Guantanamo strike grows
The military is sending additional medical personnel to the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba, where more than half the inmates have joined a hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesman said on Monday. Less than 40 reinforcements will arrive by the end of this month, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesman for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base. House said the new arrivals would include a doctor, nurses, corpsmen and medics, who will supplement the 100 medical personnel already on duty. The military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers on Monday and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs. Six were hospitalized for observation, House said.
Show seeks Mars tourists
Applications are now being accepted by the makers of a Dutch reality television show that says it will deliver the first humans to the Red Planet in 10 years. The main requirements are strong health, good people and survival skills, being 18 or older, and having a reasonable grasp of the English language. The non-profit company, called “Mars One,” aims to land its first four astronauts in 2023 to attempt to establish a colony on Mars. Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp told a New York press conference on Monday that organizers had received 10,000 messages from applicants in more than 100 countries in the past year. A range of potential pitfalls might prevent the project from becoming a reality, including the inability to return to Earth, the small living quarters and the lack of food and water on Mars.
Hagel gains new perspective
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday at the end of a three-day trip which saw him touting strong backing for the nation despite differences over Iran’s nuclear project. With US-Israeli relations strained over questions about the imminence of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and Hagel dogged by his past criticisms of Israel, the Pentagon chief has stressed his full support for the Jewish state in his first visit as the US’ defense secretary. Speaking on Monday, Hagel said he came away with a fresh perspective on the country’s situation after a 90 minute helicopter tour of the occupied Golan Heights in the north, accompanied by Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon. “I had been in those areas in my many visits here, but I’d never seen it the way that the minister had it laid out for me, the north along the border,” Hagel told reporters.
Sinn Fein head testifies
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams on Monday denied that he only went to police nine years after allegations of child abuse emerged against his younger brother to save his political career. The trial of Liam Adams heard that Gerry Adams did not tell police until 2009 that his brother had allegedly confessed to the abuse as they walked together in Dundalk in 2000. Gerry Adams was giving evidence against his brother in a Belfast court, where the latter faces 10 counts of alleged sex abuse against his daughter Aine, including rape. However, the former West Belfast MP denied that he told Liam Adams he would “hit him with a hammer” if the allegations made by Aine Adams were true or that he withheld the information because of his political career.