WWH/CJE Saturday News Briefs
Your billions of tax dollars. Where does all the money go?
WASHINGTON — The United States is facing a year or more without crucial satellites that provide invaluable data for predicting storm tracks, a result of years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements, according to several recent official reviews.
The looming gap in satellite coverage, which some experts view as almost certain within the next few years, could result in shaky forecasts about storms like Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to hit the East Coast early next week.
The endangered satellites fly pole-to-pole orbits and cross the Equator in the afternoon, scanning the entire planet one strip at a time. Along with orbiters on other timetables, they are among the most effective tools used to pin down the paths of major storms about five days ahead.
All this week, forecasters have been relying on such satellites for almost all the data needed to narrow down what were at first widely divergent computer models of what Hurricane Sandy would do next: hit the coast, or veer away into the open ocean?
Right on schedule, the five-day models began to agree on the likeliest answer. By Friday afternoon, the storm’s center was predicted to approach Delaware on Monday and Tuesday, with powerful winds, torrential rains and dangerous tides ranging over hundreds of miles. More…
5TH TIBETAN IN WEEK SETS SELF ON FIRE IN CHINA
BEIJING (AP) — A man in his early 20s has become the fifth Tibetan in a week to set himself on fire and die in a county in far-western China to protest against Chinese rule, the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile said Saturday.
Tsepag Kyab, 21, set himself on fire Friday evening at a bus station in Amuquhu town in Xiahe county, the Central Tibetan Administration said.
A separate report by the London-based rights group Free Tibet identified the man as 23-year-old Tsewang Kyab. It said Tsepag is likely to be his formal name while Tsewang was the name used by family and friends, and that the group relies on its sources for the man’s age.
Earlier Friday, a 24-year-old Tibetan farmer, Lhamo Tseten, died from self-immolation near a military base and a government office in Amuquhu, the group said. China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported the self-immolation of a Tibetan man by the same name, though it gave slightly different details. Xinhua said Lhamo was a 23-year-old villager and that he set himself on fire near a hospital. More…
CESIUM LEVELS IN FISH OFF FUKUSHIMA NOT DROPPING
TOKYO (AP) — Radioactive cesium levels in most kinds of fish caught off the coast of Fukushima haven’t declined in the year following Japan’s nuclear disaster, a signal that the seafloor or leakage from the damaged reactors must be continuing to contaminate the waters – possibly threatening fisheries for decades, a researcher says.
Though the vast majority of fish tested off Japan’s northeast coast remain below recently tightened limits of cesium-134 and cesium-137 in food consumption, Japanese government data shows that 40 percent of bottom-dwelling fish such as cod, flounder and halibut are above the limit, Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, wrote in an article published Thursday in the journal Science. More…
The nanny suspected of killing a Manhattan couple’s two young children began stabbing herself as the mother entered the bathroom and began screaming when she saw the dead bodies in the bathtub, New York’s police commissioner said on Friday.
The nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, had been employed by the family of Kevin and Marina Krim for two years before police said she killed their children and attempted suicide on Thursday in the family’s luxury apartment, police commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Ortega, who lived with her son and sister near the Krims’ apartment off Central Park, has been a naturalized US citizen for a decade, Kelly said, adding that she had been referred to the Krims by another family.
New York police were hoping to interview the critically wounded nanny later on Friday, said an NYPD official who requested anonymity. Ortega, 50, has not been charged because police have not been able to interview her.
“We know now that the nanny began to stab herself as the woman entered the bathroom,” Kelly said. “We initially thought it had already been done, but now information is coming out that she did it as the mother entered the room.”
Ortega remains the prime suspect in the stabbing death of the two children, Leo, two, and Lulu, six, Kelly said. More…
He will never see the inside of a prison. (Unless he,s there to rape some women.)
Italian former prime minister, who also faces accusations of sex with underage prostitute, can appeal twice more against ruling
Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to four years’ jail by an Italian court on Friday at the end of a lengthy trial for tax fraud related to the acquisition of TV rights by his company Mediaset – but it remains unlikely he will ever see a prison cell.
Under the Italian legal system, the country’s former prime minister will be entitled to two appeals before a definitive sentence. Berlusconi’s sentence will also be reduced to one year under a 2006 measure that stripped three years off sentences for crimes committed before that date.
Berlusconi was also banned from public office for five years and ordered to pay €10m (£8.3m) to the Italian tax office, measures that would take effect if his conviction is upheld by the two appeals.
Frank Agrama, the US-based manager who is accused of selling TV rights to Mediaset at inflated prices, was sentenced to three years, while chairman Fedele Confalonieri, who was also on trial, was acquitted. Two other employees of Berlusconi’s firms were also found guilty. More…