Residents of Tonga look forward to Mir falling on their heads

Residents of the island state of Tonga, situated in the south-eastern Pacific, hope that remnants of the Russian Mir space station will fall on their island. The people of the island, who number 98,000, are sure that if Mir fragments fall at least into their gardens, if not on their heads, they can demand compensation for physical and moral damage. In the view of a local astronomer who lives in Nukualofa, the capital of Tonga, if something from Mir falls on Tonga, lawsuits will be such as to well provide for all islanders and even for their descendants. The Finance Minister of Tonga, according to Austrian newspapers, "is already dreaming" of consolidating the state's budget with compensations "without resorting to unpopular measures of economy on some items," RIA Novosti reports. In New Zealand, which is also close to the place where Mir will plunge, people look calmly to the March 23 event. Wellington authorities only warned sailors and pilots that on Friday some parts of a space station may likely fall on the ground. And the government of Japan, whose southern tip will be overflown by Mir in the last minutes of its existence, has warned all residents of the country that during a minimum 40 minutes that the station is supposed to be falling they should not leave their houses.

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