Image of the week: Sloping off
On the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Alps, there was joy and heartache for participants in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – although in the case of Austrian skier Katharina Liensberger (left) and the Italian Marta Bassino, it was triumph for both, with the two women awarded joint gold in the women’s parallel giant slalom event. Beyond professional competition, however, the winter resorts stayed quiet this week, with the Italian government deciding last Sunday – on the eve of their expected re-opening – to keep them closed until at least March 5th, citing new virus strains and similar policies elsewhere in Europe. The new government led by prime minister Mario Draghi has promised to compensate resort owners and ski lift operators for their losses as the last weeks of the season approach.
In numbers: Demolition job
Casinos that former US president Donald Trump once had in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Alas, there must be an exception to the rule that any idiot can make money out of casinos.
The number he has now. The Taj Mahal, now the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Trump Marina, now the Golden Nugget, are both under new ownership after business failures.
Sticks of dynamite used this week to demolish the third of his casinos, the Trump Plaza, which has been vacant since 2014 – video footage of the event is available. Google has declared it “permanently closed”.
Getting to know: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Having seen off the challenge of South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, former Nigerian finance and foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed the new head of the World Trade Organisation, becoming the first woman and the first African to take the role. After surviving Nigeria’s civil war during her teenage years and dealing with kidnappers who took her mother hostage during her time as a minister, little should faze Okonjo-Iweala, no matter how protectionist global trade becomes. Shortly after her appointment, she warned that vaccine nationalism “just will not pay” and failure to help poorer countries access Covid-19 drugs and vaccines will only delay the end of the pandemic. Her mother, incidentally, was released after five days.
The list: Boldly going
Tired of working from home? Why not try space? The good news for anybody chasing another view from their window is that the European Space Agency (ESA) has launched its first recruitment drive in 12 years. But have you got what it’s looking for?
1. Qualifications. A Master’s degree in science, medicine, engineering or maths/computer science, or a degree as an experimental test pilot or test engineer, is not just preferred, it’s essential.
2. Experience. Three years of professional experience after graduation – long enough to make space an attractive alternative – is also required.
3. Motivation. “Working hours can be irregular,” reveals the ESA, so a high level of motivation is needed. “You must be flexible and able to cope with frequent travel both within and outside of Europe, and even off Earth.”
4. A physical disability. In a first for spaceflight, the ESA is on the hunt for at least one “para-astronaut” – somebody with a physical disability that would normally prevent them from being selected due to “current space hardware”.
5. Relative youth. The ESA is accepting applications from people who are qualified and “truly motivated” up to the age of 50. After that, it’s just too late, sorry.