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Fri Aug 25: Pluto; Castro; Organ


Pluto Demoted
For 76 years we've been memorising Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto any way we can. Pluto's been 9th since its discovery in 1930 by American, Clyde Tombaugh. But that's all changed now and soon all those school text books will need to be altered because Pluto doesn't exist anymore. The International Astronomical Union has been discussing Pluto's status all week, and overnight they delivered the astronomical bombshell - Pluto is no more than a hunk of rubble left over from when the solar system formed. At just 2360 kms across, the size of North America, it is too small. So what now for Pluto? We speak to John Field from the Carter Observatory in Wellington.

The Fidel Castro Story
It's been more than a fortnight since the Cuban dictator was seen in public. But in the great traditions of communism, photos of a seemingly healthy Castro have been plastered across the agencies and we're told that his brother Raul is in complete control. Cut Castro's 80 now. Details of his gastro surgery are a closely guarded state secret in Cuba. Cuban watchers say the next big test of his health will be early next month when Cuba hosts the non-aligned movement. We talk to Peter Kombluh, an American expert in Document Declassification. He's studied thousands of papers and archive documents about life in Castro's Cuba.

Royal Organ
It was one of those happy discoveries, Indra Hughes, one of our most accomplished musicians, was surfing the net for a new chamber organ when he stumbled upon the ultimate - the finely crafted organ built specially to accompany Dame Kiri te Kanawa at Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981. For reasons unknown, the organ was being sold by Princeton University. Indra thought it was too good to refuse and now the organ's taking pride of place in Auckland.


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