In brief: Royal wedding tweets and Delta drug smuggling
Endeavour blasts off, Air India pilots remain on the ground, Delta employees charged for drug smuggling and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
NASA launches penultimate flight today
With almost 19 years, 25 flights and 110 million miles of space travel under its belt, the Endeavour will launch for the final time today. Hundred of thousands of onlookers, including President Barack Obama, will be on hand to watch the liftoff at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After completing its 14-day mission, the shuttle will eventually head to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
The shuttle will deliver a $2 billion particle physics detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the international space station. NASA hopes the detector - which was designed to search for antimatter, strange matter and dark matter that make up much of our universe - will lend insight into the birth of the cosmos and unlock new information about radiation dangers that exist in space. The shuttle's final mission will also be the second to last mission in the history of the US space programme.
Air India pilots continue to strike
The Indian pilot strike entered its third day Friday, forcing Air India to operate only 50 flights compared to the 320 daily flights it normally makes. The airline has already fired six pilots and suspended seven, but has threatened to terminate more striking pilots if they don't return to work today, the Hindustan Times reports.
The national carrier claims to be losing about Rs 40 million per day and initiated contempt of court proceedings against the pilots in the Delhi High Court Thursday. Around 800 pilots are demanding fixed salary and a probe into alleged mismanagement, among other things. Negotiations have not gone smoothly.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways is trying to capitalise on the work stoppage.
A dozen airport employees charged for drug smuggling
US federal agents arrested 12 people Thursday, 10 of whom were Delta Airlines baggage handlers, believed to be part of two separate drug-smuggling rings based at Detroit Metro Airport in Michigan, the Detroit News reports. The suspects have allegedly imported hundreds of pounds of marijuana and cocaine since 2009. The investigation focuses on separate cases of transporting drugs from Jamaica and Houston, Texas.
Smugglers used crude methods, such as putting the drugs in luggage marked with a red X or with black or white plastic bags tied to the bags' handles. "This organisation was brazen enough not to conceal the drugs in clothes... but they brazenly put the drugs in pieces of luggage", special agent Brian Moskowitz told the Detroit Free Press.
"There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying", said CBS News correspondent Lara Logan describing the sexual assault she endured while reporting for 60 Minutes during the uprising in Cairo's Tahrir Square on 11 February. "I thought not only am I going to die, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on forever." An angry mob tore off her clothes and beat her for more than 40 minutes. The interview will air Sunday on 60 Minutes.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
@caitlinmoran, "Have now spent so much time watching Royal Wedding shows that I'm burbling "William is just a GOOD MAN - LET HIM LOVE" and crying."
@DougSaunders, "There are reportedly 12,000 journalists at the Royal Wedding. The entire African continent has perhaps 500 Western journalists at any time."
@DeathStarPR, "Kate, we're not saying DON'T marry William, but will you REALLY enjoy being regularly kidnapped by dark wizards, supervillains & Bowser?"