Drought takes key reservoir down to 6 percent of capacity

Halfway through the rainy season, the key reservoir for the hemisphere’s largest city holds just 6 percent of its capacity, and experts warned Friday that Sao Paulo authorities must take urgent steps to prevent the worst drought in more than 80 years from drying it out.

The system of reservoirs and rivers that provide water to millions in this city have received less rainfall than hoped during the first weeks of the wet season, raising fears they won’t be replenished as hoped. Rainfall during the first two weeks of January totaled just 2.9 inches, well below the historic average for the month of 10.7 inches.


British spacecraft found sitting on Mars after 11 years

It turns out the Beagle has landed after all – but it never called home.

The gone-but-not-forgotten spacecraft Beagle-2 went AWOL on Christmas Day 2003, when it was supposed to land on Mars and start transmitting data back to Earth.

Instead, the British-built craft went dark. After several months, it was declared lost – presumed to have been destroyed during its approach or while trying to land on the red planet.

On Friday, more than 11 years later, European Space Agency officials reported that the Beagle-2 had been finally found – thanks to extensive detective work based on new photos taken by the high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The photos show the craft landed safely on Mars and partially deployed – but was unable to fully deploy and start communicating.


Thousands protest over cafe’s treatment of lesbians

Thousands of people gathered in front of a renowned Vienna cafe to demonstrate against the expulsion of a kissing lesbian couple.

Police estimated around 2,000 people participated in the protest Friday, forcing the closure of one downtown street. Some of the demonstrators exchanged long kisses.

The manager of Cafe Prueckel has apologized for telling the couple to leave last weekend. But the pair – Anastasia Lopez and Eva Prewein – say the demonstration is meant to draw attention to the general prevalence of discrimination against gays in Vienna.


Protesters march, call for removal of the president

Several thousand supporters of Haitian opposition factions marched through the capital’s congested streets Friday chanting calls for the president’s removal amid political uncertainty accompanying the dissolution of parliament.

Many carried photos of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and declared allegiance to the Fanmi Lavalas party founded by the popular but also polarizing figure.

– From news service reports