March 6 (UPI) — A sunken U.S. aircraft carrier from World War II was found on Sunday off the Australian coast by a search team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The sunken ship was recognized as the USS Lexington, which was sunk by Japan’s navy during a battle between May 4 and 8, 1942.
“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Allen said in a statement. “As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.”
Japanese warships hit the Lexington with several torpedoes and bombs during the four-day battle. But uncontrollable fires are what led to its crew abandoning the ship and letting it sink, becoming the first aircraft carrier casualty in history.
“With other U.S. ships standing by, 2,770 crewmen and officers were rescued, including the captain and his dog Wags, the ships ever-present mascot,” a statement on Allen’s website says.
Allen, who began searching for the vessel six months ago with his crew from the Research Vessel Petrel, said the ship was found more than 3,000 meters below the Coral Sea’s surface and about 800 kilometers off Australia’s coast.
Admiral Harry Harris of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command praised the finding.
“As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel for locating the ‘Lady Lex,’ sunk nearly 76 years ago at the Battle of Coral Sea,” Harris said.
In a pair of extraordinary interviews on Monday, former Donald Trump aide Sam Nunberg said he would defy a grand jury subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller but also said the president “may have done something” illegal.
Speaking first to the Washington Post and then on MSNBC, Nunberg vowed to defy Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and alleged collusion between Trump aides and Moscow.
Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and four former Trump aides, three of whom have entered plea deals involving co-operation.
Nunberg, however, said he would tear up his subpoena live on Bloomberg TV.
He also told MSNBC host Katy Tur, the author of a bestselling book on the Trump campaign, that he thought the candidate “may have done something” illegal during the election.
He added: “I don’t know that for sure.”
Nunberg, a protégé of veteran political operative Roger Stone, was Trump’s political adviser prior to the start of his White House run.
He was fired in August 2015, over racially charged Facebook posts, after he and Stone lost a internal power struggle with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Nunberg was sued by Trump on the eve of the 2016 Republican convention, for allegedly leaking information about Lewandowski’s relationship with close Trump aide and future White House communications director Hope Hicks. However, Nunberg has remained close to many in Trump’s orbit.
Speaking to the Post, Nunberg dared Mueller to act if he refused to appear before a grand jury on Friday.
“Let him arrest me,” he said.
Speaking to MSNBC, Nunberg said: “I think it would be funny if they arrested me.”
Nunberg told Tur he would not co-operate with Mueller, saying: “It’s a witch hunt and I’m not going to cooperate.
“Why do I have to spend 80 hours going over my email? That I’ve had with Steve Bannon and Roger Stone? Why does Bob Mueller need to see my emails when I send Roger and Steve clips and we talk about how much we hate people?”
Nunberg also said that had Trump not won the Republican primary, “he was probably going to endorse Hillary Clinton”.
He also showed the Post a copy of what appeared to be his subpoena, the newspaper reported, which included a list of names of those about whom the special counsel is seeking information. Hicks, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Lewandowski and Stone were among the names listed.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Nunberg’s comments.
“I’m not going to weigh into someone who doesn’t work at the White House,” she said. “From our perspective, we’re going to cooperate with the special counsel’s office and the reason we’re so comfortable doing so is there was absolutely no collusion with the Trump campaign.”
Nunberg also asked Tur for advice, saying: “What do you think Mueller is going to do to me?”
Tur responded: “I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know but given the circumstances you might be held in contempt of court.”
In a separate television interview, Nunberg told CNN that Mueller “thinks Trump is the Manchurian Candidate” though the former aide said he disagrees.
“They probably want to know about Miss Universe 2013, if I had to guess,” Nunberg said. “There was nothing there, but they want to hear the testimony. They want to hear what other people said, and perhaps other people told them different things than I heard.”
It was during this visit to Moscow that Trump is said to have discussed potential business opportunities in Russian. Nunberg said he was asked about Trump Tower Moscow, which was under discussion but never built.
Investigators also asked him about the goings on inside Trump Tower in New York, where Trump lived and worked before moving into the White House.
“They asked questions to me in terms of did I hear Russian spoken around Trump Tower? No, Gloria, I never heard Russian spoken around Trump Tower, OK? Now, I understand why they have to ask that, but it was pretty ridiculous to me,” Nunberg said, referring to CNN’s political analyst, Gloria Borger.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he wants to “vigorously advance” relations with South Korea, telling a visiting delegation from Seoul he hoped to “write a new history of national reunification”.
Kim made the comments during a two-day trip by the delegation led by Chung Eui-yong, the head of the South’s national security office. The officials are the most senior South Koreans to meet Kim since he came to power in 2011 after the death of his father.
“He … made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.
“He repeatedly clarified that it is our consistent and principled stand and his firm will to vigorously advance the north-south relations and write a new history of national reunification by the concerted efforts of our nation to be proud of in the world.”
It was not clear what a “satisfactory agreement” meant and despite a standing invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang, no date has been set. The two sides have remained in a technical state of war since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.
The visit follows two months of easing tensions with North Korea and is the first of its kind since Moon’s liberal government was sworn in last year. The officials delivered a letter from Moon and Kim issued orders for “practical steps” to be taken, KCNA said without giving details.
Kim and his wife also personally hosted a dinner for the group at the Workers’ party headquarters, the first time South Korean officials have visited the building, according to Seoul’s presidential office. Kim’s younger sister and close advisor Kim Yo-jong also attended the meal, which lasted more than four hours.
A photo of Kim posing with five members of the South Korean delegation was splashed across the front page of the Rodong Shinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ party.
Before leaving for Pyongyang, Chung said he would stress the need to “denuclearise the Korean Peninsula” and said he would encourage direct dialogue between North Korea and the US.
While Pyongyang has repeatedly announced it is ready to talk to US officials, president Donald Trump has so far resisted those overtures. Washington has continued its “maximum pressure” campaign, and on Monday announced a new round of largely symbolic sanctions over the North’s use of chemical weapons.
The US has said any talks must centre on North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile program, while Pyongyang views the weapons as necessary for its survival.
One of the two people critically ill in a Salisbury hospital after “suspected exposure to an unknown substance” is a Russian man who was exchanged in a high-profile “spy swap” in 2010, the Guardian understands.
Sergei Skripal, 66, was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 deep cover “sleeper” agents planted by Moscow in the US.
Wiltshire police said that a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench in the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.
Temporary assistant chief constable Craig Holden said that the pair were believed to have been known to each other and were in a critical condition. He added: “This has not been declared as a counter-terrorism incident and we would urge people not to speculate.
“However, I must emphasise that we retain an open mind and we will continue to review this position.”
A passerby, Freya Church, saw the pair at the shopping centre. She told the BBC: “On the bench there was a couple – an older guy and a younger girl. She was leant in on him. It looked like she’d passed out. He was doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky. I felt anxious, like I should step in but they looked so out of it. They looked like they had been taking something quite strong.”
Zizzi restaurant on Castle Street in the city centre has been closed in connection with the incident “as a precaution” while the investigation continues, police said.
“Public Health England are aware of this and have reiterated that, based on the evidence to date, there is no known risk to the public’s health. However, as a precaution they have advised that if you feel ill contact the NHS on 111 … [or] 999.”
A police van was outside Skripal’s home in Salisbury on Monday night. James Puttock, a neighbour, said that he had lived in the area for more than seven years. He was “very quiet”, he said. “If I see him in the street I say hello. Police have been here since Sunday afternoon. They’re in the house asking questions now.”
Puttock, 47, added: “He [Skripal] said hello if he walked past, and seemed like a nice chap. When he moved in he invited us all over for a housewarming party – I imagine he invited the whole street.
“He had been here for quite a while. People came and went from the house but I didn’t pay much attention.
“He was always walking past, but he did sometimes drive his BMW 3 Series. He never really looked smart, he looked very casual.”
Skripal is a former Russian army colonel who was convicted of passing the identities of Russian agents working undercover in Europe to MI6 in 2006. He arrived in the UK as part of a high-profile spy swap in 2010.
He was sentenced in August 2006 in Russia to 13 years in jail for spying for Britain after being convicted of “high treason in the form of espionage”. Russian prosecutors said he had been paid $100,000 (£72,000) by MI6 for information he had been supplying since the 1990s when he was a serving officer.
He was flown to the UK as part of an exchange that involved the notorious group of deep cover “sleeper” agents planted by Russia in the US, which included Anna Chapman, a diplomat’s daughter, being taken to Moscow.
It had been assumed that Skripal had been given a new identity, home, and pension. However, Land Registry documents show his house was registered in his real name and was bought for £260,000 with no mortgage on 12 August 2011, just over a year after the spy swap.
Igor Sutyagin, who was swapped at the same time as Skripal and is now in the UK, said it was too early to tell whether Skripal was the victim of foul play. “We don’t know. It’s all hypothetical,” he told the Guardian.
But Sutyagin said the Kremlin’s view of defectors was clear. “Vladimir Putin was once asked what type of people populate the world. He said traitors and enemies. I was told once by a Russian diplomat in London that Putin compared me to Judas. That is their attitude.”
Sutyagin said he had chatted with Skripal for several hours when they were flown to Austria in 2010 as part of the spy swap. “He talked about his family. It seemed to me it was his family which was his major joy.” They didn’t keep in touch, Sutyagin said, adding that Skripal’s career profile suggested he had served abroad undercover as an officer with military intelligence.
Litvinenko – a former officer with the FSB spy agency – fell ill in November 2006 after drinking a cup of tea laced with radioactive polonium. He met his killers in a ground-floor bar of the Millennium hotel in Mayfair, central London.
The pair were Andrei Lugovoi – a former KGB officer turned businessman, who is now a deputy in Russia’s state Duma – and Dmitry Kovtun, a childhood friend of Lugovoi’s from a Soviet military family.
Litvinenko’s murder caused international scandal and led to years of estrangement between Moscow and London. Putin denied all involvement and refused to extradite either of the killers from Moscow.
A public inquiry in 2015 and 2016 heard five months of evidence, including secret submissions from UK spy agencies. Its chairman, Sir Robert Owen, concluded that the FSB had murdered Litvinenko, assigning Lugovoi and Kovtun to carry out the mission.
Owen also ruled that Putin had “probably approved” the operation, together with the FSB’s then chief Nikolai Patrushev.
Alex Goldfarb, a friend of Litvinenko who helped him escape Russia in 2000, said the Skripal case was suggestive of a Russian plot.
“What’s interesting now is that this happens just before Russia’s presidential election,” he said. “Putin awarded Lugovoi a state honour and made him a national hero. He apparently sees positive electoral gain from this kind of activity.
Goldfarb added: “Russia is a nationalistic country where state-run propaganda portrays the UK as the enemy and people like Skripal as traitors.”
Litvinenko’s wife Marina told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight: “It’s like deja vu, (like) what happened to me 11 years ago.”
“In Russia it is still (an) old-fashioned and old-style KGB system … It’s still all the same. If there is an order to kill somebody it will happen.”
Some in Russia suggested the Salisbury incident was a British attempt to discredit Putin, who is all but certain to win a new six-year term of office at this month’s ballot.
“The Anglo-Saxons have arranged Litvinenko 2.0 ahead of the elections,” Alexander Kots, a journalist for the pro-Kremlin Komsolskaya Pravda newspaper, wrote on Twitter.
Asked for a comment on the story, a spokesman for the Russian embassy said: “Neither relatives nor legal representatives of the said person, nor the British authorities have addressed the embassy in this regard.”
A British diver has captured shocking images of himself swimming through a sea of plastic rubbish off the coast of the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali.
A short video posted by diver Rich Horner on his social media account and on YouTube shows the water densely strewn with plastic waste and yellowing food wrappers, the occasional tropical fish darting through the deluge.
The footage was shot at a dive site called Manta Point, a cleaning station for the large rays on the island of Nusa Penida, about 20km from the popular Indonesian holiday island of Bali.
In a Facebook post on 3 March Horner writes how the ocean currents had carried in a “lovely gift” of jellyfish and plankton, and also mounds and mounds of plastic.
“Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic cups, plastic sheets, plastic buckets, plastic sachets, plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic,” he says, “So much plastic!”
The video shows Horner swimming through the mess for several minutes and also how the waste coagulated on the surface, mixing in with some organic matter to form a slick of floating rubbish.
Manta Point is regularly frequented by numerous manta rays that visit the site to get cleaned of parasites by smaller fish, but the video shows just one lone manta in the background.
“Surprise, surprise, there weren’t many mantas there at the cleaning station today…” notes Horner, “They mostly decided not to bother.”
Rubbish has been inundating Bali for several months now, washing over mainly from the neighbouring island of Java during the annual rainy, or “trash” season.
The plastic deluge also ends up in unsightly mounds on Bali’s beaches, horrifying tourists and environmentalists alike.
Indonesia produces about 130,000 tons of plastic and solid waste every day, with about half of that reaching landfill sites, according to the Bali-based, Rivers, Oceans, Lakes and Ecology (ROLE) Foundation.
The rest is either illegally burned or dumped in Indonesia’s rivers and oceans.
With poor government planning and low levels of awareness about waste and recycling, Indonesia is now the second-largest plastic polluter in the world after China.
Several weeks ago thousands across Bali took part in a mass clean up, in attempt to rid the island’s beaches, rivers and jungles of waste, and raise awareness about the harmful impacts of trash.
Rich Horner said that while divers regularly see “a few clouds of plastic” in the rainy season, the slick he identified is the worst yet.
Divers returned to the site the next day, he reports, by which time the slick had already moved on, “continuing on its journey, off into the Indian Ocean”.
In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.
The statement from Aerospace said there was “a chance that a small amount of debris” from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.
“If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size,” said Aerospace, a research organisation that advises government and private enterprise on space flight.
Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board.
The report includes a map showing the module is expected to re-enter somewhere between 43° north and 43° south latitudes. The chances of re-entry are slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the US, New Zealand, Tasmania, parts of South America and southern Africa.
However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny. “When considering the worst-case location … the probability that a specific person (ie, you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.
“In the history of spaceflight no known person has ever been harmed by reentering space debris. Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debris and, fortunately, she was not injured.”
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University and space industry enthusiast, also sounded a note of caution. He said fragments from a similar-sized rocket re-entered the atmosphere and landed in Peru in January. “Every couple of years something like this happens, but Tiangong-1 is big and dense so we need to keep an eye on it,” he told the Guardian.
McDowell said Tiangong-1’s descent had been speeding up in recent months and it was now falling by about 6km a week, compared with 1.5km in October. It was difficult to predict when the module might land because its speed was affected by the constantly changing “weather” in space, he said.
“It is only in the final week or so that we are going to be able to start speaking about it with more confidence,” he said.
“I would guess that a few pieces will survive re-entry. But we will only know where they are going to land after after the fact.”
It was used for both manned and unmanned missions and visited by China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, in 2012.
In 1991 the Soviet Union’s 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station crashed to Earth while still docked to another 20-tonne spacecraft called Cosmos 1686. They broke up over Argentina, scattering debris over the town of Capitán Bermúdez.
Nasa’s 77-tonne Skylab space station came hurtling to Earth in an almost completely uncontrolled descent in 1979, with some large pieces landing outside Perth in Western Australia.
He said that 18 priority development territories, as well as Vladivostok Free Port, have been created within the Far East’s development program. More than 200 foreign companies have already obtained resident status, according to Trutnev, while the total amount of committed investments has already exceeded $63 billion.
The Ministry for the Development of the Far East has adopted 30 federal laws with more than 100 government acts issued and adopted. In addition to that, separate laws have been adopted to increase the investment attractiveness of the region and reduce the costs for investors.
“We provide infrastructural support to investment projects, build roads and power lines..,” said Trutnev.
The priority development territories in the Russian Far East provide the country’s citizens as well as foreigners with tax and customs preferences. Last year, Russia lifted Far East visa requirements for 18 countries to boost tourism and develop the region.
According to Ernst & Young (EY) CIS Managing Partner Joe Watt, there’s a lot of opportunity for investors in the Russian Far East. Talking to RT on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, he praised the work of the Russian government, saying a lot has been put into the region’s development.
“Pairing F-35B Lightning IIs with the USS Wasp represents one of the most significant leaps in warfighting capability for the Navy-Marine Corps team in our lifetime,” US Navy Rear Admiral Brad Cooper said in Monday’s statement. The Navy said it was “the first time the aircraft has deployed aboard a US Navy ship and with a Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Indo-Pacific.”
The ship set sail from the US Navy overseas base at Sasebo on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on Saturday. It had six of the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variants of the Lockheed Martin jets from the US Marine Corps VMFA-121 Fighter Attack Squadron on board.
The voyage follows a year of escalating tensions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile tests, as a trade war looms with China.
The USS Wasp is a 40,000-ton amphibious assault ship built by the US Marine Corps for launching seaborne invasions. It is a far cry from the Navy’s 10 USS Nimitz-class supercarriers which weigh in at 100,000 tons and can carry 90 aircraft each. The Wasp carries a mere six F-35Bs in its full aircraft complement.
With a projected $1.5 trillion spent over its lifetime, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons system ever built. But critics say it has inferior performance to the four tried and tested aircraft models it was designed to replace: the F-16 Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, A-10 Warthog tank buster and AV-8 Harrier II jump-jet.
The aircraft’s development and in-service program has also been plagued with technical hitches. On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed that 49 percent of the 280 F-35s that have been delivered to the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps so far were suffering from a litany of software and hardware problems, leaving only half of the force airworthy.
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Tuukka Rask has been in goal for all three Boston Bruins victories over the Detroit Red Wings this season, allowing five goals in the three games.
But Rask, apparently, will not be in net when the Bruins close the season series on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Rask, who missed Saturday night’s 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens with what he called “a very minor injury,” was not on the ice for practice Monday and will likely watch Anton Khudobin play Tuesday night.
“Tuukka is nursing a minor injury and he stayed off today,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday. “We’ll keep an eye out on that one. Other than not having skated now for three days, it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to go tomorrow, but that’s just an observation.
“He probably wants to get a little bit of work before he goes back in. Which we have a very capable backup, so that one we’ll judge a little bit more tomorrow morning and see how he’s feeling.”
Khudobin was brilliant in his 14th win of the season Saturday, keeping his team alive long enough for a late regulation goal by Jake DeBrusk before Brad Marchand‘s dazzling winner in overtime.
The win lifted the Bruins to 3-0 on their six-game homestand — and they start play on Tuesday six points behind the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning (with three games in hand) atop the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins, who have won seven straight games against Detroit at TD Garden, rallied after losing rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy to a lower body injury on his first shift of the game. McAvoy reportedly was wearing a brace on his left knee when he showed up for the team picture Monday.
The Red Wings have little or no shot at qualifying for the playoffs. Their chances were severely dimmed after losing the last three games while scoring just five goals.
Detroit is 28th in the NHL in goals scored — and faces the NHL’s stingiest team next.
“We need to get those easy ones,” Franz Nielson said after Sunday night’s loss at Minnesota. “I think, again, we keep saying it, but we gotta get in there and make it hard on the other team’s goalies.”
The lack of scoring has left the team on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Anthony Mantha, who leads the Red Wings in goals with 21, is, like his teammates, looking for more offense.
“Obviously, you want to score more,” he said. “You always want to help the team more. From that aspect it’s been good. I think it could be even better. This season’s not over for sure, but obviously you want to score more goals to help the team win.”
Khudobin has lost his only career start against the Red Wings. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard is 5-6-2 with a 2.53 goals-against average and .922 save percentage lifetime against the Bruins.
Marchand, who scored the overtime goal in Boston’s 3-2 win over the Red Wings on Dec. 13 in Detroit, fashioned a one-man effort for his winner Saturday — the 10th goal of his career in the regular season. He had the puck on the left boards, carried it around the net, walked out front and scored, against a tired group of Canadiens.
“He does a great job (being strong on the puck),” Cassidy said. “That OT goal, that’s all-world. To have it that long and then be able to finish, hell of a play.”