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Yasmine Naghdi is a First Artist and Marcelino Sambé is an Artist with The Royal Ballet. They are the two dancers featured in this year’s Pointe Shoe Appeal campaign.

 The Royal Opera House Pointe Shoes Appeal Competition entrants will be invited to guess how many shoes are contained within the tower to enter the chance to win a pair of tickets to a Royal Ballet in Rehearsal Insight Event on 24 April with tea and cake beforehand, and a backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. Designed by acrylic designers Talbot Designs, the tower will sit in the Royal Opera House until Thursday 17 April. Visitors will be invited to guess the number of shoes in the tower submitting their answers by posting a postcard into the tower, or Tweeting or Instagramming a photo of the tower with their guess using the hashtag #PointesWinPrizes

Ph. Dave Morgan

Nice to see they chose poc dancers to represent them! :)

Comet Catalina Tails : A new years treat for binoculars, as 2016 begins Comet Catalina now sweeps through planet Earths predawn skies near bright Arcturus, alpha star of Bootes. But this telescopic mosaic from December 21 follows the pretty tails of the comet across a field of view as wide as 10 full moons. The smattering of distant galaxies and faint stars in the background are in the constellation Virgo. Trailing behind the comets orbit, Catalinas dust tail fans out below and left in the frame. Its ion tail is angled toward the top right, away from the Sun and buffeted by the solar wind. On January 17, the outward bound visitor from the Oort Cloud will make its closest approach to Earth, a mere 110 million kilometers away, seen near bright stars along the handle of the Big Dipper. via NASA

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Gunmen in military uniforms killed 19 people on Wednesday in a midday attack on a museum in downtown Tunis, dealing a new blow to the tourist industry that is vital to Tunisia as it struggles to consolidate the only transition to democracy after the Arab Spring revolts.

Tunisian officials had initially said that the attackers took 10 hostages and killed nine people, including seven foreign visitors and two Tunisians. When security forces retook the museum about four hours later, however, the death toll more than doubled, raising questions about how and at what point the hostages had died. 

Prime Minister Habib Essid said in a news conference that security forces had killed two gunmen inside the museum but that two or three accomplices might still be at large. He said 17 foreign visitors — including Polish, Italian, Spanish and German tourists — as well as two Tunisians, one of whom was a member of the security forces, had been killed in the attack. At least 22 others were injured.

Mr. Essid urged national unity, calling the attack “the first operation of its kind ever to occur in Tunisia” because it struck the crucial tourist economy. “We will show no compassion and no mercy in defending our country,” he said.

The two gunmen killed were believed to be Tunisians, he said. Yet their identities and motivations were not immediately clear, and there was no claim of responsibility.

Tunisia is the Arab world’s most successful democracy, and recently completed its first free presidential elections and a peaceful rotation of political power. But its security forces have also struggled to quash occasional attacks by Islamist extremists, especially in its mountains, and Tunisia has emerged as one of the biggest sources of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria and Iraq.

—  The New York Times“Tunisia Gunmen Kill 19 at Museum”