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A Century Before Felix Baumgartner, Eiffel Tower Parachutist Not So Successful (Video)



One hundred years before Felix Baumgartner, there was … Franz Reichelt.

According to French magazine Nouvel Observateur, this tailor from Vienna had moved to France as a young man and become a French citizen -- and an inventor. Reichelt created a prototype parachute that he believed could save the lives of aviators.

Although his tests mostly failed, Reichelt believed that this was because they were conducted from too low a base. He finally received permission to carry out a test on a dummy at the Eiffel Tower on February 4, 1912. To the surprise and dismay of his friends, instead of using a dummy, he insisted on jumping himself in his parachute suit, from only the first level of the tower, 200 feet above the ground.

A crowd was present and several cameramen filmed Reichelt’s attempt to float down. Unfortunately, a parachute needs more than 200 feet to deploy, and Reichelt was killed upon impact.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

The Red Sea Attack Shows Two Scenarios For How The Gaza War Goes Global

Houthi rebels in Yemen have escalated their maritime attacks in the strategically vital Red Sea. Both their links to Iran, and the decision to target key shipping routes raises the risks for international escalation.

Crowd of newly recruied Houthi rebels participating in a military parade carrying weapons and rocket launchers. Holding and wearing both the Palestine flag and the Yemen flag.

Newly recruited Houthi rebels marching in a military parade

Source: Osamah Yahya/ZUMA
Elias Kassem


CAIROKeep your eye on Yemen. The Houthi rebel group from the war-torn Gulf nation has not attracted the same attention over the past two months as the Lebanese militants of Hezbollah, considered the most immediate risk of setting the spark that could ignite the Hamas-Israel war beyond Gaza.

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Yet over the past 48 hours, a major Houthi attack on seaborne targets was launched with ballistic missiles and explosive-landed drones. The U.S. said one of its warships in the area shot down three drones in self-defense during the hours-long assault on the vessels, including the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer and the Panamanian-flagged bulk carriers Number 9 and Sophie II.

The Houthis claimed the attack in a statement read by their military spokesman, saying the targeted vessels have links with Israel, a claim Israel’s military denied.

“The Yemeni armed forces continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea (and Gulf of Aden) until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said in the statement.

The U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement that the attacks put at risk the lives of international crews working on the ships. And more broadly, CENTCOM warned that “these attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security.”

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