In Brief | Nation & World | 6-4-15

Wind damages wing of solar plane sidelined in Japan

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Wind damages wing of solar plane sidelined in Japan

NAGOYA, Japan — A solar-powered plane forced to land in Japan when it hit bad weather during its trip around the globe has encountered more challenges after wind gusts damaged a wing on the grounded aircraft.

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg says on the expedition’s website that the damage to the Solar Impulse 2 on Tuesday will “necessitate at least a week to repair.” It has delayed the journey further, but he says the damage is not a major issue.

The Solar Impulse departed Nanjing, China, on Sunday on what was expected to be the longest leg of the journey, a six-day, 5,079-mile flight to Hawaii.

Instead, the plane landed late Monday at the Nagoya Airport in central Japan to wait out unexpectedly bad weather.

Borschberg is flying without any fuel.

Officials say anthrax was sent to dozens of locations

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon disclosed Wednesday that it inadvertently shipped possibly live anthrax to at least 51 laboratories across the U.S. and in three foreign countries over the past decade, but it has yet to determine how it happened, who is to blame, why it was not discovered earlier and how much worse the embarrassment will get.

One of the few things Pentagon officials said they were sure of is that public health is not at risk.

“We know of no risk to the general public,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told a Pentagon news conference. He said the suspect anthrax was shipped in such low concentrations and in such secure packaging that it almost certainly posed no health risk to anyone outside the 51 labs.

The anthrax was supposed to have been killed with gamma rays by Defense Department lab technicians before being shipped for use by commercial labs and government facilities in research and the calibration of biohazard sensors. But for reasons not yet explained, the anthrax apparently remained alive.

To compound the error, follow-up lab tests to verify that the anthrax had been killed before being shipped apparently also failed.

FBI: Knife-wielding man had talked of attacking ‘boys in blue’ before he was shot and killed

BOSTON — A knife-wielding man killed by the terror investigators who had him under surveillance was confronted because he had bought knives and talked of an imminent attack on “boys in blue,” the FBI said Wednesday.

Usaama Rahim plotted for at least a week to attack police, the FBI said in a complaint against a family member who was arrested Tuesday, the day Rahim was shot to death. On Wednesday, the relative, David Wright, was ordered held on a charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct a federal investigation.

The FBI said Rahim, who had previously discussed beheadings, bought three fighting knives and a sharpener on or before May 26 and he told Wright on Tuesday he would begin trying to randomly kill police officers.

An anti-terror task force of FBI agents and Boston police, faced with an imminent threat, confronted Rahim on a sidewalk and fatally shot him when he refused to drop his knife, authorities said.

An affidavit written by an FBI agent assigned to Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force refers to a recorded conversation between Rahim and Wright in which Wright made a comparison to “thinking with your head on your chest.” The FBI said that was a reference to Islamic State propaganda videos showing severed heads on the chests of beheading victims.

Cameron Crowe apologizes for casting Emma Stone in partially Asian role for ‘Aloha’

NEW YORK— Cameron Crowe has apologized for offending anyone over his casting of Emma Stone in a partially Asian, partially Hawaiian role in his film “Aloha.”

Stone’s character, Captain Allison Ng, is a quarter Hawaiian, and she has a half-Chinese father. In a message posted on his website, TheUncool.com, Crowe says the character was always intended to be someone frustrated that she lacked outward signs of her ethnicity.

“I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” wrote Crowe.

Some criticized Stone’s casting as another example of Hollywood whitewashing Asian-American movie roles. The Media Action Network for Asian Americans called the film “an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii.” Some Native Hawaiians have disapproved of the film’s title as a misappropriation of Hawaiian culture.

Crowe, however, disputed the notion that “Aloha,” which stars Bradley Cooper as a military contractor returning to Hawaii, merely used the state as an exotic backdrop.

Do the consequences of their health care ruling matter to Supreme Court justices?

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court could wipe away health insurance for millions of Americans when it resolves the latest fight over President Barack Obama’s health overhaul. But would the court take away a benefit from so many people? Should the justices even consider such consequences?

By month’s end, the court is expected to decide a challenge to the way subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are given to people who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The legal issue is whether Congress authorized payments regardless of where people live, or only to residents of states that established their own insurance exchanges.

The distinction is potentially momentous, since more than two-thirds of the states did not set up their own exchanges. In those states, people rely on the federal healthcare.gov site to sign up for insurance. The financial benefits are substantial, covering nearly three-fourths of insurance premiums on average.

If the court rules that the subsidies can’t be given to people who enrolled on the federal site, 7 million to 9 million Americans would quickly lose their insurance, said Nicholas Bagley, a health law expert at the University of Michigan and a supporter of the law known as “Obamacare.”

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“The consequences of a government defeat here are so extraordinary and sweeping,” he said.

By wire sources.

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