Safety door open

Transgressions such as leaving a security or "blast" door open are rarely revealed publicly. But officials with knowledge of the Air Force told the AP they have occurred.

WASHINGTON — Twice this year alone, Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to nuclear-tipped missiles have been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post g-suite cardinal manchester, Air Force officials have told The Associated Press.

The blast doors are never to be left open if one of the crew members inside is asleep — as was the case in both these instances — out of concern for the damage an intruder could cause, including the compromising of secret launch codes.

Transgressions such as this are rarely revealed publicly. But officials with direct knowledge of Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile operations told the AP that such violations have happened, undetected, many more times than in the cases of the two launch crew commanders and two deputy commanders who were given administrative punishments this year.

The blast door violations are another sign of serious trouble in the handling of the nation's nuclear arsenal. The AP has discovered a series of problems within the ICBM force, including a failed safety inspection, the temporary sidelining of launch officers deemed unfit for duty and the abrupt firing last week of the two-star general in charge. The problems, including low morale, underscore the challenges of keeping safe such a deadly force that is constantly on alert but is unlikely ever to be used.

The crews who operate the missiles are trained to follow rules without fail, including the prohibition against having the blast door open when only one crew member is awake, because the costs of a mistake are so high.

Related: US nuclear force faces a cascade of missteps

The officers, g-suite manchester known as missileers, are custodians of keys that could launch nuclear hell. The warheads on the business ends of their missiles are capable of a nuclear yield many times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

"The only way that you can have a crew member be in 'rest status' is if that blast door is shut and there is no possibility of anyone accessing the launch control center," said Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. He is responsible for the entire force of 450 Minuteman 3 missiles, plus the Air Force's nuclear-capable bombers.

The written Air Force instruction on ICBM weapon safety, last updated in June 1996, says, "One crewmember at a time may sleep on duty, but both must be awake and capable of detecting an unauthorized act if ... the Launch Control Center blast door is open" or if someone other than the crew is present.

The blast door is not the first line of defense. An intruder intent on taking control of a missile command post would first face many layers of security before encountering the blast door, which — when closed — is secured by 12 hydraulically operated steel pins. The door is at the base of an elevator shaft. Entry to that elevator is controlled from an above-ground building. ICBM missile fields are monitored with security cameras and patrolled regularly by armed Air Force guards.

Each underground launch center, known as a capsule for its pill-like shape, monitors and operates 10 Minuteman 3 missiles.

The missiles stand in reinforced concrete silos and are linked to the control center by buried communications cables. The ICBMs are split evenly among "wings" based in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Each wing is divided into three squadrons, each responsible for 50 missiles.

In neither of the two reported violations was security of the crews' missiles compromised, the Air Force said in response to questions from the AP, "due to the multiple safeguards and other protections in place." But these were clear-cut violations of what the Air Force calls "weapon system safety rules" meant to be strictly enforced in keeping with the potentially catastrophic, g-suite oldham consequences of a breach of nuclear security.

In the two episodes confirmed by the Air Force, the multi-ton concrete-and-steel door that seals the entrance to the underground launch control center was deliberately left open while one of two crew members inside napped.

One officer lied about a violation but later admitted to it.

Spending a stumbling block to budget deal

Senate leaders are working to find a deal before Thursday, when the U.S. will deplete its borrowing authority and risk a federal default.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans and Democrats hit an impasse Sunday over spending in their last-ditch struggle to avoid an economy-jarring default in just four days and end a partial government shutdown that's entering its third week.

After inconclusive talks between President Barack Obama and House Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Set up Business in Hong Kong and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took charge in trying to end the crises, although a conversation Sunday afternoon failed to break the stalemate.

"Americans want Congress to compromise," Reid said at the start of a rare Sunday session in the Senate, during which he pressed for a long-term budget deal.

The two cagy negotiators are at loggerheads over Democratic demands to undo or change the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs that the GOP see as crucial to reducing the nation's deficit.

McConnell insisted a solution was readily available in the proposal from a bipartisan group of 12 senators, led by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that would re-open the government and fund it at current levels for six months while raising the debt limit through Jan. 31.

"It's time for Democrat leaders to take 'yes' for an answer," McConnell said in a statement.

The latest snag comes as 350,000 federal workers remain idle, hundreds of thousands more work without pay and an array of government services, from home loan applications to environmental inspections, were on hold on the 13th day of the shutdown.

Several parks and monuments remain closed, drawing a protest at the National World War II Memorial on Sunday that included tea party-backed lawmakers who had unsuccessfully demanded defunding of President Barack Obama's 3-year-old health care law in exchange for keeping the government open.

Unnerving to world economies is the prospect of the United States defaulting on its financial obligations on Thursday if Congress fails to raise the borrowing authority above the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund's managing director, spoke fearfully about the disruption and uncertainty, warning of a "risk of tipping, yet again, hong kong company register into recession" after the fitful recovery from 2008. The reaction of world financial markets and the Dow Jones on Monday will influence any congressional talks.

Related: Hope remains for global recovery beyond US impasse

Congress is racing the clock to get a deal done, faced with time-consuming Senate procedures that could slow legislation, likely opposition from tea partyers and certain resistance in the Republican-led House before a bill gets to Obama.

Politically, Republicans are reeling, bearing a substantial amount of the blame for the government shutdown and stalemate.

"We're in a free-fall as Republicans, but Democrats are not far behind," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in warning Democrats about seizing on the GOP's bruised brand as leverage to extract more concessions.

McConnell and Republicans want to continue current spending at $986.7 billion and leave untouched the new round of cuts in January, commonly known as sequester, that would reduce the amount to $967 billion. Democrats want to figure out a way to undo the reductions, plus a long-term extension of the debt limit increase and a short-term spending bill to reopen the government.

"Republicans want to do it with entitlement cuts," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "Democrats want to do it with a mix of mandatory cuts, some entitlements and revenues. And so how do you overcome that dilemma? We're not going to overcome it in the next day or two."

He suggested keeping the government running through mid-January.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, told reporters the two sides are roughly $70 billion apart, the difference between the $1.058 trillion Senate budget amount and the $988 billion envisioned by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"We haven't picked a number, but clearly we need to negotiate between those two," Durbin said.

Republicans dismiss the latest request as Reid moving the goalposts in negotiations as they were getting closer to resolving the stalemate that has paralyzed Washington. They also argue that it is disingenuous for Democrats to resist any changes in the 3-year-old health care law while trying to undo the 2011 budget law that put the cuts on track.

"I think the Democrats are on the verge of being one tick too cute as they see the House possibly in disarray — they now are overreaching, and I think that what we've got to do is get this back in the middle of the road, act like adults," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Graham and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said they would not support any deal that upends the spending limits imposed by the 2011 law, how to register a business and predicted that their Senate GOP colleagues would oppose it as well.

Out of play, for now, was the Republican-led House, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told GOP lawmakers early Saturday that his talks with the president had ground to a halt. Obama telephoned House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday, focusing on the need for any increase in the debt limit without concessions.

Also sidelined, at least for now, was the plan forged by Collins and a bipartisan coalition to briefly fund the government and extend the $16.7 trillion debt limit, in exchange for steps like temporarily delaying the medical device tax that helps fund the health care law.

Democrats said Collins' plan curbed spending too tightly, and Reid announced Saturday it was going nowhere.

The use of the wrong division system

The paper by the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) Waikato branch, prepared for the union's conference in October, says the system is stigmatising low decile schools and increasing gaps between the haves and have nots.

It says schools should instead have individual socioeconomic profiles.

The decile system ranking schools from one to 10, Set up Business in Hong Kong with schools ranked one being those with high proportions of students from poorer families and at risk of not achieving educationally, was introduced in the 1990s.

It was intended to help identify schools at lower ends which required higher levels of funding, but instead has been used by parents as a proxy for educational quality, the paper says.

Rolls at decile one to three schools went down by 12 per cent between 2001 and 2011, while rolls at decile eight to 10 schools went up 23 per cent in the same period formation of company.

The paper says high decile schools are not better than low decile schools.

"They have a student intake which has less socioeconomic disadvantage and greater levels of social capital to draw on.

"Their results are enhanced by their ability to attract the most academically able students from the lower decile schools through good marketing, better resourcing and parental misunderstanding of decile."

It says the system has also not succeeded in equalising funding as higher decile schools had greater capacity to raise money from the community Income Tax Hong Kong.

The paper says replacing the decile figure with a socioeconomic profile would more accurately reflect the community and get rid of some of the stigmatisation.

The government has indicated it will review the system but PPTA president Angela Roberts says any review needs to in-depth and realistic.

To kill a woman

The bodies of Glenys Stanton, 47, and Trevor Waite, 51, case covers were found in Opaheke, near Papakura, last Sunday and a former partner of Ms Stanton was found dead in a west Auckland forest on Tuesday evening.

Ms Stanton had two daughters.

Nicole Stanton, 19, paid tribute to her mother in a letter published in the Herald on Sunday.

"Mum. To the world you were my mother, but to me you were my world," she wrote.

"I will miss not being able to share all the important occasions in my life with you, smart cloud HK like graduating from uni, getting married and having my own family one day."

She said her mother was very happy after getting a job as an international flight attendant, a job she had dreamed of doing as a young woman.

Mr Waite was described by his family as a quiet, where to buy wigs caring and kind man and devoted father, while Ms Stanton's family said she was someone who made the most of every opportunity and lived life to the full.

His sister Halawa indicted Report

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said the government doesn’t have any information on reports that the four Irish citizens being held by authorities in Cairo are facing a number of serious charges.

The Irish Times reported this morning that the three Halawa sisters, Omaima (21), Fatima (23) and Soumaya (27), nu skin product and their 17-year-old brother Ibrahim are facing charges including attempted murder, possession of firearms and being members of a militant group.

But Gilmore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, was not in a position to confirm the report by Mary Fitzgerald when speaking to the media in Brussels this afternoon ahead of an emergency EU meeting on the Egypt situation.

“We don’t have any information about those reports. We’ve obviously read the reports in the newspaper nuskin group,” he said.

Gilmore mentioned the visit by a consular official from Ireland’s embassy in Cairo to the four siblings in prison yesterday and repeated the words of his junior minister Joe Costello that the Halawa siblings were “in good spirits”.

“I’ve got a report on that consular visit,” Gilmore said. “But we don’t have any information at this point about any charges that have been brought against them.”

He said that the government was concerned and said it would continue to keep in contact with the Halawas and their family in Dublin.

“We’re going to watch the situation very closely nu skin hong kong,” Gilmore said.

The Tánaiste also spoke about today’s emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers which aim to examine EU relations with Egypt in the wake of the ousting of elected president Mohamed Morsi last month.

“We’ve been very concerned at the lost of life, the violence that has been occurring in Egypt, the deterioration in the situation there IP camera manufacturer,” he said adding that Europe has “always had a very good relationship” with Cairo.

He said it would be a lot easier to address the situation at an EU level now than to do it “at some stage later”.
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