What’s in the News

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Week in Review

International
The European Space Agency’s Philae lander has sent back the first ever image from the surface of a comet. The picture shows the cracked, bumpy surface in monochrome. Comets are often described as “dirty snowballs,” irregular blocks of ice covered with dust and rocks, but no human craft has ever reached the surface of one before.
Scientists established communications with Philae after an anxious overnight wait while its mothership Rosetta, which relays the signals to Earth, dipped below the comet’s horizon. Magnetic field data from Philae’s ROMAP instrument analyzed overnight revealed three ‘landings.’
The first was almost exactly on the expected arrival time of 15:33 GMT. But the anchoring harpoons did not fire and Philae rebounded.
In the weak gravity of the comet it took about 2 hours for the lander to return to the surface. It touched down for a second time, then bounced again before finally coming to rest. ESA scientists described the lander as “stable” despite concerns following the initial touchdown.
The first image from the surface is a mosaic of two images taken by the lander’s CIVA (the Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser) camera. It shows one of Philae’s landing legs and the craggy surface. ESA had been expecting a view of the horizon so the scientists believe the craft is not on a flat surface.
“We are definitely not in the open,” said Fred Jansen, ESA Rosetta mission manager.
This presents a danger to the mission which has an initial battery life of about 60 hours. After that it must switch to rechargeable batteries and rely on solar illumination to keep it powered so if it is stuck in a trench it may not be able to receive sunlight.
Four other pictures from CIVA have been downlinked. They will form the first 360° panorama of the surface. ESA official said that there may be no horizon visible. Engineers are currently investigating the best way to pinpoint the location of Philae.
They are planning to use the radar instrument Consert (Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission), on both Rosetta and Philae, to triangulate the position.
During the decent, Concert showed that the lander was just 50 meters adrift from the targeted landing spot. ESA had planned for an error of up to 500 metres. Science data is flowing in, although the communications link between Philae and Rosetta remains intermittent at times.“We have telemetry and massive data already. This is a success,” said Jansen.
Rosetta mission aims to unlock the mysteries of comets, made from ancient material that predates the birth of the solar system. In the data Rosetta and Philae collect, researchers hope to learn more of how the solar system formed and how comets carried water and complex organics to the planets, preparing the stage for life on Earth.
The feat marks a profound success for Esa, which launched the Rosetta spacecraft more than 10 years ago from its Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and Philae have travelled more than 6bn kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135,000km/h. “We are the first to do this, and that will stay forever,” said Jean Jacques Dordain, director general of ESA.
National
A vicious, hate-filled letter written by the FBI and sent to American civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been made public in full for the first time. The single-paged anonymous letter was sent to King in 1964, calling him a "complete fraud and a great liability," an "evil, abnormal beast," and threatening to expose his marital infidelities in an apparent bid to make him commit suicide.
The New York Times published the note almost in its entirety, blanking out a woman's name. The letter highlights the hostile attitude the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was at the time run by J Edgar Hoover, had toward King and the civil rights movement.
According to the Times, it was written by one of Hoover's deputies, William Sullivan, and was apparently sent along with an audio recording containing evidence of King's extramarital affairs. "Listen to yourself you filthy, abnormal animal," the letter reads.
"You have been on the record -- all your adulterous acts, your sexual orgies extending far into the past. This one is but a tiny sample."
When King received the letter, he told friends that someone wanted him to kill himself, the Times reported. The letter goes on to tell King: "There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is" -- an apparent exhortation for him to kill himself.
The letter was crafted to make it appear it came from someone within the civil rights movement, making a reference to "us Negroes." "You could not believe in God and act as you do," the letter states. "Clearly you don't believe in any personal moral principles."
Hoover believed King was being influenced by communists, and King accused the FBI of failures in stopping violence against blacks in the segregated Deep South.
In 1963, King famously made his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington during an enormous rally in the nation's capital. The march helped set the stage for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed major forms of racial discrimination, followed a year later by the Voting Rights Act, designed to guarantee the franchise for all black US citizens. King was gunned down by a sniper in 1968.
Politics
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, a congressional aide said after lawmakers prepared to debate the controversial project. The legislation, expected to pass the Republican-led chamber, would approve the pipeline that would run from Canada south to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. President Barack Obama has not said whether he would sign any bill on the pipeline into law, and U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said that she has no commitment from Obama that he would do so.
If he vetoes it, Congress could then move to override him but the pipeline project needs presidential approval because it crosses an international border.
Obama's Administration has been weighing for six years whether to approve the project, which also faces a court challenge in Nebraska over the pipeline's route. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said senior administration officials had a "dim view" of previous proposals and had recommended that the president veto them.
Environmentalists, an important Democratic constituency, have argued against encouraging Canada's extraction of a crude oil that is seen as particularly polluting and will worsen global climate change problems.

Conservatives, and even some Democrats and labor unions, have been heavily pressing the project as a way to create jobs and boost U.S. energy independence. The rapid push for legislation follows the sweep by Republicans in the midterm congressional election.
Business
The legacy of Imam Wallace Deem Mohammed business initiative is fueling the pursuit of business growth among his followers who want “business growth” and among those who supported him. Several business owners have maintained a weekly discussion to analyze what can be done to energize business investment and consumer support.
The group is not seeking a “hand out” but strongly believes that a “hand up” would greatly improve the quality life for everyone. The group said the form of the business initiative is diverse; however, the desired outcome is a united business environment which meets the needs of their community and provides individual and community wealth.

Several business people are engaged in international trade; others are providing an array products and services at the local level throughout America. The investors in these economic endeavors believe that the economic strength of their community have yet to be realized.
They also believe that with the support and push of the community they can bring the consumer what they desire most: a good value for their money, jobs and an improved community life.

For such a noble pursuit to be realized it must be institutionalized in the fabric of the community life. It must become an expectation that replaces hope.

Health

The Obama Administration tried to assure skeptical members of the U.S. Senate that its efforts to combat Ebola were showing progress and urged lawmakers to approve $6.2 billion in new emergency funds to contain the deadly virus.
"We believe we have the right strategy in place, both at home and abroad," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
She said a $1 billion-plus U.S. response in West Africa has already begun to show "fragile and fluid" progress to contain infection and assured senators that "we are confident that we can limit the number of cases in the United States.
The Administration's funding request, which includes $1.2 billion to protect Americans from Ebola at home, won support from Democrats, while Republicans claimed that the public and state governments had lost confidence in federal authorities after a series of missteps by U.S. health officials.
"What we have witnessed these past few months from various agencies has been confusing and at times contradictory," said Senator Richard Shelby, the committee's top Republican.
The hearing began just after the World Health Organization announced the death toll from the largest ever Ebola outbreak had topped 5,000 cases, nearly all in West Africa. The deadly virus has now infected more than 14,000 people.
In the United States, Ebola has spawned a debate over preparedness, including whether to restrict the movements of people returning from the West Africa hot zone. Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, the first Ebola case on U.S. soil, died last month in a Dallas hospital while two of his nurses became infected.
The nurses both survived, as did Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to New York City from treating Ebola patients in Guinea before developing symptoms. He has since been declared Ebola free.
Thousands of nurses across the United States also staged protest rallies and strikes over what they say is insufficient protection for health workers dealing with patients possibly stricken with Ebola.
The committee's Democratic chair, Senator Barbara Mikulski, asked Burwell if she was confident doctors and nurses have been given adequate protection.
"That is what we are working to do," Burwell said, adding a quarter-million health workers have participated in federally sponsored Ebola events.

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