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Image 7 of The Advocate Messenger April 6, 2012

Part of The Advocate Messenger

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012 A7 THE ADVOCATE-MESSENGER WWW.AMNEWS.COM WORLD Pilot turns back after snake pops out of dashboard ROD McGUIRK Associated Press AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, A derelict Japanese fishing vessel drifts more than 125 miles from Forrester Island in southeast Alaska where it entered U.S. waters March 31. The vessel has been adrift since it was launched by a tsunami caused by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan last year. U.S. to sink tsunami ghost ship MARK THIESSEN RACHEL D’ORO Associated Press OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard plans to use cannon fire to sink a derelict Japanese ship dislodged by last year’s massive tsunami. The shrimping vessel, which has no lights or communications systems, was floating about 195 miles south of Sitka in the Gulf of Alaska on Thursday morning, traveling about 1 mile per hour. The ship holds more than 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel and authorities are concerned it could interfere with the course of other vessels as it drifts through shipping lanes. A Coast Guard cutter was headed out to the ship on Thursday with plans to fire cannons loaded with high explosive rounds to sink the vessel. If left to drift, the ship would ground somewhere, said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Charley Hengen. “It’s safer to mitigate the risks now before there’s an accident or environmental impact,” Hengen said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency studied the problem and decided it is safer to sink the ship and let the fuel evaporate in the open water. The Coast Guard will warn other ships to avoid the area, and will observe from an HC-130 Hercules airplane. The vessel, named Ryou-Un Maru, is believed to be 150 to 200 feet long. It has been adrift from Hokkaido, Japan, since it was launched by the tsunami caused by the magnitude9.0 earthquake that struck Japan last year. About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean by the tsunami. The Japan earthquake triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl accident in 1986, but Alaska state health and environmental officials have said there’s little need to be worried that debris landing on Alaska shores will be contaminated by radiation. They have been working with federal counterparts to gauge the danger of debris including material affected by a damaged nuclear power plant, to see if Alaska residents, seafood or wild game could be affected. In January, a half dozen large buoys suspected to be from Japanese oyster farms appeared at the top of Alaska’s panhandle and may be among the first debris from the tsunami. ___ D’Oro reported from Anchorage, Alaska. CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian pilot said he was forced to make a harrowing landing reminiscent of a Hollywood thriller after a snake popped out from behind his dashboard and slithered across his leg during a solo cargo flight. Braden Blennerhassett — unsure whether the snake was venomous — said Thursday that his heart raced as he tried to keep his hands still while maneuvering the plane back to the northern city of Darwin. The snake popped its head out from behind the instrument panel several times, Blennerhassett said, and then the ordeal worsened when the animal crawled across his leg during the approach to the airport. “I’ve seen it on a movie once, but never in an airplane,” Blennerhassett told Australian Broadcasting Corp., referring to the 2006 movie “Snakes on a Plane,” in which deadly snakes are deliberately released in an airliner as part of a murder plot. The 26-year-old Air Frontier pilot was alone in a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron G58 and had just left Darwin airport on a cargo run to a remote Outback Aboriginal settlement when he saw the snake on Tuesday. Air Frontier director Geoff Hunt described Blennerhassett as a “cool character” who radioed air traffic control to report: “I’m going to have to return to Darwin. I’ve got a snake on board the plane.” But Blennerhassett admits he was shaken, telling Nine Network television that his blood pressure and hear rate were “a bit elevated.” “You’re trying to be as still as you possibly can and when you’ve got your hands on the power levers,” he told ABC. “You’re kind of worried about the snake taking that as a threat and biting you.” “As the plane was landing, the snake was crawling down my leg, which was frightening,” he told Nine. Once the plane had landed, a firefighter spotted the snake but authorities were not immediately able to catch it, Air Frontier official Michael Ellen said. A trap baited with a mouse failed to catch the snake by Thursday, and the plane remained grounded. Wildlife ranger Sally Heaton said the snake was suspected to be a golden tree snake, a non-venomous species that can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet). Blennerhassett was back in the air Thursday and could not be immediately contacted for comment. Hunt said he was not aware of a snake being found in a plane before in Australia, but that he had heard of a young chicken being found alive under the floor of a plane and of an escaped juvenile crocodile crawling under a pilot’s rudder pedal. N. Korea launch an intel opportunity for U.S. ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — As the U.S. and its allies decry North Korea’s planned rocket launch, they’re also rushing to capitalize on the rare opportunity it presents to assess the secretive nation’s ability to strike beyond its shores. If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, expected between April 12-16, the United States, Japan and South Korea will have more military assets on hand than ever to track the rocket and — if necessary — shoot it out of the sky. Behind the scenes, they will be analyzing everything from where the rocket’s booster stages fall to the shape of its nose cone. The information they gather could deeply impact regional defense planning and future arms talks. Military planners want to know how much progress North Korea has made since its last attempt to launch a satellite three years ago. Arms negotiators will be looking for signs of how much the rocket, a modified ballistic missile launcher, uses foreign technology. “There are a number of things they will be watching for,” said Narushige Michishita, a North Korea expert with Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. “If North Korea does get a satellite into orbit, that means it could deliver an object anywhere on the globe, and that has intercontinental implications.” One thing analysts could quickly test is North Korea’s insistence that the satellite launch is a peaceful mission. Experts can easily estimate from photographs the rocket stages’ mass ratio — a measure of their efficiency — and that will give a quick indication of whether the rocket is designed primarily to be a space vehicle launcher or long-range missile. They also will be watching where the rocket goes. North Korea says it will fire the satellite into a polar orbit. The “splash zones” for the booster stages suggest it will travel south over the East China Sea and the Pacific, rather than the easterly path it chose for a launch in 2009 that sent the rocket directly over Japan’s main island. That could indicate North Korea is being more cautious about its neighbors’ reactions — though it has alarmed others such as the Philippines, which could be in the rocket’s path. But the launch could also have military implications. If North Korea were to attack the United States, Michishita said, it would likely launch to the north. It can’t feasibly conduct such a test, because that would anger Russia and China, which would be under the flight path. Launching to the south can provide similar data. Actually reaching the splash zones is another hurdle. In its 2009 launch, the stages barely made their zones, suggesting they had lower thrust than expected. Analysts stress that success by no means suggests North Korea could pull off an attack on the U.S. North Korea has a long way to go in testing the technologies required for re-entry — a key to missile delivery that is not tested in satellites. And while it is believed to be capable of producing nuclear weapons — and almost certainly wants to put them on a military-use missile — it is not yet able to make them small enough to load into a warhead. Doing so will likely require another nuclear test, which North Korea hasn’t done since 2009. The launcher itself is another issue — and it has a history of failure. The Unha-3 rocket that will be used is believed to be a modified version of North Korea’s long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, which mixes domestic, Soviet-era and possibly Iranian designs. North Korea launched its first Taepodong-2 in 2006 and it exploded just 40 seconds after liftoff. A follow-up attempt in 2009 got off the launch pad and successfully completed a tricky pitching maneuver, but analysts believe its third stage failed to separate, sending it and the satellite it carried into the Pacific. Even so, physicists David Wright and Theodore Postol of the Union of Concerned Scientists say the 2009 launch displayed major strides over the Taepodong-1. If modified as a ballistic missile, they say, it would potentially give the North the capability to reach the continental United States with a payload of one ton. In an analysis of the 2009 Bingo! Every Tuesday night and the 1st Saturday of each month TITLE TOWN BINGO in Danv ille (behind Cinemas) launch, Wright and Postol suggested North Korea relies heavily on a stockpile of foreign components, likely from Russia. If data from the upcoming launch confirm that, it may mean Pyongyang’s missile program is severely limited by the isolated country’s ability to procure new parts from abroad. That could figure into future arms talks. If North Korea is running out of the parts it needs, it isn’t likely to conduct frequent missile tests and may be more willing to agree to moratoriums. More emphasis on blocking its imports would also make sense if the North cannot manufacture what it needs. What analysts find out will figure into regional security planning for years to come — as North Korea’s first attempted satellite launch did in 1998. Japan and the United States responded to that launch by pouring billions of dollars into the world’s most advanced ballistic missile shield. That shield includes a network of sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles and landbased PAC-3 Patriot missiles. Japan is now mobilizing PAC-3 units in Okinawa, which is near the path of the upcoming launch and where Twin Hills Drive-In Theatre U.S. 127 N. Harrodsburg Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday NOW SHOWING APRIL 6, 7, & 8 DR. SEUSS’ THE followed by (PG) LORAX HUNGER GAMES (PG-13) Doors open at 5:30 p.m. $20 for computer and all paper Drive-In opens at 5:30 p.m. Shows at dusk Adults - $5.00 Children 3-10 1/2 price B OY L E C O U N T Y Payo u t ove r $ 1 0 k we e k ly • P u l l t a b g a m e s B r i n g i n t h i s a d f o r a FREE Gift! Quarterback Club * License 0000205 AM / IJ 1-800-734-8011 more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan are deployed. It’s also mobilizing PAC-3 units in Tokyo, which is much farther from the rocket’s expected path. South Korea is taking similar steps — which it didn’t do in 2009. The U.S. will be watching with equipment that was unavailable in 2009: a Sea-Based X-Band radar system, aboard a Navy ship that left Pearl Harbor late last month. U.S. officials claim the SBX system is so powerful it can track a baseball-sized object flying through space 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) away. Further, if U.S. military satellites detect a flash of heat from a missile launch in North Korea, within a minute computers can plot a rough trajectory and share that information with Japan. Tokyo and Seoul warn they will use their interceptors on anything that threatens their territory, though that is highly unlikely. No country has ever shot at another country’s satellite launch, and, barring any major surprises, the North Korean rocket will be traveling mostly over water, not populated areas. “Whether it comes close to our southwestern islands or not, this will have significant implications for our missile defenses, and how they should be adjusted in the future,” said Hiroyasu Akutsu, a senior fellow and Korea expert with the National Institute for Defense Studies, a think tank run by Japan’s Defense Ministry. In Washington, Pentagon press secretary George Little also said the launch was being tracked closely out of concern for debris. “Debris is a concern with any launch anywhere ...,” he said Thursday. “Obviously, anything you put up in the air, if it comes down, you want to be able to assess where it goes and what the potential impact will be.” DANVILLE CINEMA 8 SHOWING APRIL 6TH - APRIL 12TH FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 859-238-4181 THE HUNGER GAMES ( PG-13) 152 min. 1:30, 1:50, 5:00, 6:00, 9 :05, 9:30 21 JUMP STREET (R) 110 min. 7;20, 9:40 DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX (2D) MIRROR MIRROR (PG) 96 min. 1:15, 4:05 (Open Caption Tues April 10th @ 4:00 & 7:00 shows) (PG) 116 min. 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:40 WRATH OF TITANS (3D) TITANIC (PG13) 109 min. 2:00, 7:30 (PG13) 207 min. Ticket + Premium ($2.50) 1:20, 4:20, 7:10, 9:35 WRATH OF TITANS (2D)(PG13) 109 min. (Open Caption Tues April 10th @ 4:40 & 7:27 Shows) AMERICAN REUNION (R) 123 min. (Starts Fri. 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