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Daily Archives: June 12, 2007

We want Beckham to stay, says Real president

 Image Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said on Sunday that the Spanish giant's were going to explore ways of trying to keep former England captain David Beckham at the club.
Beckham stunned the world by announcing on January 11 that he had signed a five-year deal, which could potentially be worth up to 250 million dollars, to move to American side LA Galaxy at the end of this month
"The public want him to stay and I want him to stay," Calderon told Spanish media in Paris, where he was attending the French Open tennis men's singles final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Switzerland's Roger Federer.
Calderon said that there was a clause in his contract with the LA Galaxy, which meant that he could stay in the Spanish capital, although it is the first time such an option has been mentioned publicly.

"We need to sit down with him (Beckham), his representatives and with (sporting director Predrag) Mijatovic, look at this clause, and decide between us, but for me I would be delighted if he remained at the club," said Calderon.
But Alexi Lalas, general manager of the Galaxy, rejected the notion Sunday that Beckham would opt out of his contract.
"I don't doubt that Real Madrid would love to have David Beckham next season but the reality is that ship has sailed," Lalas said. "We're looking forward to his arrival. Nothing has changed from our perspective."
In the event that Beckham does stay, and the 32 year-old repeatedly said before this season that he would like to end his career in the Spanish capital, it would herald a remarkable turnaround in relations between him and Real.
Two days after announcing he was crossing the Atlantic, Real coach Fabio Capello said that Beckham would never play again for the club and kept him on the sidelines for a month before recanting on his decision.
Capello is also believed to have told Calderon earlier in the season, before contract negotiations between Real and Beckham were due to get under way last autumn, that he didn't figure in his long-term plans.
"There was a bit of anger by the premature announcement of his exit, but we are now going to make an effort for him to stay," added Calderon on Sunday.
"Beckham has shown that he is a great player, with great pride.
"He is playing at a fantastic level and yesterday (on Saturday) he fought even though he was half-injured against Zaragoza."
Beckham's spokesman, however, insisted the player had "no intention" of turning his back on Los Angeles Galaxy.
"There is no intention of getting out of the Galaxy contract," his spokesman said. "David is looking forward to going to LA – but he wants to end his career at Real Madrid on a high note first, by winning the league."
Beckham is on the verge of picking up his first trophy since he joined Real in the summer of 2003.
Real, who have only lost one of their last 17 league games, are on top of La Liga and only need to beat Real Mallorca at home next Sunday in the final game of the season to secure their 30th Spanish championship.
Beckham's return to form over the second half of the season, despite also missing six weeks through injury, has been instrumental in their revival.
In the last four months, Real have put together a run which has seen them overhaul bitter rivals Barcelona, who are now second, and also third-placed Sevilla, who lead La Liga at the start of the year.

Atlantis shuttle mission lengthened for repair job

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Jean-Louis Santini*

NASA has added two days to the shuttle Atlantis's mission so that astronauts can repair a damaged thermal blanket on the vessel's exterior, the US space agency said late Monday.
The decision to add a fourth space walk to the Atlantis crew's schedule to fix the thermal blanket will mean a mission of 13 days in space rather than the originally planned 11 days, said John Shannon, head of the mission management team at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The announcement came after two Atlantis astronauts ventured out for the first space walk of the mission Monday.
Mission specialists John "Danny" Olivas and Jim Reilly emerged from an airlock on the station at 4:02 pm (2002 GMT) for a six hour, 15 minute foray into space to begin installing power-generating equipment on the International Space Station, hundreds of miles above the Earth.

Their job was to make power, data and cooling connections on a new 16-tonne truss segment containing solar panels. The enormous truss was attached in a delicate maneuver before the space walk with the help of the station's giant robotic arm.
The solar arrays, spanning 73 meters (240 feet), will dramatically increase ISS power generation to a potential 14 kilowatts. The power capacity will help serve new science modules from the European and Japanese space agencies planned for the future.
The solar arrays, folded up like an accordion, are to be unfurled on Tuesday.
The space walk was slightly delayed due to problems with "gyros" that control the orientation of the station, which flight controllers managed to repair, NASA said.
The shuttle — on its first mission of the year — docked with the ISS Sunday, after performing a dramatic backward somersault in space.
Two days were added to the trip so that the crew can repair a section of the ship's thermal insulation which peeled back on launch Friday, opening up a gap of several inches.
NASA has played down concerns over the damage to Atlantis. Shannon earlier said the damage is in a spot not exposed to the highest heat as the shuttle breaks through Earth's atmosphere.
Lift-off damage is a concern after the February 2003 shuttle disaster. The Columbia craft disintegrated as it returned to Earth due to breaks in its heat shield caused by foam insulation peeling off its fuel tank and striking a wing during the launch.
All seven astronauts aboard perished and the shuttle program was put on hold for nearly two and a half years while the space agency sought to overcome the problem, modifying the external fuel tank and setting procedures to check the heat shield while in orbit.
The Atlantis mission is the first this year. An earlier launch planned for March was scrubbed after the spacecraft was damaged by hail in a freak storm in February.
The ISS is a key stepping stone for preparing manned missions to Mars. NASA plans at least 13 more shuttle missions to finish the 100-billion-dollar station by 2010, when the agency retires its three-shuttle fleet.

* AFP

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