Branson To Meet Virgin Space Team

Branson To Meet Virgin Space Team, Sir Richard Branson is set to meet with the team developing his Virgin Galactic project after his passenger spaceship crashed killing the pilot.

The Virgin Group founder has arrived in the desert and has described the journey to the crash site as “one of the most difficult trips I have ever had to make”.

He vowed to continue his space tourism venture despite the SpaceShipTwo craft crashing during a test flight over California’s Mojave Desert.

In a post on his website, Sir Richard said: “Space is hard – but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together.”

“We’ve always known that the road to space is extremely difficult – and that every new transportation system has to deal with bad days early in their history,” he added.

One pilot died in the crash and another was seriously injured when he ejected from the rocket plane and parachuted to the ground.

The fatality is the project’s fourth, with three killed in an explosion in 2007 while working for Scaled Composites, the company working with Virgin Galactic to build the rocket plane SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin Galactic, part of British billionaire Sir Richard’s Virgin Group, had been aiming to begin tourist flights to the edge of space next year.

SpaceShipTwo has been under development at the Mojave Air and Spaceport.

The tragedy occurred after SpaceShipTwo fired up its rocket following a high-altitude drop from Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo mothership.

Stuart Witt, chief executive of the space port, said the cause of the crash remains unclear.

Virgin Galactic said it will work with authorities to determine the cause of the accident. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating.

It is the second disaster involving a US spacecraft this week.

On Tuesday, another private company’s unmanned rocket exploded six seconds after launch on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Virgin Galactic’s 60ft (18 metre) long SpaceShipTwo was testing a redesigned rocket motor as it made its first powered flight since January.

The rocket plane, which was attached to the underside of WhiteKnightTwo, took off at 9.19am local time (4.19pm GMT) on Friday in California.

It is not the first accident involving SpaceShipTwo.

During testing for the development of its rocket motor in July 2007, an explosion at the Mojave spaceport killed three workers and critically injured three others.

Virgin Galactic aims to become the world’s first commercial “spaceline”, sending customers willing to pay up to $250,000 (£156,000) for a short journey into zero gravity and a glimpse of the planet from the edge of space.

Police: LA School Shooting Plot Thwarted

Police: LA School Shooting Plot Thwarted, School officials learned of the plot on Thursday and notified detectives, who began watching the 16- and 17-year-old boys and monitoring their online activity, South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller said.

The pair didn’t have a date for an attack or weapons, but their online messaging included the names of three staffers to target and threats to randomly kill students, Miller said.

They were also researching automatic firearms, handguns, knives, explosives and tactical techniques, he said.

“Three or four days’ worth of surveillance on the Internet indicated that they had a very real threat,” he said. “They had a plan in mind that they were going to execute.”

The names of the teens have not been released because of their ages. Police expect to present their case to the district attorney later in the day.

700 Troops Sent To Pakistan’s ‘Red Zone’

700 Troops Sent To Pakistan’s ‘Red Zone’, Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan’s parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country’s prime minister resign.

Government authorities had warned they would not allow protesters to enter Islamabad’s “Red Zone,” but the demonstrators met no immediate resistance from police or the hundreds of troops guarding the buildings.

Wearing masks and carrying makeshift shields, they hammered through barbed wire and locks connecting shipping containers that had been erected as a barrier around the zone, which also holds the president’s and prime minister’s ceremonial homes and many diplomatic posts.

Demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, they shouted, “Go, Nawaz, go!” Excited young men and women made V-for-victory signs.

A government minister, Saad Rafiq, said the prime minister allowed the protesters to enter the sensitive area to avoid bloodshed.

Floods Force Dramatic Rescues In Phoenix Area

Floods Force Dramatic Rescues In Phoenix Area, Arizona authorities have rescued two residents and three dogs from a flooded house north of Phoenix after more than four inches of rain pummeled some areas of the state.

Dramatic television footage showed the residents in New River, about 30 miles north of Phoenix, waving a white towel out of a window as floodwaters raged around the house. A helicopter hovered above and lowered a rescuer down onto the roof.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Benjamin Santillan (san-tee-YAHN’) says two women and three dogs were pulled to safety with no injuries.

A separate rescue played out as water submerged a minivan and authorities pulled a woman from the vehicle.

New Fatal Police Shooting Near Ferguson

New Fatal Police Shooting Near Ferguson, Police shot dead a knife-wielding man Tuesday near the U.S. town roiled by 10 days of protests over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager, threatening to further ratchet up tensions.

It came as the attorney for the family of Michael Brown, who was shot dead by police in Ferguson on August 9, said that the 18-year-old college student’s funeral would be held on Monday.

Civic leaders in Ferguson, in Missouri, had called for “night-time quiet and reconciliation” after another night of protests and violence in the majority black town.

But, a short drive away in St. Louis proper, police – who have been criticized for an aggressive response to the demonstrations – faced yet more scrutiny when they shot dead an apparently agitated man armed with a knife who yelled “kill me now” and approached a patrol.

The world’s media descended on the street, dozens of reporters having been in nearby Ferguson covering the ongoing unrest that has cast an unfavorable light on the United States’ racial divide, as well as law-enforcement tactics.

Onlookers gathered at the yellow incident tape sealing off the scene of Tuesday’s shooting outside a convenience store, some of them chanting the slogan of the protests: “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Islamic State Claims Beheading Of U.S. Journalist

Islamic State Claims Beheading Of U.S. Journalist, Jihadist group the Islamic State on Tuesday claimed to have executed American journalist James Foley in revenge for U.S. airstrikes against its fighters in Iraq.

The Islamist group released a video showing a masked militant purportedly beheading the reporter, who has been missing since he was seized by armed men in Syria in November 2012.

“Find James Foley,” the campaign run by his family to secure the 40-year-old freelancer’s release, posted a public message online following the release of the video asking for time “to seek answers.”

Foley was an experienced correspondent who had covered the war in Libya before heading to Syria to follow the revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the Global Post, AFP and other outlets.

Kenya Bans West Africa Travellers Amid Scramble To Fight Ebola

Kenya Bans West Africa Travellers Amid Scramble To Fight Ebola, Kenya on Saturday became the latest country to ban travellers from parts of Ebola-hit west Africa as Nigeria scrambled to stop the the deadly disease spreading through the continent’s most populous nation.

Health Minister James Macharia said Kenya is closing its borders to travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — the countries most affected by the worst-ever Ebola outbreak.

National carrier Kenya Airways also said it would suspend its flights to Freetown and Monrovia when the ban takes effect on Wednesday.

The move comes amid an international appeal to help contain the deadly virus, which has already killed 1,145 people across west Africa this year.

Nigeria on Saturday said it has trained 800 volunteers to help in the fight against Ebola as the country’s already weak healthcare system struggles to cope with the outbreak.

‘Coercion Tactics’ Used To Lure Amish Girls, Police Say

‘Coercion Tactics’ Used To Lure Amish Girls, Police Say, A northern New York couple used “coercion tactics” to lure two Amish sisters into their car during a kidnapping, the St. Lawrence County sheriff said today, a day after the couple was arrested.

Police arrested Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, both of Hermon, late Friday. They were each charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, indicating that they intended to physically harm or sexually abuse the girls.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said the couple and the children didn’t know each other but that the kidnapping was planned.

“The motive was to victimize children,” Wells said during a news conference. “The girls have been victims of crimes. That’s the only detail we’ll give.”