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Digital Britain: High Speed Access For All

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10 Downing Street, England — The launch of the Digital Britain report today will give the country the tools necessary to succeed in the future economy, the Prime Minister has said.

This morning the Prime Minister toured the Arqiva power transmitter site in south-east London to mark the release of the report.

He was joined by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Ben Bradshaw and Communications, Technology and Broadcasting Minister Lord Stephen Carter.

Gordon Brown said the report will take Britain closer to its goal of being the digital capital of the world.

?Every business will have access to fast broadband and the report today makes it possible for this to happen in the quickest time.?

?Britain will be the broadband capital, Britain will make the investment that is necessary and every citizen in Britain will benefit from the fast connections.?

Mr Brown said ongoing investment in high-tech, low-carbon industries would ensure the UK?s place as a leader of the future by reigniting the ?British genius for invention, discovery and trade?.


Bacteria Wakes Up After 120,000 Years

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State College, PA — Scientists from Penn State (Pennsylvania State University) have revived a bacteria that was believed to have been dormant for over 120,000 years. The sample was taken from 2 miles beneath a glacier in Greenland.

Jean Brenchley of Pennsylvania State University said, “We don’t know what state they were in. They could have been dormant, or they could have been slowly metabolizing. We don’t know for sure. Microbes have found ways to survive in harsh conditions for long times that we don’t yet fully understand.”

After eleven months of slowly warming the sample, the colonies are thriving. They have been named Herminiimonas glaciei.

“We were able to recover it and get it to grow in our laboratory,” Jean said. “It was viable.”

Leader of the study, Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, said, “What’s unique is that it’s so small, and seems to survive on so few nutrients. Along with the snow, you get dust, bacterial cells, fungal spores, plant spores, minerals and other organic debris. So we postulate that it lives in these microniches in the ice. All we can say is that because ice is the best medium to preserve nucleic acids, other organic compounds and cells, the potential for finding them in these environments is quite high because of the cold. It gives us hope that if something is there, we can locate it “


World Influenza Pandemic Declared

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Though the media is not paying much attention to the matter, the World Health Orginization has declared the first pandemic in over 41 years.

Dr Margaret Chan
Director-General of the World Health Organization

Ladies and gentlemen,

In late April, WHO announced the emergence of a novel influenza A virus.

This particular H1N1 strain has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is entirely new.

The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another. As of today, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries.

This is only part of the picture. With few exceptions, countries with large numbers of cases are those with good surveillance and testing procedures in place.

Spread in several countries can no longer be traced to clearly-defined chains of human-to-human transmission. Further spread is considered inevitable.

I have conferred with leading influenza experts, virologists, and public health officials. In line with procedures set out in the International Health Regulations, I have sought guidance and advice from an Emergency Committee established for this purpose.

On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met.

I have therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6.

The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

We are in the earliest days of the pandemic. The virus is spreading under a close and careful watch.

No previous pandemic has been detected so early or watched so closely, in real-time, right at the very beginning. The world can now reap the benefits of investments, over the last five years, in pandemic preparedness.

We have a head start. This places us in a strong position. But it also creates a demand for advice and reassurance in the midst of limited data and considerable scientific uncertainty.

Thanks to close monitoring, thorough investigations, and frank reporting from countries, we have some early snapshots depicting spread of the virus and the range of illness it can cause.

We know, too, that this early, patchy picture can change very quickly. The virus writes the rules and this one, like all influenza viruses, can change the rules, without rhyme or reason, at any time.

Globally, we have good reason to believe that this pandemic, at least in its early days, will be of moderate severity. As we know from experience, severity can vary, depending on many factors, from one country to another.

On present evidence, the overwhelming majority of patients experience mild symptoms and make a rapid and full recovery, often in the absence of any form of medical treatment.

Worldwide, the number of deaths is small. Each and every one of these deaths is tragic, and we have to brace ourselves to see more. However, we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe or fatal infections.

We know that the novel H1N1 virus preferentially infects younger people. In nearly all areas with large and sustained outbreaks, the majority of cases have occurred in people under the age of 25 years.

In some of these countries, around 2% of cases have developed severe illness, often with very rapid progression to life-threatening pneumonia.

Most cases of severe and fatal infections have been in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years.

This pattern is significantly different from that seen during epidemics of seasonal influenza, when most deaths occur in frail elderly people.

Many, though not all, severe cases have occurred in people with underlying chronic conditions. Based on limited, preliminary data, conditions most frequently seen include respiratory diseases, notably asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and obesity.

At the same time, it is important to note that around one third to half of the severe and fatal infections are occurring in previously healthy young and middle-aged people.

Without question, pregnant women are at increased risk of complications. This heightened risk takes on added importance for a virus, like this one, that preferentially infects younger age groups.

Finally, and perhaps of greatest concern, we do not know how this virus will behave under conditions typically found in the developing world. To date, the vast majority of cases have been detected and investigated in comparatively well-off countries.

Let me underscore two of many reasons for this concern. First, more than 99% of maternal deaths, which are a marker of poor quality care during pregnancy and childbirth, occurs in the developing world.

Second, around 85% of the burden of chronic diseases is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.

Although the pandemic appears to have moderate severity in comparatively well-off countries, it is prudent to anticipate a bleaker picture as the virus spreads to areas with limited resources, poor health care, and a high prevalence of underlying medical problems.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A characteristic feature of pandemics is their rapid spread to all parts of the world. In the previous century, this spread has typically taken around 6 to 9 months, even during times when most international travel was by ship or rail.

Countries should prepare to see cases, or the further spread of cases, in the near future. Countries where outbreaks appear to have peaked should prepare for a second wave of infection.

Guidance on specific protective and precautionary measures has been sent to ministries of health in all countries. Countries with no or only a few cases should remain vigilant.

Countries with widespread transmission should focus on the appropriate management of patients. The testing and investigation of patients should be limited, as such measures are resource intensive and can very quickly strain capacities.

WHO has been in close dialogue with influenza vaccine manufacturers. I understand that production of vaccines for seasonal influenza will be completed soon, and that full capacity will be available to ensure the largest possible supply of pandemic vaccine in the months to come.

Pending the availability of vaccines, several non-pharmaceutical interventions can confer some protection.

WHO continues to recommend no restrictions on travel and no border closures.

Influenza pandemics, whether moderate or severe, are remarkable events because of the almost universal susceptibility of the world?s population to infection.

We are all in this together, and we will all get through this, together.

Thank you.


Lapses in Oversight of Parolees

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Auditor General Jack Wagner Faults Board of Probation and Parole for Lapses in Oversight of Parolees
Cites Failure to Monitor Missing Parolees and Parolee Treatment Plans

HARRISBURG, June 11, 2009 ? Auditor General Jack Wagner faulted the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole for lapses in oversight of parole agents and parolees, which could result in parolees not being adequately supervised by the state, according to a special performance audit released today of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

Auditors found that, from a sample of 24 parolees declared absconded, or missing, 9 had failed to meet with their parole officer for 3 years and 4 had failed for 5 years.

?This inadequate oversight by the Board of Probation and Parole is a serious potential threat to the safety of the public, especially at a time when crime is rising due to current economic conditions. Now more than ever, government must step up and be even more vigilant and do all that it can to protect the public from paroled criminals,? Wagner said. Wagner added, ?While we recognize that the challenges faced by criminal justice agencies are numerous, it is our hope that our audit recommendations will heighten the safety of both the residents of Pennsylvania and the various law enforcement officials entrusted with protecting our communities.?

The audit also found that the Board of Probation and Parole failed to adequately monitor rehabilitation treatment that parolees were required to attend. Wagner said the board failed to ensure that parolee treatment information was timely entered into its computer database, failed to establish and implement adequate policies and procedures for documenting treatment received by parolees, and failed to exercise senior-level accountability over monitoring rehabilitation treatment for offenders. Instead, the board designated individual supervisors solely with this responsibility.

?Failing to have an effective system to monitor parolee treatment activity limits the Board of Probation and Parole?s ability to assess the adequacy of parolee treatment programs, and to determine whether adjustments are necessary to improve treatment outcomes,? Wagner said. ?Assuring the proper treatment and completion of parolee rehabilitation plans must be a priority of the board, and it should also be monitored at the senior level.?

In addition, Wagner?s auditors found that the Board of Probation and Parole failed to provide evidence that parole supervisors reviewed parolee case file records for nearly 50 percent of the supervision checklists requested.

Furthermore, Wagner said his auditors identified case file deficiencies consisting of incomplete and inadequate supervision plans, incomplete records of interview, and failure to make the required number of face-to-face-contacts with parolees and collateral contacts. Wagner?s auditors also found that the supervisor case review checklist did not address the requirement to ensure that parole agents complete quarterly searches for absconders, nor did the checklist require supervisors to verify agents reacted timely when declaring a parolee an absconder. Parole agents have up to 30 days to conduct a diligent search for an offender before declaring him/her an absconder. Parole agents have 48 hours to file a delinquency request form once the parolee is determined to be unavailable for supervision to request the board declare the parolee an absconder. This request results in an arrest warrant being issued for the absconder.

Based on a sample of 24 absconder case files, auditors determined that parole agents failed to timely react in 13 percent of the cases, or three parolees, who missed appointments or were unaccounted for; one parole agent waited 53 days to file the delinquency request form after the parolee failed to show up for a scheduled appointment.

Wagner also said that his auditors were unable to validate the Board of Probation and Parole?s assertions about the ratio of cases per parole agent due to the board?s failure to provide his auditors with agent and caseload information that was requested during the audit.

?Residents of the commonwealth have a legitimate expectation that their government will make every effort to ensure the safety and well being of the general public,? Wagner said. ?Failing to provide agent and caseload related information purports a sense of secrecy as opposed to a sense of openness with regard to citizens? confidence in government, and that must be changed.?

The audit, which covered the period July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2006, included follow-up procedures performed and concluded as of May 15, 2009, to determine if a study commissioned by Governor Edward G. Rendell impacted any of the audit report?s findings. Wagner?s auditors found that the study did not pertain to the stated audit objectives contained in the audit report, which is available at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us. Wagner?s audit included a total of four findings, and 11 recommendations.

Wagner?s recommendations for improving the Board of Probation and Parole?s oversight included that the board:
Cease destroying documents that evidence proper internal controls, and develop a retention policy for checklist and other monitoring documents
Monitor rehabilitation treatment plans at the senior level, and ensure timely entry of treatment information into the Parole Follow-up System
Improve monitoring procedures for verifying that parole agents attempt to locate absconders and ensure compliance with the 30-day and 48-hour requirements
Take the necessary action to achieve and maintain a sufficient level of case-to-staff ratios.

Wagner?s audit report also contained an observation, encouraging the Board of Probation and Parole to implement the use of global positioning system (GPS) technology to monitor sexually violent offenders. Wagner recommended that the Board of Probation and Parole request that the General Assembly amend current law to require five years of GPS monitoring for all sex offenders released on parole who are caught after failing to register with state or local police as required, and for sexually violent predators whose victims are children.

?GPS Technology has been used effectively in many counties in Pennsylvania. It is time for the Board of Probation and Parole to adopt this technology as a tool in the process of monitoring parolees,? Wagner said.

Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the commonwealth?s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits, and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts approximately 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department?s Web site at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.


The Cyclical Economy

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Events that are cyclical happen on a periodic basis. Many economist subscribe to the theory that business is cyclical — a period of growth is followed by a period of recession. Because the last period of economic growth lasted so long, many business owners had never experienced a period of decline. In hindsight, they now realize how important it is to plan for a downturn. Optimizing inventory, staff and marketing are key elements in long term strategic planning.

Not only can economic trends be cyclical, but particular industries can be cyclical, as well. Quite a few businesses can be viewed as seasonal. For instance, the sale of seeds revolves around growing seasons. Burpee Seeds and The Victory Seed Company both see a sharp rise in sales during the spring. In the summer, sales fall flat and enter a downturn during the winter. Deck builders in the Northern United States are another example of a yearly business cycle. In the spring, new sales come easily. During the winter, there is little activity.

A company that experiences seasonal sales has the double whammy of planning for the cyclical nature of their seasonal sales, as well as, the cyclical nature of general economic growth. During the current economic climate, deck builders have found the extra need to scrutinize their marketing activities. Planning in advance is key to their success. The type of advertising medium combined with the timing of the advertising delivery involves having a preemptive plan. A cost effective Internet marketing plan that is rolled out prior to the building season will not only save money, but it will also help maximize the return on investment (ROI).

Costume sales is another good example of an industry that is familiar with seasonal sales. Though there might be some mild increases in business around holidays like Valentines Day and Christmas, the bulk of activity leads up to Halloween. The time for a costume company to undertake a marketing plan is not October, 31.

Moon Costumes is a company that understands the importance of a seasonal marketing plan. A family owned business in operation since 1969, Moon Costumes is well seasoned in seasonal sales. In 1969, the world wide web had not yet been conceived; however, Moon Costumes has stayed current with the times. They have implemented a strong on-line presence. Also, they understand the importance of gearing up their marketing campaign prior to the seasonal rush. A key component for their Halloween costume marketing was embarked upon in June.

Given the worldwide economic crisis, you might think a 50-year-old company would eliminate or cutback on web-based advertising. No. Quite the contrary. Optimizing the marketing budget is more important than ever.

?We are seeing an ongoing secular shift from traditional to online media as marketers recognize that ad dollars invested in interactive media are effective at influencing consumers and delivering measurable results,? said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) . ?In this uncertain economy, where marketers know they need to do more with less, interactive advertising provides the tools for them to build deep, engaging relationships with consumers?the experience marketers gain from this will deliver dividends especially after the economy turns around.?

Erik Aronesty, spokesperson for Moon Costumes, said, “We had to dig a little deeper this year for our ad budget, but I think it’s worth it!”

Visit Moon Costumes at mooncostumes.com.


Broadband For Rural America

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Washington, D.C., May 27, 2009 - Concluding that all rural Americans must have the opportunity to reap the full benefits of broadband services, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael J. Copps released a report last week providing a starting point for the development of policies to deliver broadband to rural areas and restore economic growth and opportunity for Americans residing and working in those areas.

Recognizing that the need for broadband in rural America is becoming ever-more critical, Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill required the FCC Chairman, in coordination with the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, to submit a report to Congress describing a rural broadband strategy. Entitled “Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy,” the report by Acting Chairman Copps identifies common problems affecting rural broadband, including technological challenges, lack of data, and high network costs, and offers some recommendations to address those problems.

Broadband “is the interstate highway of the 21st century for small towns and rural communities, the vital connection to the broader nation and, increasingly, the global economy,” Acting Chairman Copps said in the report. “Our nation as a whole will prosper and benefit from a concerted effort to bring broadband to rural America.”

According to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “Providing broadband access to rural communities will not only enhance farmers and ranchers’ ability to market goods and enhance production, it will help residents in rural communities obtain needed medical care, gain access to higher education, and benefit from resulting economic activity and job growth.”

Consistent with the statute’s provisions to make recommendations concerning improving inter-agency coordination, the report includes a number of recommendations, including: enhancing coordination among and between federal, Tribal, state, and community agencies, governments and organizations; reviewing existing federal programs to identify barriers to rural broadband deployment; coordinating broadband program terminology consistent with current laws; coordinating data collection and mapping efforts at the federal, Tribal, and state levels to better inform the public and policymakers; supporting consumer education and training initiatives to stimulate and sustain broadband demand; and identifying important policies and proceedings that support further broadband deployment such as universal service and network openness. The report also recognizes that the new administration has already taken important steps to improve coordination efforts and to prioritize broadband initiatives.

In the report, Acting Chairman Copps notes that Congress has provided new direction and support for federal broadband policies and initiatives, in particular through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition to providing $7.2 billion for broadband grants, loans and loan guarantees administered by the Agriculture and Commerce departments, that law charges the FCC with developing a national broadband plan by next February.

“I view this report as a prelude to, and building block for, the national broadband plan, which will address in greater detail and on a vastly more complete record, the input of all stakeholders and the steps the nation must take to achieve its broadband goals,” Acting Chairman Copps said in the report. Although the national plan will be broader in scope and will focus on bringing broadband to all Americans regardless of where they live, the Rural Broadband report released today “provides another, critical step in the Commission’s efforts to develop an effective, efficient and achievable national broadband plan.”

The report can be found on the Commission’s website at FCC Broadband

Docket No.: GN 09-29



Human Error Blamed

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Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. ? Due to a ?human error,? 134 petty officers second class were incorrectly notified that they had been promoted to E-6 before the Memorial Day weekend, said Rear Adm. Dan Holloway.

The Chief of Naval Personnel has ordered an investigation into how the mistake happened, said Holloway, director of the Navy?s military personnel, plans and policy division.

About 60 sailors had already been ?frocked,? meaning they were allowed to wear the higher rank insignia.

?We deeply regret, as you can imagine, the human error causing the hardship over the Memorial Day weekend, and of course, a lot of those folks thought they had succeeded and [were] celebrating, and then to receive the news that it was an error,? Holloway, said.

While the Navy correctly calculated these sailors? advancement scores and the quota for how many sailors should advance to E-6, it accidentally put more names on the advancement list than the quota allowed, Navy officials said. The mistake affects ?Full Time Support? sailors, most of whom are based in the United States, Holloway said.

The 134 sailors will not be able to keep their E-6 rank, but the Navy?s mistake will not hurt their chances for future advancement, he said.

?They will be able to ? for those who are still competing ? to compete with a clean slate, and like everyone else, to build their portfolio and their record so that they can go after their goal in advance and stay Navy,? Holloway said.

None of the sailors had begun to receive E-6 pay, but those sailors who had assumed E-6 responsibilites will have to be de-frocked. A statement will be entered into their personnel records making clear that the action was ?due to an administrative error which resulted in erroneous frocking and not because of any adverse action,? a Navywide message said.

?We did that for a purpose to make sure that every one of these 134 were protected, and [to] ensure that it was a permanent record that it was our error,? Holloway said.

In a related error, 31 sailors were not told that they had been promoted to E-6, he said.

The Navy has since added an extra check to make sure the human error in question does not happen again, Holloway said.

?We do not want to put our sailors through this,? Holloway said.


Red Cross Spends Over $1B

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The Red Cross announced it surpassed 1 billion dollars of spending in 2008. There is some debate as to why expenditures hit a record high. Is it because of the increased need for relief or because of the increased ability to reach relief victims?

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is based in Geneva and was founded in 1863. “We had a record expenditure last year,” Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the ICRC said.

“Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan are three examples of countries where natural disasters and high food prices have made life even harder for poor people already struggling to cope with the effects of war.”

“Much of this suffering could have been avoided if conflict parties had improved their compliance with international humanitarian law.”


CIA And OSS Training

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A Look Back ? The Office of Strategic Services: Training in the Forest


As a recruit for a new intelligence organization, you train by creeping along trails laced with booby traps. You learn how to use weapons, radios and codes. Where might such secretive training take place? In the midst of our national forests and parks, of course!

Such tales of intrigue and heroism attracted the interest of Rutgers University history professor John W. Chambers. He was especially interested in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)?the forerunner of the CIA. When the National Park Service asked him to write a report about the OSS training in their parks during World War II, he was only too happy to oblige.

Chambers believes that teaching the public about the OSS is important.

?Until the declassification of the OSS records during the past three decades, the public did not really know very much about this secret organization,? he said. ?Some said the initials OSS really stood for ?Oh, So, Secret.? The public should know about what was historically America?s first centralized intelligence and special operations agency.?

The Birth of the OSS

With the United States mobilizing for war, President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the need for an organization to collect and analyze strategic information. On July 11, 1941, he created the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI) and named war hero William Donovan to head it.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ended the COI and established the OSS with Donovan as its leader. The men and women of the OSS engaged in intelligence and special operations throughout the war.

With the pressing need for intelligence during World War II, the OSS grew very quickly. In part, because of its rapid growth, the OSS had little time to find a place to train its new recruits.

Training in the Forest

The ideal setting for OSS training was a place with a lot of land, isolated from roads and the general public.1 Donovan had a few places in mind?Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland and Prince William Forest Park in Virginia.

These two parks had everything needed to train OSS recruits:

* Heavily wooded terrain,
* Camp houses where the recruits could sleep and
* Buildings for dining and training.

And the parks were already government property.2

Training typically lasted between two and four weeks, depending on the course.

Although the Special Operations, Operational Groups, and Communications branches did much of their training at these two national parks, the OSS also leased other sites in Maryland for use by other OSS branches. They included:

* Frontage on the Potomac,
* Country estates for use by the intelligence branches, and
* The Congressional Country Club for preliminary training particularly for the Operational Groups.

Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park was the first operative training camp for the OSS in the United States. It was the site for basic paramilitary training for the OSS? Special Operations recruits and some Secret Intelligence personnel.3 Later, it would also serve for advanced training for OSS Operational Groups. Catoctin Mountain Park was also known as Training Area B.

While training at Area B, recruits learned knife-fighting and close-combat techniques. They also were introduced to the ?house of horrors,? which imitated the stress of an actual urban combat situation.4 Recruits were awakened in the middle of the night and given a gun with ammunition and sent into the house, where they were told they would find Nazi guards.5

Prince William Forest Park

From 1942 to 1945, at least two branches of the OSS trained on the grounds of Prince William Forest Park?Special Operations (Training Area A) and Communications (Training Area C).

In the security that the forest offered, the Special Operations Branch trained its advanced recruits how to operate behind enemy lines in sabotage, guerilla leadership and other forms of subversion.6 New recruits were tasked with concealing their own identity while trying to learn as much information as possible from fellow trainees. Recruits also were:

* Taught how to use weapons, radios and codes;
* Make and disarm booby traps; and
* Make low-level parachute jumps from aircraft.7

The OSS Communications Branch also trained its recruits in Prince William Forest Park. Recruits in this division learned Morse code and ciphers, covert radio practices and maintenance, as well as the use of weapons and martial arts.8

Famous Trainees

A few famous faces are among the graduates of these training courses:

* Actor Sterling Hayden (also known as Capt. John Hamilton) trained at Area B.
* Major league baseball catcher Moe Berg also trained in one of the camps held in the national parks.
* Directors of Central Intelligence (DCI) William Colby and William Casey, who trained at Area B.

In particular, Casey is remembered for an incident during his time at Area B. He was training on a ?demolition trail?? an obstacle course along a path in the woods that was laced with booby traps. Trainees were ordered to make their way along the trail as quickly and quietly as possible, while looking out for booby traps.9 Casey stumbled off the trail and caught a trip wire, which set off a charge of TNT. The blast sent a tree limb flying through the air. It hit Casey in the face and broke his jaw.

Sharing the Stories

The national parks were instrumental in the success of World War II because they provided the perfect place for OSS recruits to train.

?The OSS was a very important organization in American history,? said Chambers. ?It played an important part in the American victory in World War II, and its institutional legacies include the Central Intelligence Agency and the Army?s Special Forces.?

CIA Museum Director Toni Hiley also thinks it is important to share the OSS? robust history with Agency employees and the public.

?The OSS was the grandfather of today?s unconventional warfare,? she said. ?The more things change, the more they stay the same. Lessons from 60 years ago are still valid today.?


Long, Long, Long Walk In Space

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Outer Space — Astronauts completed one of NASA’s top six longest spacewalks over the weekend. The Atlantis? Mission to Hubble was not suppose to have a spacewalk of this length; however, a problem arose while working on a bolt interface. Astronaut, Mike Massimino, had to remove over 100 screws by hand.

NASA reported:
In the sixth longest spacewalk in history, Astronauts Mike Massimino and Michael Good tackled the intricate task of removing and capturing 111 screws to be able to revive the Hubble Space Telescope?s two-dimensional spectroscopy capability.

In the 8 hour, 2 minute spacewalk, Massimino and Good repaired the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) by replacing a power supply board. STIS, installed on the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997, stopped working in August 2004 due to a power supply failure and was in a ?safe mode.?

Though the removal of the many screws was expected to be difficult, a handrail gave Good and Massimino trouble. The handrail was obstructing the path of a fastener capture plate and one stripped bolt prevented it from coming free. Massimino followed steps developed quickly at the Goddard Spaceflight Center to carefully bend and break the handrail free so that the fastener capture plate could be installed. At about three hours into the spacewalk, Massimino broke the handrail free allowing the spacewalkers to proceed with the day?s tasks.

The initial aliveness test reported the STIS as working properly. The initial functional test was ended when the telescope put itself into ?safe mode,? having reached a low thermal limit. The STIS is believed to be in good shape. Ground controllers will start the functional tests over again, once the telescope reaches a good temperature.

The STIS separates light into its component colors to reveal information about the chemical content, temperature and motion of planets, comets, stars, interstellar gas and galaxies. The information it can provide will help scientists better understand the physical properties of the material universe ? putting the physics in astrophysics.

Massimino and Good were unable to get to the installation of the New Outer Blanket Layer (NOBL) on the outside of the telescope?s bay 8. Mission managers have asked Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Andrew Fuestel to add the installation of a partial set of blankets on bay 8 during Monday?s spacewalk. If time permits, the two may get to install the full set.

The crew?s sleep period will begin at 8:31 p.m. CDT, and the crew is due to wake up tomorrow at 4:31 a.m. to conduct the fifth and final spacewalk of the mission. The next status report will be issued at the beginning of the crew?s day or earlier if events warrant.

NASA Spacewalk

NASA Spacewalk