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  • Maui officials on standby to stop heavy rains from sending ash into storm drains
    on November 30, 2023 at 4:18 am

    LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Maui officials were on standby Wednesday to prevent ash from August’s deadly wildfire in Lahaina from flowing into storm drains after forecasters said a winter storm could bring heavy rain and strong winds to the island. The National Weather Service said rain falling at a rate of more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) per hour could trigger localized flooding over burn scars in Lahaina and in Kula, a mountainous area where wildfires also spread three months ago. Maui County said it placed 40 pallets of straw barriers around Lahaina and that 25 staff members were on standby. Earlier this week, county staff inspected and cleared culverts in flood-prone parts of Kula and South Maui. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the entire state through Thursday as a kona low, or subtropical cyclone, west of the island chain generated moist and humid conditions. The weather service warned potentially heavy rainfall and thunderstorms could batter the island chain. Forecasters said up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of snow could fall on the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two Big Island mountains that rise 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. The peaks often get snow during the winter months. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • Five things to know about Henry Kissinger, a dominant figure in global affairs in the 1970s
    on November 30, 2023 at 3:20 am

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who died Wednesday at age 100, exerted far-reaching influence on global affairs under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford between 1969 and 1977, earning both vilification and the Nobel Peace Prize. Here are five things to know about his life in government and beyond: HIS PORTFOLIO For eight restless years — first as national security adviser, later as secretary of state, and for a time as both — Kissinger played a dominant role in foreign policy. He conducted the first “shuttle diplomacy” in the quest for Middle East peace. He used secret negotiations to restore ties between the United States and China. He initiated the Paris talks that ultimately provided a face-saving means to get the United States out of war in Vietnam. And he pursued detente with the Soviet Union that led to arms-control agreements. HIS BOSS Kissinger’s power grew during the turmoil of the Watergate scandal, when the politically attuned diplomat took on a role akin to co-president to the weakened Nixon. “No doubt my vanity was piqued,” Kissinger later wrote of his expanding influence during Watergate. “But the dominant emotion was a premonition of catastrophe.” Kissinger told colleagues at the White House that he was the one person who kept Nixon, “that drunken lunatic,” from doing things that would “blow up the world,” according to Walter Isaacson, who wrote the 1992 biography “Kissinger.” HIS CACHET Pudgy and messy, Kissinger acquired a reputation as a ladies’ man in the staid Nixon administration. Kissinger called women “a diversion, a hobby.” Isaacson wrote that Hollywood executives were eager to set him up with starlets, whom Kissinger squired to premieres and showy restaurants. His companions included Jill St. John, Shirley MacLaine, Marlo Thomas, Candice Bergen and Liv Ullmann. In a poll of Playboy Club Bunnies in 1972, the man dubbed “Super-K” by Newsweek finished first as “the man I would most like to go out on a date with.” Kissinger’s explanation: “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” HIS CRITICS Kissinger for decades battled the notion that he and Nixon had settled in 1972 for peace terms in Vietnam that had been available in 1969 and thus had needlessly prolonged the war at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives. He was castigated for authorizing telephone wiretaps of reporters and his own National Security Council staff to plug news leaks in Nixon’s White House. He was denounced on college campuses for the bombing and allied invasion of Cambodia in April 1970, intended to destroy North Vietnamese supply lines to communist forces in South Vietnam. That “incursion,” as Nixon and Kissinger called it, was blamed by some for contributing to Cambodia’s fall into the hands of Khmer Rouge insurgents. HIS LATER YEARS Kissinger cultivated the reputation of respected elder statesman, giving speeches, offering advice to Republican and Democratic presidents alike and managing a lucrative global consulting business as he traveled the world. But records from the Nixon era, released over the years, brought with them revelations that sometimes cast him in a harsh light. Kissinger was dogged by critics at home and abroad who argued that he should be called to account for his policies on Southeast Asia and support of repressive regimes in Latin America. He had to think twice before traveling to certain countries to be sure that he would not be summoned by judges seeking to question him about Nixon-era actions. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • A US Navy plane went into a Hawaii bay. Underwater video shows its tires are touching a coral reef
    on November 30, 2023 at 3:18 am

    KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — Tires from a large airplane that’s been stuck in a Hawaii bay for more than a week are resting on parts of a reef, according to video the U.S. Navy released Wednesday as it figures out a plan to remove the aircraft. There were no injuries to the nine people who were on board when the plane landed Nov. 20 in shallow water just offshore of Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. The base is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu. The Navy is investigating what caused the plane to overshoot a runway. The underwater footage shows the “two points of contact the aircraft has with the coral and the remainder of the aircraft floating above,” the Navy said. The video shows tires on the coral as tiny fish swim through rock crevices. A Navy team removed nearly all of the estimated 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel on the plane, Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox said Monday. Cmdr. Mark Anderson, who is leading the Navy’s mobile diving and salvage unit working at the site, said the plane was sitting on a mixture of coral and sand. The left engine is resting on coral. The plane rises a little with the tide, so the full weight of the plane is not on the coral, he said Monday. Kaneohe Bay is home to coral reefs, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond and a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks. Sierra Club of Hawaii Executive Director Wayne Tanaka said the video underscores potential damage to the reef. “It confirms what we’ve known: We have a jet plane sitting on coral reef,” he said. “We don’t know how much it moved, how much it could move.” State environmental officials expect to conduct a damage assessment once the plane is removed. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • Henry Kissinger, American diplomat and Nobel winner, dead at 100
    on November 30, 2023 at 2:35 am

    By Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Henry Kissinger, a diplomatic powerhouse whose roles as a national security adviser and secretary of state under two presidents left an indelible mark on U.S. foreign policy and earned him a controversial Nobel Peace Prize, died on Wednesday at age 100. Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut, according to a statement from his geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc. No mention was made of the circumstances. It said he would be interred at a private family service, to be followed at a later date by a public memorial service in New York City. Kissinger had been active past his centenary, attending meetings in the White House, publishing a book on leadership styles, and testifying before a Senate committee about the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. In July 2023 he made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the 1970s in the midst of the Cold War, he had a hand in many of the epoch-changing global events of the decade while serving as national security adviser and secretary of state under Republican President Richard Nixon. The German-born Jewish refugee’s efforts led to the U.S. diplomatic opening with China, landmark U.S.-Soviet arms control talks, expanded ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and the Paris Peace Accords with North Vietnam. Kissinger’s reign as the prime architect of U.S. foreign policy waned with Nixon’s resignation in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal. Still, he continued to be a diplomatic force as secretary of state under Nixon’s successor, President Gerald Ford, and to offer strong opinions throughout the rest of his life. While many hailed Kissinger for his brilliance and broad experience, others branded him a war criminal for his support for anti-communist dictatorships, especially in Latin America. In his latter years, his travels were circumscribed by efforts by other nations to arrest or question him about past U.S. foreign policy. His 1973 Peace Prize – awarded jointly to North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho, who would decline it – was one of the most controversial ever. Two members of the Nobel committee resigned over the selection as questions arose about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia. Ford called Kissinger a “super secretary of state” but also noted his prickliness and self-assurance, which critics were more likely to call paranoia and egotism. Even Ford said, “Henry in his mind never made a mistake.” “He had the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew,” Ford said in an interview shortly before his death in 2006. With his dour expression and gravelly, German-accented voice, Kissinger possessed an image of both a stuffy academic and a ladies’ man, squiring starlets around Washington and New York in his bachelor days. Power, he said, was the ultimate aphrodisiac. Voluble on policy, Kissinger was reticent on personal matters, although he once told a journalist he saw himself as a cowboy hero, riding off alone. HARVARD FACULTY Heinz Alfred Kissinger was born in Furth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, and moved to the United States with his family in 1938 before the Nazi campaign to exterminate European Jewry. Anglicizing his name to Henry, Kissinger became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1943, served in the Army in Europe in World War Two, and attended Harvard University on a scholarship, earning a master’s degree in 1952 and a doctorate in 1954. He was on Harvard’s faculty for the next 17 years. During much of that time, Kissinger served as a consultant to government agencies, including in 1967 when he acted as an intermediary for the State Department in Vietnam. He used his connections with President Lyndon Johnson’s administration to pass on information about peace negotiations to the Nixon camp. When Nixon’s pledge to end the Vietnam War helped him win the 1968 presidential election, he brought Kissinger to the White House as national security adviser. But the process of “Vietnamization” – shifting the burden of the war from the 500,000-troop U.S. forces to the South Vietnamese – was long and bloody, punctuated by massive U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, the mining of the North’s harbors, and the bombing of Cambodia. Kissinger declared in 1972 that “peace is at hand” in Vietnam but the Paris Peace Accords reached in January 1973 were little more than a prelude to the final Communist takeover of the South two years later. In 1973, in addition to his role as national security adviser, Kissinger was named secretary of state – giving him unchallenged authority in foreign affairs. An intensifying Arab-Israeli conflict launched Kissinger on his first so-called “shuttle” mission, a brand of highly personal, high-pressure diplomacy for which he became famous. Thirty-two days spent shuttling between Jerusalem and Damascus helped Kissinger forge a long-lasting disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In an effort to diminish Soviet influence, Kissinger reached out to its chief communist rival, China, and made two trips there, including a secret one to meet with Premier Zhou Enlai. The result was Nixon’s historic summit in Beijing with Chairman Mao Zedong and the eventual formalization of relations between the two countries. Former U.S. ambassador to China Winston Lord, who served as Kissinger’s special assistant, saluted his former boss as a “tireless advocate for peace,” telling Reuters, “America has lost a towering champion for the national interest.” STRATEGIC ARMS ACCORD The Watergate scandal that forced Nixon to resign barely grazed Kissinger, who was not connected to the cover-up and continued as secretary of state when Ford took office in the summer of 1974. But Ford did replace him as national security adviser in an effort to hear more voices on foreign policy. Later that year Kissinger went with Ford to Vladivostok in the Soviet Union, where the president met Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and agreed to a basic framework for a strategic arms pact. The agreement capped Kissinger’s pioneering efforts at detente that led to a relaxing of U.S.-Soviet tensions. But Kissinger’s diplomatic skills had their limits. In 1975, he was faulted for failing to persuade Israel and Egypt to agree to a second-stage disengagement in the Sinai. And in the India-Pakistan War of 1971, Nixon and Kissinger were heavily criticized for tilting toward Pakistan. Kissinger was heard calling the Indians “bastards” – a remark he later said he regretted. Like Nixon, he feared the spread of left-wing ideas in the Western hemisphere, and his actions in response were to cause deep suspicion of Washington from many Latin Americans for years to come. In 1970 he plotted with the CIA on how best to destabilize and overthrow the Marxist but democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende, while he said in a memo in the wake of Argentina’s bloody coup in 1976 that the military dictators should be encouraged. When Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, in 1976, Kissinger’s days in the suites of government power were largely over. The next Republican in the White House, Ronald Reagan, distanced himself from Kissinger, who he viewed as out of step with his conservative constituency. After leaving government, Kissinger set up a high-priced, high-powered consulting firm in New York, which offered advice to the world’s corporate elite. He served on company boards and various foreign policy and security forums, wrote books, and became a regular media commentator on international affairs. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush picked Kissinger to head an investigative committee. But outcry from Democrats who saw a conflict of interest with many of his consulting firm’s clients forced Kissinger to step down from the post. Divorced from his first wife, Ann Fleischer, in 1964, he married Nancy Maginnes, an aide to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in 1974. He had two children by his first wife. (Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Long Beach, California; Editing by Bill Trott, Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien) Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • Japan plans to suspend its own Osprey flights after a fatal US Air Force crash of the aircraft
    on November 30, 2023 at 2:24 am

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans to suspend its own Osprey flights after a U.S. Air Force Osprey based in Japan crashed into waters off the southern coast during a training mission, officials said Thursday. Tokyo has also asked the U.S. military to stop all Ospreys operating in Japan except for those searching for victims of crash. A senior Defense Ministry official, Taro Yamato, told a parliamentary hearing that Japan plans to suspend flights of Ospreys for the time being, but there were few other immediate details. A U.S. Air Force Osprey based in Japan crashed during a training mission Wednesday off of the country’s southern coast, killing at least one of the eight crew members. The cause of the crash and the status of the seven others on board were not immediately known, Japanese coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said. The coast guard planned to continue searching through the night. The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but during flight it can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an airplane. Ospreys have had a number of crashes, including in Japan, where they are used at U.S. and Japanese military bases. In Okinawa, where about half of the 50,000 American troops are based, Gov. Denny Tamaki told reporters Wednesday that he would ask the U.S. military to suspend all Osprey flights in Japan. Ogawa said the coast guard received an emergency call Wednesday afternoon from a fishing boat near the crash site off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on the southern main island of Kyushu. Coast guard aircraft and patrol boats found one male crew member, who was later pronounced dead by a doctor, Ogawa said. They also found debris believed to be from the aircraft and an empty inflatable life raft about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) off the eastern coast of Yakushima, he said. The coast guard said it planned to continue searching through the night. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the Osprey disappeared from radar a few minutes before the coast guard received the emergency call. The aircraft requested an emergency landing at the Yakushima airport about five minutes before it was lost from radar, NHK public television and other news outlets reported. NHK quoted a Yakushima resident as saying he saw the aircraft turned upside down, with fire coming from one of its engines, and then an explosion before it fell to the sea. U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement that the CV-22B Osprey was from Yokota Air Base and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing. Ogawa said the aircraft had departed from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its way to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. Japanese Vice Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa said it had attempted an emergency sea landing and quoted the U.S. military as saying its pilot “did everything possible until the last minute.” Yokota Air Base is home to U.S. Forces Japan and the Fifth Air Force. Six CV-22 Ospreys have been deployed at Yokota, including the one that crashed. While the U.S. Marine Corps flies most of the Ospreys based in Japan, the Air Force also has some deployed there. Last year, Air Force Special Operations Command ordered a temporary stand down of its Osprey fleet following back-to-back safety incidents where the Osprey clutch slipped, causing an uneven distribution of power to Osprey’s rotors. The Marine Corps and Navy have reported similar clutch slips, and each service has worked to address the issue in their aircraft, however clutch failure was also cited in a 2022 fatal U.S. Marine Corps Osprey crash that killed five. According to the investigation of that crash, “dual hard clutch engagement” led to engine failure. Separately, a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a northern Australian island in August, killing three Marines and critically injuring at least five others who were onboard during a multinational training exercise. ___ Copp reported from Washington. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com