London, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — An Austrian privacy campaigner's long-running legal battle against Facebook over its data transfers to the U.S. has reached Europe's highest court.
The European Court of Justice is hearing arguments Tuesday on whether Facebook's Dublin-based subsidiary can legally transfer users' personal data to the U.S. parent company.
The court, based in Luxembourg, is expected to rule on whether "standard contractual clauses" governing data transfers comply with European data protection regulations.
A decision, which is expected by the end of the year, could affect thousands of European Union businesses that rely on the agreements as safeguards to protect personal data sent outside of the bloc.
Privacy campaigner Max Schrems launched the case in 2013 after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of electronic surveillance by U.S. security agencies.
Berlin, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — The commander of the Swiss air force's aerial display team has apologized after his unit performed a low-altitude pass over the wrong municipality.
Residents of Langenbruck looked up in vain Saturday while expecting to see Switzerland's Patrouille Suisse squadron swoop by to mark the centenary of the death of local aviation pioneer Oskar Bider.
The team flew over nearby Muemliswil instead.
Switzerland's Defense Ministry said Monday that the formation hadn't practiced the maneuver and got distracted by an unauthorized helicopter in the area. The ministry says the team leader spotted what he thought was a tent for the Langenbruck celebration that turned out to be for a yodeling festival in Muemliswil.
The ministry said the Patrouille Suisse team's red and white F-5E Tiger II jets aren't equipped with GPS devices.
Flagstaff, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — Before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin knew they would be the first to walk on the moon, they took crash courses in geology at the Grand Canyon and a nearby impact crater that is the most well-preserved on Earth.
Northern Arizona has had deep ties to the Apollo missions: Every moon-walking astronaut trained here, and a crater on the moon was even named in honor of the city of Flagstaff.
"It's a really interesting and unique part of our history, and it's really cool to think that this relatively small town in northern Arizona played such a big role in the Apollo missions," said Benjamin Carver, a public lands historian at Northern Arizona University.
Today, astronaut candidates still train in and around Flagstaff, which is among many cities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969.
They walk in the same volcanic cinder fields where the U.S. Geological Survey intentionally blasted hundreds of craters from the ground to replicate the lunar surface, testing rovers and geology tools.
Scientists used early photos of the moon taken from orbit and re-created the Sea of Tranquility with "remarkable accuracy" before Apollo 11 landed there in 1969, the Geological Survey said.
Astronauts studied moon mapping at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff where Pluto was discovered and peered at their eventual destination through telescopes at various northern Arizona sites.
The region's role in moon missions is credited to former Geological Survey scientist Gene Shoemaker, who moved the agency's astrogeology branch to Flagstaff in 1963. It wasn't long before Shoemaker guided Armstrong and Aldrin on hikes at Meteor Crater as he pushed to ensure NASA would include geology in lunar exploration.
A story passed down by geologists at the crater says Aldrin ripped his spacesuit on jagged limestone rocks that are part of the aptly named "tear-pants formation," forcing a redesign, head tour guide Jeff Beal said.
Armstrong and Aldrin also hiked the Grand Canyon. A historical photo shows Armstrong carrying a rock hammer, a hand lens and a backpack for rock samples.
Harrison "Jack" Schmitt was the only Apollo astronaut who didn't train at the national park. The geologist left Flagstaff to become an astronaut, and while his comrades were learning geology, he was learning to be a pilot.
In another historical photo, Apollo astronauts Jim Irwin and David Scott ride around in Grover, a prototype of the lunar rover made in Flagstaff from spare parts and now on display at the Astrogeology Science Center.
The eventual lunar rover used in three Apollo missions famously got a broken fender on a 1972 mission to the moon. Astronauts cobbled together a quick fix that included a map produced by geologists in Flagstaff.
In yet another historical photo, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean stand in the volcanic cinder field bordered by ponderosa pine trees holding a tool carrier. Bean would later say: "I now love geology, thanks to these early experiences in Flagstaff," local historian Kevin Schindler co-wrote in a book on space training in northern Arizona.
Lauren Edgar, a research geologist at the Astrogeology Science Center, is working with the 2017 class of astronaut candidates who will be in Flagstaff later this year for field training.
"It will be pretty inspiring for them. It's inspiring for us being involved in this, but knowing you're walking in the boot steps of these previous astronauts here in Flagstaff and, hopefully, some day on another body," she said.
Flagstaff is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with tours, exhibits, talks and moon-themed food and art.
Charlie Duke, the youngest astronaut on the moon, is returning to Flagstaff in September as the keynote speaker at an annual science festival. He and Jason Young, who were on Apollo 17, named a moon crater "Flag Crater."
Retired Flagstaff geologist Gerald Schaber plans to celebrate the lunar legacy wearing the same turquoise bolo tie that distinguished Shoemaker's Arizona crew from others who worked on moon missions. Schaber was at Mission Control in Houston in 1969, monitoring black-and-white images while bent over a map trying to gauge the distance between Armstrong and Aldrin using cutouts of the men.
"I was just trying to do the best I could with the primitive tracking ability we had in those days," he said from his home in Flagstaff where he has a signed photograph of a hill on the moon that Apollo 15 astronauts referred to "Schaber Hill."
Of the three crater fields created in northern Arizona for astronaut training in the late 1960s, only one has a sign acknowledging its importance in the moon missions. Visitors can walk through gaps in a barbed-wire fence and feel their feet sink into the volcanic cinders, although not as deep as the astronauts' feet on the moon.
The craters don't come into view without being close up, some as darkened, shallow depressions and others as giant welts in the ground partially lost to the weather.
Arizona has approved a nomination to list several of the training sites on the National Register of Historic Places to better preserve them, but federal approval is still needed.
Johannesburg, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — Mandla Maseko, a South African man who had won the opportunity to become the first black African to go into space, has died in a motorcycle crash. He was 30.
Maseko was killed in Pretoria over the weekend, according to a family statement reported by local media Monday.
Maseko became known as an "Afronaut" and was an inspiration to many South Africans when he won an international competition to get a place in the Axe Apollo Space Academy and spent a week in training at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2015. His goal was to go into suborbital flight in which he would experience weightlessness.
"I want to be able to float and see outside the window and see this big round blue and white ball that is called earth," Maseko told The Associated Press in 2014.
Maseko, who came from a poor township outside Pretoria, said that his role model was Nelson Mandela.
"He broke new ground by being the first black president in South Africa ... that was inspiration for me," said Maseko.
Although the space flight didn't take place, Maseko was still trying. He was working as a part-time disc jockey and was a candidate officer in the South African air force, according to South Africa's Eye Witness News.
Maseko gave motivational speeches in South Africa, and in 2014 he said: "Defy gravity in everything that you do by shooting for the moon."
London, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — Heather Mills, the former wife of Paul McCartney, and her sister have received an apology and a settlement from Britain's defunct News of the World tabloid over the hacking of their phones.
Heather Mills and her sister Fiona Mills both received a formal apology in Britain's High Court on Monday. In a statement read outside the court, she said she felt "joy and vindication" at the settlement.
"My motivation to win this decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice, not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public who, like me, have suffered similar ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world's most powerful media groups," she said.
Mills is one of a number of celebrities who have received settlements in the prolonged phone hacking scandal, which closed the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World in 2011. The paper was found to have hacked into the voicemail of many prominent Britons in a gross violation of privacy.
A representative of the tabloid said it apologized to the Mills sisters for "the distress caused to them by the invasion of their privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News of the World."
The size of what was called a "substantial settlement" hasn't been revealed.
The Mills' lawyer, David Sherborne, said the sisters had been subjected to "sustained and repeated invasions of privacy" by people working for the newspaper.
"The claimants believe that the publication of articles in the defendant's newspapers had a seriously corrosive effect on (their) relationships with their friends and family, some of which can never be repaired," he said.
Mills and McCartney divorced in 2008 after a prolonged court clash over the size of the settlement she would receive.