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Test-tube trees and a dead pig on a president’s helicopter: past headlines

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Soviet scientists planning the conception of a baby in space and the production of test-tube trees in the Philippines made the headlines four decades ago this week.

July 30, 1978

● Two Soviet cosmonauts walked in space for two hours and five minutes – the longest spacewalk carried out under the country’s space programme – to replace scientific equipment on the outside of the orbiting Salyut 6 space station. One of the purposes of the operation was to test a new kind of spacesuit made of semi-hard materials, Moscow radio reported. Among the items carried back to the space station by the cosmonauts were a piece of equipment for monitoring micro-meteors, cassettes containing rubber and other construction materials being tested for their durability in space conditions, and cartridges containing biological polymers from the atmosphere.

A nude pageant, long-lost siblings reunited and an escaped elephant: past headlines

July 31, 1978

● A provincial military court in central Thailand sentenced a 17-year-old boy to 366 years and eight months in jail for killing six people – including a two-year-old girl – during a robbery. The court originally handed down a death sentence but commuted it to a jail term as the defendant was still a minor. The boy had committed the crime with four........

© South China Morning Post