Category Archives: World News

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.

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.

U.S. Launches Airstrikes To Help Retake Mosul Dam

U.S. Launches Airstrikes To Help Retake Mosul Dam, The United States has launched airstrikes around the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq in support of a ground operation by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the strategic dam which was seized by ISIS fighters earlier this month.

The status of the dam has been a concern for Iraq and the United States because a breach could release a torrent of water that could flood Mosul and possibly reach as far down as Baghdad.

U.S. officials confirm that fighter planes and drones launched airstrikes near the Mosul Dam. Earlier Saturday, Kurdish local media cited eyewitness reports that airstrikes had taken place by the dam on Friday night.

At the time it was unclear if the airstrikes had been launched by U.S. or Iraqi aircraft.

According to one official “the strikes are in support of ground operations” by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the dam. The official labeled the strikes as significant.

The size of the Iraqi and Kurdish ground operation is unclear, but it would have to be sizable to counter the large number of ISIS fighters located at or near the dam. One U.S. official said it is believed that there are a few hundred ISIS fighters in the vicinity of the dam.

Casey Kasem Dies at 82-Years-Old

Casey Kasem Dies at 82-Years-Old, Casey Kasem, the internationally famous radio broadcaster with the cheerful manner and gentle voice who became the king of the top 40 countdown with a syndicated show that ran for decades, died Sunday. He was 82.

Danny Deraney, publicist for Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, says Kasem died Sunday morning. A statement issued by the family says he died at 3:23 a.m. surrounded by family and friends.

Kasem’s “American Top 40″ began on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The No. 1 song on his list then was “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” by Three Dog Night.

The show continued in varying forms – and for varying syndicators – until his retirement in 2009. In his signoff, he would tell viewers: “And don’t forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife, former actress Jean Kasem. In 2013, his children filed a legal petition to gain control of his health care, alleging that Kasem was suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease and that his wife was isolating him from friends and family members. Kasem also suffered from Lewy Body Disease, a form of dementia.

A judge in May temporarily stripped his wife of her caretaker role after she moved him from a medical facility in Los Angeles to a friend’s home in Washington state. Jean Kasem said she moved her husband to protect his privacy and to consult with doctors. Casey Kasem developed a severe bedsore while in Washington and was in critical condition by the time he was hospitalized in early June.

It was a sad, startling end for a man whose voice had entertained and informed music lovers worldwide.

Casey Kasem Dies at 82-Years-Old

Liberal Party Votes To Legalize Assisted Suicide

Liberal Party Votes To Legalize Assisted Suicide, At its convention in Montreal, the party voted in favour of decriminalizing medically-assisted death, but leader Justin Trudeau did not say if he’s running with the idea., Trudeau skips out as Liberal conventioneers vote to legalize assisted suicide, Federal Liberals have voted in favour of legalizing assisted suicide but whether Leader Justin Trudeau will run with the idea is a mystery.

Trudeau was not in the room Sunday when delegates to the party’s national convention passed a resolution urging that voluntary, medically assisted death be decriminalized – although moments earlier he had been just outside the convention hall, cheering as the Canadian men’s hockey team won Olympic gold.

He was in the room later when delegates gave him an overwhelming, after-the-fact endorsement of his decision to kick senators out of the Liberal caucus.

Delegates also passed a raft of potentially costly resolutions that included supporting many big-ticket items:

- An $18-billion-a-year investment in infrastructure.

- Creation of a basic annual income.

- A national transportation strategy.

- Funding for aboriginal education on reserves equal to that spent on provincially operated schools.

- Increased funding for mental health services.

- Expansion and enhancement of the Canada Pension Plan.

None of the resolutions are binding on the leader and, since he gave no closing remarks and did not hold the traditional wrap-up news conference at the convention’s end, it was unclear which resolutions Trudeau believes should make their way into a 2015 election platform or how a Liberal government would pay for them.

He did give a number of one-on-one television interviews – which were taped before the resolutions were voted upon.

In an interview with Global’s Tom Clark, Trudeau, who has promised not to hike corporate or income taxes or the GST, said the debate to come will be over where to spend the surplus the Harper government has forecast for next year.

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, he declined to give his personal view on assisted suicide, saying he’s waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on some pending cases which could provide guidance on the issue.

He did allude to the “death with dignity” resolution, jointly proposed by the party’s women’s and youth commissions, in relatively positive terms during a keynote convention speech Saturday, but stopped short of taking a clear stand.

The resolution, Trudeau said in the speech, challenges Liberals “to expand our idea of what it means to be a free citizen in a modern democracy” and “to reflect on giving terminally afflicted Canadians the choice to end their pain and suffering and plan their own death with dignity.”

Voluntary, medically assisted death should be decriminalized, states the resolution – after a public consultation to recommend the criteria for allowing terminally ill Canadians to choose to end their lives and an oversight system to protect the vulnerable.