An important test of the United States' fledgling missile defense system ended in failure early Wednesday as an interceptor rocket failed to launch on cue from the Marshall Islands, the Pentagon said.
After a rocket carrying a mock warhead as a target was launched from Kodiak, Alaska, the interceptor, which was intended to go aloft 16 minutes later and home in on the target 100 miles over the earth, automatically shut down because of "an unknown anomaly," according to the Missile Defense Agency of the Defense Department.
The launching had been planned as the first full test in two years of this element of the Bush administration's effort to deploy a multilayered missile defense shield.
The setback threatened to delay further the initial step of activating a basic missile defense, which had once been planned for September but slipped into next year after a series of canceled tests and developmental difficulties.
Ah, yes, the troops don't have armor, but hey, we have a white elephant pretty useless against terrorists missile "defense" system.
A federal Education Department analysis of test scores from 2003 shows that children in charter schools generally did not perform as well on exams as those in regular public schools. The analysis, released Wednesday, largely confirms an earlier report on the same statistics by the American Federation of Teachers.
The department, analyzing the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test for fourth graders, found charter students scoring significantly lower than regular public school students in math, even when the results are broken down for low-income children and those in cities.
In reading, the report said, over all there was no statistically significant difference between students in charters and in regular public schools. However, when students in special education were excluded, charter students scored significantly lower than those in regular public schools.
Well, I guess those teachers unions have corrupted even charter schools with their psychic powers...
Tokyo- Toru Kondo, an English teacher at a public high school here, had never before been reprimanded in his 32-year career. But he was recently required to take a two-hour "special retraining course," lectured on his mistaken ways and given a sheet of paper on which to engage in half an hour of written self-examination.
His offense was to defy the Tokyo Board of Education's new regulation requiring teachers to sing the national anthem while standing and facing the national flag. He and scores of colleagues refused, because for them the rising-sun flag and the anthem, "Kimigayo," or "His Majesty's Reign," are symbols of imperialism.
"When the Japanese military invaded Asia, the rising-sun flag led the corps and the 'Kimigayo' was sung when Japanese soldiers won a battle," Mr. Kondo said. "I've been telling students that the two are linked to Japan's militarism."
In Tokyo, the only municipality to have meted out broad punishments, the authorities were hoping to use the capital's influence to make respect for the flag and anthem compulsory nationwide. While newspaper polls show voters here opposing such a movement, voters have still remained firmly behind its leader, Shintaro Ishihara, the rightist governor of Tokyo.
The movement suffered a setback recently, from an unexpected corner: Emperor Akihito, who stated his opposition to the regulation. The Imperial Household Agency, some politicians and newspapers played down the comment by the emperor, who, according to the Constitution, is forbidden from interfering in political matters. But others saw in his rare political utterance a sign that he was worried about Japan's direction.
After Japan's defeat in World War II, the rising-sun flag was banned for more than three years under the American occupation. Asian neighbors remain suspicious of Japanese nationalism and of the country's new assertiveness overseas, including sending 550 troops to Iraq. The young in Seoul or Shanghai may consume Pokémon or other symbols of the new Japan. But since they are thoroughly taught about the brutalities of Japanese colonialism, unlike their Japanese counterparts, their often visceral reactions to symbols of the old Japan lie near the surface.
Too bad the US doesn't have such debates, and too bad Japan is going back to this over patriotic stuff.