China’s Liu Yang joins the ranks of record-breaking female astronauts

Liu Yang, a 33-year-old air force pilot, has become China's first female astronaut.
Liu made the record books as part of a crew of three on board the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft which launched on Saturday.
The Chinese spaceship has since docked with an orbiting module where the trio will live and work for several days as part of arrangements for crewing a permanent space station.
A native of Henan province, the mother of one joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force in 1997 and experienced as a pilot before becoming the deputy head of a flight unit, holding the PLAAF rank of major.
Liu underwent two years of astronaut training and was one of two female candidates who had been chosen to prepare for the mission.
She now joins a notable list of record-breaking female space explorers.
The first woman to orbit the Earth was Junior Lt Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (b. 6 Mar 1937, USSR), who was launched in Vostok 6 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on 16 Jun 1963. Vostok 6 landed at 8:20a.m. on 19 June, after a flight of 2days 22hr 50min and 48 orbits (1,971,000km 1,225,000miles). As well as holding the record for being the first female in space, having not been in the military, Valentina is also measured to be the first civilian in space.
American teacher school teacher Barbara Morgan made history in 2007 when she became the oldest female astronaut at the age of 55 after joining the crew of space shuttle mission STS-118 to the International Space Station (ISS), flown by the orbiter Endeavour.
The record for best ever spaceflight by a woman is currently held by American astronaut and United States Navy officer Sunita Williams, who spent 195 days in space during the Expedition 15 mission on the International Space Station in 2007.
Anousheh Ansari from Iran became the first female space tourist on 18 September 2006 when the Soyuz TMA-9 capsule blasted off for a 10-day visit to the International Space Station.
Businesswoman Ansari has had a lifelong fascination with space and is thought to have paid $20 million (£10.5 million) for the experience.

Royal Mail Group workers set charity record

The workforce of Royal Mail Group today became Guinness World Record title holders after the UK postal service was awarded the record for the most registered charities supported by a Payroll Giving Scheme.
One in four Royal Mail Group staff have supported a total of 975 registered charities and good causes by donating money direct from their pay. Around £45 million has been given by workers since starting the scheme 23 years ago. Over £2 million has been raised in the last year alone.
Help the Hospices, Barnardo's, County Air Ambulance Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and Royal Mail Group's own charity, the Rowland Hill Benevolent Fund, have all established cash sums from generous people.
Marek Toombs, Royal Mail Collection Planner for the South East, has donated money to the cancer charity Macmillan for the last seven years through the payroll giving scheme. It is a cause close to his heart.
"My mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when I was 11, and she passed away two years later," Marek explains.
Keen to see how his donations help, Marek visited a local Macmillan cancer centre at Gillingham's Medway Maritime Hospital.  The unit was funded jointly by Macmillan and Medway NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, and opened in 2009.  It offers chemotherapy facilities and a ground-breaking Cancer Information Service launched just over a year ago, which Macmillan is currently funding.
Marek said:" I was really impressed with the facilities. The services Macmillan offers there would certainly have helped my family when we were going through this.
"I'd like to think my donations have helped in a small way. However it is not necessary that people are touched personally in order to help.  Charities function and rely on people donating money to them and the payroll giving scheme is an excellent way to help these worthwhile causes."
Royal Mail Group received the Guinness World Records administrator credential at a special ceremony in London.
Chief Executive Officer, Moya Greene, who accepted the award on behalf of the company's payroll givers, said: "It's a tremendous honour for our people to receive this award from Guinness World Records.
"Our postmen and women play a vital and trusted role in every society across the UK. I am delighted that our postmen and women have been recognised as the world's best for donating to charity direct from their pay."
Gaz Deaves, Guinness World Records Adjudicator, said :"This Guinness World Record recognises the 975 registered charities supported and reflects the huge generosity of all those working at the Royal Mail, congratulations to all on this special world record."

Youngest Euro Player: Jetro Willems

Netherlands youngster Jetro Willems, who is 18 years and 71 days old, was elected at left back at the Euro 2012 Group B opener against Denmark - setting the new world record for the Youngest Euro Player.
  The previous world record was set by Belgium's Enzo Scifo, who was 18 years and 115 days when he faced Yugoslavia at the 1984 edition.
  The Guinness world record for the most vuvuzelas blown simultaneously was achieved by 12,511 viewers at the Vodacom Challenge soccer match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
  Guinness World Records also predictable the world record for the Largest collection of fotballs, set by Roberto. A. Fuglini (Argentina), who has 861 different soccer balls.
  It was only the third international manifestation for the teenager, who joined PSV from Sparta Rotterdam last August and did not play a single game in qualifying. He made his international debut against Bulgaria just a fortnight ago as a replacement for the injured Erik Pieters. 
  Willems, age 18 years and 71 days, was selected by coach Bert van Marwijk for the position left largely unclaimed since Giovanni van Bronckhorst retired after the World Cup final in 2010.
  Willems lined up alongside Feyenoord's Ron Vlaar, selected to deputise for Joris Mathijsen at centre-back after the experienced Malaga defender was ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in the 2-1 friendly loss to Bulgaria.
  Bert van Marwijk, the Netherlands coach, praised Willems afterwards when he said: "I wasn't surprised that he started very well. It was a good feeling because everything was new for him and he did well."
  Willems, incidentally, is 20 years younger than Kostas Chalkias, the Greece goalkeeper and oldest player in Poland and Ukraine at 38.


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