Mysterious sonic booms near Seattle caused after violation of Obama airspace

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Thanks for Retuning!

The military scrambled fighter jets, and the two sonic booms from the Air National Guard F-15s startled many people throughout the Puget Sound area.

The Cessna 180 float plane was flying to a seaplane base on Lake Washington, next to Seattle, from Lake Chelan, in eastern Washington, said Laura Joseph, a passenger on the plane from Normandy Park. She told The Associated Press that neither she nor the pilot, Lee Daily, knew about Mr Obama’s visit or the air restrictions that accompany such a high-profile trip.

The Secret Service interviewed Mr Daily after he landed at Kenmore Air on the north end of the lake, which had been shut down for the duration of the presidential campaign stop on Tuesday.

John Cornelio, North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman, said the civilian aircraft had left the restricted area before the two jets arrived from the Portland, Oregon-based 142nd Fighter Wing and that there was no intercept. He confirmed the jets produced the sonic booms.

Miss Joseph said she saw an F-15 outside the window as the plane approached Seattle.

“I saw a jet, just a white jet going by,” she said. “I thought it was kind of odd to see a military jet.”

The fighter only passed by the float plane once and didn’t take any other action, she said.

She added that she and Daily didn’t know anything was wrong until they landed and were told they had to talk to the Secret Service.

Mr Obama was in Seattle to stump for Sen Patty Murray on a three-day campaign swing for endangered Democrats.

Air Force One was on the ground at King County International Airport/Boeing Field in south Seattle at the time of the incident shortly after 1:30 pm local time. The president’s plane departed Seattle at 3:47.

The two sharp booms, a few seconds apart, rattled windows in Seattle. Fire and police officials throughout the region said they were swamped with calls.

Pictured: ultimate millionaire’s toy boat ‘built like a shark that flies through air’

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The £60,000 James Bond style craft, called Seabreacher X, can reach up to speeds of 50 mph on water or 25 mph after diving below the surface.

The two-seater boat, built in the same shape and length (about 12 feet) as a shark, is kitted out with all the luxuries a millionaire would want.

Among the high-tech features includes a snorkel mounted video camera that can transmit live video to LCD screens for the pilot and passenger during dives, GPS navigation and on board stereo with iPod docking.

Driving similar to a high-powered jetski, the snorkel supplies air to the 260hp supercharged engine.

It can “sustain high speed dives and then breach the surface launching the entire vessel clear out of the water” while mimicking the “tail articulation of real aquatic animals like sharks and dolphins”. It takes about three months to build.

Its inventors hope the part jet-ski, part boat will cash in on the lucrative water sports market after figures showed that every year spend Americans spend on average $34 billion on the industry.

Seabreacher’s co-owner, Rob Innes, 37, a self confessed “water sports fanatic”, described the experience as “intense, extreme play”.

“The seabreacher is really for people with a large disposable income who want to have fun,” he told the Daily Mail.

“It’s pretty popular in the Middle East, but we’ve also sold them to clients in Korea and the Caribbean.”

“The new drag-boat style wrap-around canopy was primarily designed to reduce heat build up in the cockpit.”

He added: “This, combined with the gaping jaws, give the whole vessel a far more menacing presence.

“This isn’t a submarine, you’re not going to visit the Titanic in it. It’s more of a cross between a plane and a boat, and we’ve been improving the models constantly so they can do more and more tricks.”

Mr Innes said a U.S. Navy research officer visited his company’s Redding, Northern California base to inspect the designs.

The company plans to build 10 of this particular model with two already pre-sold. It is based on a previous model that is shaped similar to a dolphin.

Satire banned in Brazil ahead of presidential election

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Dubbed the “anti-joking law”, the relic of Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship prohibits ridiculing candidates in the three months before elections.

Critics say the ban threatens free speech and is a blight on the reputation of Latin America’s largest nation.

“Do you know of any other democracy in the world with rules like this?” asked Marcelo Tas, the acerbic host of a weekly TV comedy show that skewers politicians and celebrities alike.

“If you want to find a bigger joke, you would have to look to Monty Python.”

Proponents say the restrictions keep candidates from being portrayed unfairly, help ensure a level playing field and encourage candour by those seeking to replace centre-Left President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Making fun of candidates on air ahead of elections is punishable by fines up to £72,000 and a broadcast license suspension.

Only a few fines have ever been handed out. But Mr Tas and others said TV and radio stations had been self-censoring their material in order to avoid the fines.

The law holds that TV and radio programmes cannot “use trickery, montages or other features of audio or video in any way to degrade or ridicule a candidate, party or coalition”.

Because the internet is not licensed by the government, it is not covered under the law.

But if a TV or radio programme were to ridicule a candidate online, a complaint could be judged by the supreme electoral court.

Fernando Neves, a former head of the electoral court, defended the law as fair-minded.

“A broadcaster cannot make jokes that make one candidate look bad,” he told the O Globo newspaper.

But Mr Tas advised Brazilian politicians to follow the example of US President Barack Obama.

“The growth curve of Obama’s popularity grew after he appeared on humour programmes,” Mr Tas said. “When you allow yourself to be interviewed or confronted with a critical opinion, like on my programme, you may take some shots, but you can show a more human side that the voters might like.

“Humour is nothing more than the exaggeration of reality. You can make an observation that is a caricature of reality that just may help people think about an issue in another light.”

Teacher completes 37,000 mile African motorbike ride

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Spencer Conway, 42, was shot at by armed bandits in Kenya, stoned by angry villagers in Egypt, robbed at the border between Namibia and Angola and held up for weeks at a time waiting for visas and spare parts during his nine-month journey through 34 countries.

He arrived back home in Biddenden, Kent, where he had an emotional reunion with his family including partner Cathi and daughters Feaya, 13, and Jez, 15.

Mr Conway, who has so far raised more than £26,000 for Save the Children, said: ”It’s amazing to be back, although I think I’m experiencing something like reverse culture shock.

”I went 2,000km without seeing another person at one point so it’s quite hard to adjust.

”It’s absolutely wonderful to be back though. As I neared home a whole load of bikers met me and drove me back to the village where a crowd had gathered to welcome me.”

Speaking back in March, Mr Conway said the terrifying encounter when three gunmen opened fire on him as he rode along an isolated stretch of dirt road on the border between Kenya and Tanzania was ”the most violent thing that’s ever happened to me”.

He said he was lucky to escape the incident uninjured although his bike did not fare so well, and he was forced to abandon it and continue on foot when one of its wheels fell off.

But Mr Conway, who spent most nights camped in the bush alone, said the experience did not put him off continuing with his journey.

The 37,000-mile trip on his trusty Yamaha XT660 took him first to Tunisia, then across Libya and down the eastern side of the continent to the Cape before returning along the Western coast, passing through the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), regarded as one of the most unstable countries in the world.

He also had to skirt several war zones and fell off his bike countless times as he crossed the Sahara desert twice, the Kalahari once and rode through glutinous mud and torrential rain on roads that were little more than jungle tracks.

Mr Conway, who left his job as an English teacher to undertake the trip last November, grew up in Africa where his parents worked for the British Council.

Although other motorcyclists have made long journeys across or through Africa, including for the BBC Two documentary Long Way Down, he is the first to have gone all the way round the continent without the benefit of a support team.

More information about his trip can be found at

Skateboarding priest becomes YouTube hit

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BUDAPEST (Reuters Life!) – A Hungarian Roman Catholic priest has become a YouTube hit with his distinctive method of spreading the word on wheels.

The Reverend Zoltan Lendvai, 45, who lives and preaches in Redics, a small village on Hungary’s border with Slovenia, believes skateboarding can open the way to God for young people.

The video of him in action, Funny Priest Skateboarding, has so far attracted close to 170,000 hits and now also has a music version.

Lendvai says he follows the ways of Saint John Bosco, an Italian priest and educator in the 19th century who dedicated his life to improving the lot of poor youngsters and used games as part of their education.

“Many times I have felt that this is the way I can bring many people a bit closer to Jesus,” he told Reuters.

He learned the skills of skateboarding at the age of 14 at school but it was only later, when he served as a priest in the town of Kormend in northwest Hungary, that he realized the impact his skill could have on youngsters.

He said three boys aged between 16 and 18 who had never attended church before started coming regularly after he showed them a few skateboard tricks.

His first board bore the papal coat of arms and he has since given away at least six to his young parishioners.

The video is “>here

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Steve Addison)