Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers has admitted he accidentally called American emergency services by dialling 911 from orbit during his time aboard the International Space Station.

The 60-year-old, who spent more than 200 days among the stars over two separate missions in 2004 and 2011, owned up to the error in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"If you're in space, it's like you're making a call via Houston, first you dial the 9 for an outside line and then 011 for an international line," he said.


Three children have to take a flight from a remote Scottish island so they can learn to swim.

Freyja Parnaby, six, Grace Parnaby, nine, and Lewis Wright-Stanners, nine, regularly travel from the Fair Isle to Shetland for their lessons. Each time they face the potential that their flight home may be cancelled due to adverse weather, leaving them stranded on the mainland.

The children, from Fair Isle Primary School, take the 25-minute flight with their head teacher Ruth Stout, funded by the education department. She said: "As we don't have a pool on Fair Isle, for the kids to be able to learn to swim we simply have to fly to the nearest pool. It's not the smoothest journey from Fair Isle to Tingwall - in the summer there can be too much fog to fly and in the winter too much wind."


A retired couple who offered the chance to win their £500,000 four-bedroom home and swimming pool with a £10 raffle ticket have had to close the competition with "sincere regret and upset".

Robert and Avril Smith announced last year that they were hoping to sell 60,000 of the £10 tickets giving the public a chance to win their home in Grosmont, North Yorkshire. The winner was due to be drawn on Thursday, but Mr and Mrs Smith said they are "back to square one" after being told by the Gambling Commission that it was not a legal prize competition.

In a post on the website set up by the couple to administer the competition, they said: "We understand the disappointment to you all and can only apologise sincerely as well as offer a full refund."


A rescue operation is under way to help a sperm whale believed to be tangled in rope in a loch.

Coastguards were called to Loch Eriboll, near Durness in Sutherland, by the Scottish SPCA at around 12.30pm on Wednesday.

The 30ft-long mammal is believed to be trapped in the sea loch and a British Divers Marine Life Rescue Team is en route with a disentanglement kit. A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said the sperm whale is still swimming and urged the public to keep a safe distance.


Two inmates escaped from Greece's largest prison at Korydallos, west of Athens, by apparently cutting the bars of their cell and scaling the prison walls.

The two men, brothers who were convicted of thefts and robberies, apparently escaped after the evening roll-call, police said.

They cut through the bars of their cell and emerged into a small courtyard, from where they used a makeshift rope and hook made of bag straps and a rock to scale the prison's outer wall, officers said. Prison authorities discovered the prison break during the morning roll-call.


A bullet fired into the air fell through a church roof in Texas and nearly struck a pastor conducting a New Year's Eve service, officials said.

Pastor Evan Risher said he was preaching at Ramp Church in Fort Worth when a bullet landed on the ground in front of him. About 300 people were inside the church at the time. No-one was hurt.

Mr Risher said he picked up the .40-calibre bullet and incorporated it into his sermon. The bullet was fired from outside the church. Mr Risher said police believe the bullet came from people firing celebratory gunshots shortly before midnight.