RICHMOND, Ky. — The U.S. Army is expected to begin draining and neutralizing a container of lethal nerve agent on Wednesday, almost 15 months after a one-gallon leak was identified at a Kentucky storage site for chemical weapons.
After months of assuaging environmental and community concerns, the Army said on Monday that a mobile biological agent unit deployed from Maryland would begin handling the steel container and two similar ones held in a bunker at Blue Grass Army Depot, about 20 miles southeast of Lexington.
Although small vapor leaks are routine and largely benign at the stockpile of Cold War-era chemical weapons in Richmond and other sites nationwide, the sarin leak that occurred there Aug. 27, 2007, represented the largest and one of the most serious on record at the depot.
No worker or member of the surrounding community was exposed, and Army officials say they were confident none of the deadly agent escaped into the atmosphere outside the storage igloo.
Hawaii: SEAL vessel catches fire
The Navy said firefighters extinguished a blaze on a SEAL submersible that was undergoing maintenance on shore at Pearl Harbor. No injuries were reported in the late Sunday-early Monday fire.
Nebraska: 30th safe-haven case
A 17-year-old boy left by his mother at an Omaha hospital on Monday is the 30th child abandoned under Nebraska’s safe-haven law, state officials said. Nebraska was the last state to enact a safe-haven law, intended to protect unwanted newborns from being abandoned. Some have interpreted the state’s law as meaning it could apply to children as old as 18, because it uses the word “child” and doesn’t specify an age limit. The Legislature opens a special session on Friday to change the law.
California: Mars mission over
After hearing nothing from the Phoenix spacecraft in more than a week, NASA officials in California on Monday declared an end to the nearly six-month mission at Mars’ north pole, the first to touch and taste the water on an alien planet. Phoenix sent its last message Nov. 2, before a lack of power caused it to go to sleep, permanently, it now appears. The craft survived nearly three months longer than its expected 90-day mission.
Nevada: Wild horse cost controls
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to consider euthanizing wild horses or selling many of them to reduce spiraling costs of keeping them in long-term holding pens, said a government report Monday. The report by the Government Accountability Office said costs of caring for wild horses have skyrocketed in recent years and likely will account for 74 percent of the program’s overall budget this year, or more than $27 million. There are about 33,000 wild horses on the range in 10 Western states, half of those in Nevada. About 30,000 more horses are in holding facilities.
Afghanistan: 14 guards killed
Tensions between Western forces and the government of President Hamid Karzai flared anew Monday when he and a provincial governor accused the U.S.-led coalition of killing 14 Afghans who were guarding a road-construction project. However, the Interior Ministry said in a separate statement that the 14 slain men had fired on coalition forces in Khost province near the border with Pakistan. The U.S. military and the Interior Ministry said in a joint statement that the incident, which occurred Sunday night, was under investigation.
Haiti: School survivor search futile
U.S., French and Haitian firefighters used sonar, cameras and dogs Monday in the search for victims at a collapsed Haitian school, but they no longer expected to find anyone else alive. Three days after the concrete building suddenly collapsed during a children’s party, killing at least 94 students and adults and severely injuring 150 more, Capt. Michael Istvan of Fairfax County, Va., said the chance of finding more survivors was remote.
England: No more hints for Glitter
A British exam board is recalling a high school music test that included convicted child molester Gary Glitter’s music in its “suggested listening” section, board officials said Monday. The test asked British students to compose an original song “that relies on changes of tempo or style,” said a spokeswoman for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. Students were given a series of examples they could model their songs on, among them Glitter’s 1970s hit “I’m The Leader Of The Gang.”
From Herald news services