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World Newsbits for August 10, 2014


Tokyo (AP) – The mayor of Nagasaki on Saturday raised concern over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push toward Japan’s more assertive defense policy as the city marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing. Speaking at the ceremony in Nagasaki’s Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe’s government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan’s commitment to its pacifist pledge. Thousands of attendants, including US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and a record number of representatives from 51 countries, offered a minute of silence and prayer for the victims at 11:02 a.m., the moment the bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, as bells rang. They also lay wreaths of white and yellow chrysanthemums at the Statue of Peace. The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, prompting Tokyo’s World War II surrender. The first on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people and the Nagasaki bomb killed another 70,000.


Los Angeles (AP) – Sending heavier vehicles and, eventually, humans to Mars requires first testing new technologies to see if they actually work. But it’s infeasible to conduct experiments on the red planet, so to mimic Mars’ low-density atmosphere, NASA sent a saucer-like test vehicle high above the Earth. NASA engineers announced Friday that the June mission’s main objective was met: The vehicle, called the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, flew to 190,000 feet at more than four times the speed of sound and simulated Martian landing conditions.


Washington (AP) – The death this week of former White House press secretary James Brady, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, has been ruled a homicide by a medical examiner, police said Friday. Federal prosecutors said they are reviewing the ruling, but a law professor and an attorney for John Hinckley Jr., who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting, said bringing new charges against in Brady’s death seemed unlikely. Brady, who never regained normal use of his limbs and was often in a wheelchair, died Monday at age 73 from a series of health issues, according to his family. After the shooting, Brady undertook a high-profile, personal crusade for gun control, which continues to be one of the country’s most hotly debated issues.


Aden (AFP) – Al-Qaeda militants on Friday abducted and executed 15 Yemeni soldiers in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, a military official said. The latest bloodshed comes a day after 11 suspected al-Qaeda militants and four Yemeni soldiers were killed in attacks on two army posts in the restive province. The soldiers were in a bus when they were ambushed “by an al-Qaeda commando unit” near the town of Shibam, said the official. The men were taken to the nearby village of Huta and executed, the official added.


Faribault, Minnesota (AP) – Prosecutors argued Friday that a former nurse should be convicted of assisting suicide for sending emails and other online communications in which he urged two people in Britain and Canada to kill themselves and gave them information on how to do it. William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, was back in court more than three years after he was convicted of encouraging suicides. The Minnesota Supreme Court earlier this year reversed those convictions, saying the state’s law against encouraging or advising suicides was too broad.