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Microsoft Vista Launch Promoted With Space Ride Prize

Attendees walk under an advertisement for Microsoft's Windows Vista outside the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show 09 January 2007 in Las Vegas. The world's largest consumer technology tradeshow runs through 11 January and features 2,700 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. Photo courtesy AFP
by Staff Writers
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 09, 2007
A Microsoft online puzzle game launched this week promises to send the winner on a rocket ride into orbit around the Earth. The Redmond, Washington-based software giant teamed with computer chip maker Advanced Micro Devices to promote the new Vista operating system with Vanishing Point, a "large-scale online and offline collaborative puzzle game." Microsoft is to launch the home version of Vista on January 30.

The companies used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as a venue on Monday to reveal prizes including Microsoft Zune MP3 players, Xbox 360 video game consoles, Vista-based computers, and a sub-orbital space ride.

A NASA-trained astronaut will take the winner just beyond the Earth's atmosphere for "the ultimate vista" courtesy of Rocketplane Limited Inc., Microsoft said.

The puzzle game challenged players worldwide to decipher clues from "spectacular events at various locations" beginning on Monday at the Bellagio Casino here, according to Microsoft.

A taunting video interspersed with numbers, symbols, equations and the hint "it's all about time" was projected onto dancing fountains in front of the casino after dark.

Players have established online forums and wikis -- web pages that visitors can modify -- devoted to the game, the companies said.

Microsoft created the website to provide rules, videos of clues, a "count down" and other information.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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The Key To Peace Is The Golan Heights
Washington (UPI) Jan 05, 2007
To open a door, you need a key. And to open peace talks in the Middle East, you also need a key. In the latter case the key is the Golan Heights. Captured from Syria by Israel in the June 6, 1967 Six Day War, recuperating the Heights remains a major priority for the Syrian government. Without the Golan, no peace initiative in the Middle East would have much of a chance. As an official government Syrian newspaper put it in an editorial earlier this week, "for Syria the Golan is the key."

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