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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA’s Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

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A NASA TV commentator hailed a “textbook launch” minutes after blastoff in “sweltering” weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

The blast coincides with the date that NASA’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon in 1969, marking a defining moment in the so-called “space race” with the Soviet Union.

Of the trio launching from the Kazakh steppe, only 53-year-old Skvortsov had been born at the time of the Moon landing.

A veteran of two ISS missions, Skvortsov is the flight commander for the six-hour journey from Baikonur to the ISS.

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Morgan, 43, is flying for the first time.

“The absolute hardest part: saying good-bye and watching them walk away,” wrote the father-of-four in a Saturday tweet featuring a picture of his wife and children.

Parmitano’s only previous stint at the ISS lasted 166 days and saw him become the first Italian to carry out a spacewalk.

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“L-2 h 30 min: One more look at my planet… it’s time to climb aboard our rocket. Next stop @Space_Station,” the Italian tweeted.

Skvortsov, Morgan and Parmitano all come from military backgrounds and posed together in uniform in the build up to the launch.

Speaking during a pre-launch press-conference on Friday Skvortsov joked that “two colonels will be taking orders from a colonel” when Parmitano becomes commander of the space station mid-way through his mission — a reference to the military rank the three share.

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The International Space Station — a rare example of cooperation between Russia and the West — has been orbiting Earth at about 28,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 miles per hour) since 1998.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump responds to China raising tariffs — by raising tariffs on over half a trillion dollars in Chinese goods

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After US markets tanked on Friday, President Donald Trump dramatically escalated his trade war with China.

"For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on trade, intellectual property theft, and much more. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China, with no end in sight," Trump tweeted.

"Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of fair and balanced trade that it has become a great burden to the American taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen," he argued.

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MSNBC anchor blasts Trump’s ‘lunacy’ after ‘a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling’

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The New York Stock Exchange closed down over 600 points on Friday as President Donald Trump's trade war with China escalated.

MSNBC anchor John Heilemann said, "we’re hours away for the president taking off to the G7 summit in Bairritz, France, where allies are bracing for the Trump-fueled mayhem that is now 100% certain to ensue, with Trump like a drunken traveler in the departure lounge about to take a trip that he dreads, already sewing global chaos, days-long public meltdown typically moved from words to actions."

"Donald Trump beginning this day with a Twitter tirade that sent the Dow spiraling, closing down more than 600 points today and escalating his trade war with China with these norm-shattering, power-abusing words in this tweet," he said, putting the tweet on-screen.

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‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

He also crushed the president for failing to make any progress on reopening the Chinese market to American goods.

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