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Balloonists in new attempt

A Swiss-Belgian team of balloonists is preparing to launch late today from Chateau-d'Oex, near Gstaad in Switzerland, in an attempt to fly non-stop around the world - just days after Richard Branson, boss of the Virgin group, almost died in a similar attempt.

The team will fly in a balloon of the same design as that used by the Virgin team, though much smaller and lighter. Meanwhile Steve Fossett, an American millionaire stock trader, was also waiting to make an attempt on the same record from St Louis, Missouri. Charles Arthur