Tag Archive: Pacific Ocean

DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) is shown in this undated artist's conception, released August 11, 2011. REUTERS/DARPA/Handout

An unmanned experimental aircraft designed to glide down from the upper atmosphere at 20 times the speed of sound lost contact with ground control on its second test flight on Thursday, a Pentagon agency said.

The Falcon HTV-2 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a rocket and successfully separated from the launch vehicle, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said.

The arrowhead-shaped plane was expected to separate from the rocket near the peak of its ascent and glide back to earth, reaching hypersonic speed before rolling and plunging into the Pacific ocean, according to a test diagram posted online.

About 10 minutes after the flight began, DARPA tweeted that the mission was “on track, entering glide phase.” But about 26 minutes later, DARPA tweeted that its monitoring stations had lost contact with the glider.

“Downrange assets did not reacquire tracking or telemetry,” DARPA tweeted about an hour later. “HTV-2 has an autonomous flight termination capacity.”

The loss of communications in the final stages of the test flight was a failure for the agency. During the initial flight test in April, researchers lost contact with the vehicle about nine minutes into the flight.

The Falcon HTV-2 glider is part of the Defense Department‘s effort to build what it calls a “prompt global strike” capability that would enable it to hit targets worldwide within an hour with conventional or nuclear warheads.


International Space Station 2020


MOSCOW — A Russian space official said Wednesday that once the mammoth International Space Station is no longer needed it will be sent into the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a plan that’s long been in the works and is a step to avoid the station becoming dangerous space junk. It was supposed to plunge into the ocean as early as 2015. The U.S. recently extended its life until at least 2020, and there’s been talk of keeping it going even longer.

Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Russian space agency, said the orbiting outpost will be destroyed in a controlled descent to Earth “so that there is no space junk left behind.”

Russia sank its Mir space station in the Pacific in 2001 after 15 years in operation. Skylab, America‘s first space station, fell from orbit in 1979 after six years in space.

The International Space Station is the biggest orbiting outpost ever built and can sometimes be seen from the Earth with the naked eye. It’s now big enough for six residents.

It now consists of more than a dozen modules built by the U.S., Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency.

On a small uninhabited island that’s but a small dot on the Pacific, 15 marooned people joined hands to form a giant “SOS” on the beach. Washed up in a deserted paradise, all the castaways could do was to hope that someone would spot them.

It sounds like an episode of “Survivor” but the 15 people — six children and nine adults — are from Chuuk, a group of islands in the Federated States of Micronesia. And this was no television drama.

Missing since Tuesday, after their small boat hit a coral reef and overturned, the castaways were finally spotted and are awaiting rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard, said spokesman Ensign Richard Russell.

He said they would be rescued after daylight Saturday.

The 15 people — between the ages of 4 and 59 — were heading from Chuuk to Ruo Island for an outing for the children. Their skiff’s hull was damaged when they hit the coral reef, Russell said.

They dragged the hull to the beach and waited. Their only link to the outside world was a solar-powered radio.

A long-range Navy search plane flew over the area after the Coast Guard received a report of the missing skiff from another vessel in the area.

“Once on scene, the aircraft reported back that a damaged vessel was overturned on the beach and several crude shelters had been erected on the beach,” a Coast Guard statement said.

“Three other boats could be seen on the island and people on the shore began waving at the plane as it soared overhead.”

It was like finding a needle in a haystack, Russell said. A 28-foot boat lost in the world’s largest ocean.

The Chuuk State Department of Transportation reported the boat missing to the Coast Guard Tuesday morning when it was overdue at Ruo Island.

The national government of the Micronesian federation, the Chuuk state government and the Guam sector of the Coast Guard coordinated a joint search to find the boat.

The Federated States of Micronesia is a democratic island group in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Indonesia. Independent since 1986, the vast archipelago of hundreds of tiny islands comprises a land mass of just 702 square miles, about the size of Singapore. It includes the Chuuk Islands, Yap Islands, Kosrae and Pohnpei.

CORONADO, Calif. — Two fatal tragedies in a week at a century-old oceanfront mansion have created a stunning summer mystery for residents and tourists in this rich beach town where serious crime is rarely a visitor.

“Coronado is that small town that a lot of people remember as a child,” says Sharyn Crown, a longtime local real-estate broker. “But it’s a very sophisticated town.”

This resort community of 25,000 people across the bay from San Diego swells in the summer with tens of thousands of tourists and part-time residents, many of them Arizonans escaping the desert heat at the closest U.S. beach.

Among them is Jonah Shacknai, who struck it rich after founding a cosmetic pharmaceuticals company in Arizona and four years ago paid $12.75million for a historic property here facing the Pacific Ocean. Known as the Spreckels Mansion, his home — more than 12,700 square feet with 12 bedrooms and 10 baths — was the scene last week of twin tragedies that claimed the lives of his girlfriend and 6-year-old son, Max.

Rebecca Zahau, 32, an ophthalmology technician, was found early last Wednesday hanging from a balcony in the home. Sgt. Roy Frank of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s homicide unit said she was naked, her hands and feet were bound, and her neck was in a makeshift noose.

Two days earlier, Max was rushed to the hospital after suffering what the family said was a fall on a mansion staircase. The child’s death was announced Sunday.

Max’s death has been treated as an accident, but Frank said Zahau’s death remains a mystery.

“We know it’s not a natural death. We don’t believe it’s accidental,” he said. “Now it comes down to suicide or homicide. Sometimes suicide and homicide can look the same at first glance.”

Results of Zahau’s autopsy have been sealed. Frank said investigators are withholding details of the scene while they pursue the case. He declined to say what was used to bind her hands and feet, but he said her hands were behind her back.

“I think this case essentially is going to be solved by forensics,” Frank said. “We’re hopeful that evidence will tell a story and solve this mystery.”

Frank said only Zahau and Jonah Shacknai’s younger brother Adam were in the house at the time of her death. He said Adam Shacknai cut down Zahau’s body, attempted to revive her and called Coronado police, who brought in the sheriff’s department to handle the case.

The initial call came to police about 6:45 a.m., but a time of death has not been determined.

Jonah Shacknai was in San Diego County when her body was found, Frank said. “We’re not disclosing where he was staying,” he added.

Records detail stormy marriage

Shacknai, 54, is founder and CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutical of Scottsdale, Ariz. He was divorced from his second wife, Dina, in January, after repeated stormy encounters.

Police in Paradise Valley, Ariz., released reports Monday detailing domestic incidents. In 2008, Shacknai reported that his wife had tried to choke him. His wife told police she was bitten by the family’s German shepherd during the incident, and there had been other similar cases. In 2009, she called police and reported he elbowed her in the chest during a quarrel. He denied hurting his wife and alleged she attacked him. No arrests were made.

The couple released a statement Monday saying of Max’s death, “His loss is unimaginable.”

The Arizona Republic reported that after they separated, Dina Shacknai kept a home of her own at the Coronado estate, and Jonah Shacknai lived in the main mansion with Zahau.

A shock to a ‘lovely’ town

Scores of beachgoers walk by the mansion daily, a short walk from the fabled Hotel del Coronado. In the mansion’s front yard rests a small shrine of flowers and Zahau’s picture. Except for the occasional TV news truck out front, beachgoers paid little attention to the home, though many said they were following the case.

Joe and Lisa Suttell of Phoenix, who brought their two children to the beach across Ocean Boulevard from the mansion, said Coronado is hugely popular with Arizona residents, and the twin tragedies won’t diminish vistors’ enthusiasm for the quiet, if traffic-clogged, resort town.

“It’s just a very relaxing, kid-friendly kind of place,” Joe Suttell said.

Mary Ann Voevodsky of Prescott, Ariz., said she and her husband Steve and their daughter Hanna have been coming here every summer or fall since 2001. “You never think of something like this happening in a community like this,” she said.

Tex Lawrence, 85, a retired Marine colonel, said the news was a shock to his “lovely” town.

“It’s going to make me sick,” he said.

Younger residents were fascinated by the mystery.

“It’s like nothing ever happens here, so it’s a big deal,” said Margarita Navarro, a high school junior. “It’s really scary.”

Crown, the real estate broker, said the community respects privacy. Shacknai’s purchase of the 1908 mansion scarcely attracted notice, she said.

“It’s a very strange story for any town, but particularly this town,” she said. “Things like this don’t really happen here.”

Aigaletaule’ale’a F. Tauafiafi





The riots in Apia last weekend have challenged the role of the church in society.

Possible causes and a number of answers have unearthed with the village councils and the Police coming together to protect Samoa’s tranquility.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, the matai of Apia and Matautu and the Minister of Police, Sala Pinati all agree that to church plays a vital role in order to avoid riots and civil unrest.

Reverend Nu’uausala Siaosi Siutaia, of the Apia Protestant Church, agrees.
“This is our duty, this is our work,” he said.

It’s not about getting people to go to church.
“It’s about getting people to be re-born in the church.

We can, preach and preach and preach but many times we don’t have the effect. It’s from within the person because as Paul said, ‘whoever is in Christ is reborn’.”
That’s where the answer lies and where the church needs to work, he said.

“This is it. If we fail, we are failing to produce new people for the kingdom. We should not be after church-going people because it does not necessarily mean you’re in the kingdom. That’s where my vision is.

The solution has everything to do with us, Ministers of the cloth.”
The PM Tuilaepa has said the church needs to step up to the plate.

“Church ministers need to remind and advise parents of their roles because there are times when parents lapse in their role. So when their children are involved in something like what happened and police arrest their children then they realized they haven’t done their parental duty.”

Tuilaepa added that the Government is being proactive to keep peace and order in Samoa through a couple of initiatives.
First is the increase in the number of police outposts.

“We have new ones in Afega and in Savai’i.”
He confirmed their effectiveness with the police post at Vaitele reducing the number of incidents in the neighbourhood in which he resides.
Second is increasing the number of colleges in the rural areas.

Graduating rural senior secondary schools to colleges is important “as it keeps students in their constituency and under the supervision of parents and villages. And that means they don’t come to the main centres and beyond that window of control.”
He expects a reduction in the type of school violence that briefly erupted last month as a result.

The government target is “twenty-five colleges by the beginning of next year that includes Falealili, Aleipata and also Savai’i.”
Deep in the c

entre of last weekend’s riots is Reverend Nu’uausala.
So far, the cause of the riots is still being investigated by police.

But one report says it started from a small fight between Apia and Matautu youths that escalated with the influence of parents over the two days.
The riots left physical scars on his church and emotional and spiritual wounds on the man.

But from the pain he’s come out swinging.
“In many ways we thank God for the improvements in development, our way of living and so forth but unfortunately it also develops and bring bad thing.

“And that’s a big concern”, he said.
He calls it a paradigm shift of development and Samoa is suffering its consequences.

“Because the availability of news and media and all these things have an effect through what we see and what we hear. And our youths copy and increase those bad habits coming through.”
But his main issue is with alcohol.

“In my personal view alcohol the cause. I wish the night clubs can be taken away and there are counseling services available to the people who cannot handle their liquor – this is a national problem.”

I wish said Rev. Nuuausala, “there’s a way to ban alcohol. I know it’s a bad word for those who love their beer because its something where they go to enjoy and relax but if it becomes a root of evil then where should our responsibility and priorities lie?

“Is it right to let that evil roam and be at risk to abusers? Should we let them drink to beyond their control and do nothing?”
The effect of alcohol he says paralyses, “your system, your way of thinking, your sense of balance, of morals. It’s physiological so if you drink alcohol and get drunk those are the impacts.

“But it’s the individual that is affected who inside, has the will to respond positively.”
He said for people who switch to something wild because of alcohol or drugs, “Messiah is in you and can help give them control and counter the physiological effects of the evil.”

Drugs, he said is also another key cause for the deteriorating moral fibre of youths today.
That was apparent when the church he said was deliberately attacked.

“The respect our forefathers is eroded that things supposed to be sacred. And that’s a reason for great sadness.”
The solution he said, “All of us were born with the same good and bad things in us. But its from within us where the solution is found.

“I know that because there are Reverends in the church who came from that background of gangs, drugs and so forth. And they know what happened and they know where they are now. To me that’s the only hope.”

If people know inside that they are doing something wrong then they steer away.
That’s what happened in countries where there have been a revival said Rev. Nuuausala.

“In Wales and certain parts of Europe people do not go to night clubs they no longer gambled because their lives have been changed when they have Christ in them.
“It boils down to us the church. This is our duty, this is our work.”



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