeachment proceedings," he noted. "Right now in the House, 63 Democrats and one Republican support impeachment."

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Mississippi fast food cashier ‘terminated immediately’ for ugly racist slur on customer’s receipt

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The owner of a fast food restaurant in Mississippi "terminated immediately" an employee after a racist and misogynistic slur of patrons.

When Lex Washington visited Who Dat's Drive-Thru in Oxford with her roommate, the cashier listed them on the receipt as "black b*tches in a silver car."

A manager reportedly refused to apologize at the time, and instead "laughed in her face."

A photo of the receipt then spread on social media.

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