Astronaut allegedly went on deadly Earth mission

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – She was the Robochick. He was Billy-O. According to police, her obsession with him led her to drive 900 miles from Houston to Orlando, bringing with her a trenchcoat and wig, armed with a BB gun and pepper spray, and wearing a diaper to avoid bathroom breaks on the arduous drive. Once in Florida, Lisa “Robochick” Nowak apparently confronted the woman she believed was her rival for the affections of William “Billy-O” Oefelein. And this tawdry love triangle has one more twist – it involves two astronauts. Nowak, 43, a married mother of three who flew on a space shuttle in July, was charged with attempted murder, accused of hatching an extraordinary plot to kidnap Colleen Shipman, who she believed was romantically involved with Oefelein, a space shuttle pilot. Specifically, police said, Nowak confronted Shipman, who was in her car at the Orlando airport, and sprayed something at her, possibly pepper spray. At first the astronaut was charged with attempted kidnapping and other counts. Then prosecutors upped the charge to attempted murder, basing it on the weapons and other items they said police had found with Nowak or in her car: pepper spray, a BB-gun, a new steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing. Nowak was released from jail on $25,500 bail and ordered to wear a monitoring device. Her lawyer, Donald Lykkebak, took issue with the most serious charges. “In the imaginations of the police officers, they extend these facts out into areas where the facts can’t be supported,” Lykkebak said. NASA put Nowak on a 30-day leave and removed her from mission duties. Agency spokesman John Ira Petty at Johnson Space Center in Houston said he was concerned about the people involved and their families. But, he added, “We try not to concern ourselves with our employees’ personal lives.” The details of the relationships of all three were unclear. Nowak and Oefelein, who both live in the Houston area, had trained together as astronauts, but never flew into space together. Shipman, 30, works at Patrick Air Force Base near Kennedy Space Center. Earlier, Nowak was quoted by police as saying she and Oefelein (OH’-fuh-line) had something “more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship.” Neither Oefelein nor Shipman could be reached for comment Tuesday, nor could Nowak’s husband be found. But police found a letter in Nowak’s car that “indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein,” the arrest affidavit said. And Nowak had copies of e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein. Nowak and her husband separated several weeks ago after 19 years of marriage, according to a statement put out by her family. “Personally, Lisa is an extremely caring and dedicated mother to her three children,” the statement said. “Considering both her personal and professional life, these alleged events are completely out of character and have come as a tremendous shock to our family.” Accustomed to wearing astronaut diapers during the space shuttle’s launch and return to Earth, Nowak wore them on the drive to Orlando so she would not have to make bathroom stops, police said. There, according to police, Nowak donned a wig and trench coat, boarded an airport shuttle bus with Shipman and followed her to her car. Then, crying, Nowak sprayed a chemical into the car. Shipman drove to a parking lot booth and sought help. A police affidavit made public Tuesday said Nowak had “stealthily followed the victim while in disguise and possessed multiple deadly weapons.” The affidavit said the circumstances of the case “create a well-founded fear” and gave investigators “probable cause to believe that Mrs. Nowak intended to murder Ms. Shipman.” Lykkebak said that Nowak only wanted to talk to Shipman. Asked about the weapons, he said, “You can sit and speculate all day.” The judge also ordered Nowak to stay away from Shipman and to wear an electronic monitoring device upon returning to her home in Houston. A vague profile began to emerge of Nowak, who graduated from high school in Maryland in 1981 and the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985. She has won various Navy service awards. In a September interview with Ladies’ Home Journal, Nowak said her husband, Richard, “works in Mission Control, so he’s part of the whole space business, too. And supportive also.” On Tuesday, a Houston neighbor, Bryan Lam, told The Associated Press that in November he heard the sounds of dishes being thrown inside the house and the police came. “I’ve seen them arguing before,” he said. Nowak, in a NASA interview last year, before her mission aboard Discovery, as well as in an interview with ABC News, spoke about the strain her career placed on her family. She has twin 5-year-old girls and a son who is 14 or 15. “It’s a sacrifice for our own personal time and our families and the people around us,” she said in the NASA interview. “But I do think it’s worth it because if you don’t explore and take risks and go do all these things, then everything will stay the same.” In an in-flight news conference aboard Discovery last summer, she talked about waiting nearly 10 years for her first space flight. “It’s been a long wait, but it’s worth the wait,” she said. NASA astronauts often have nicknames, at least among their crewmates and Mission Control. Aboard Discovery last July, Nowak and crewmate Stephanie Wilson were known as “the Robochicks” because they operated the shuttle’s robotic arm that checked the spacecraft for damage. A smiling, put-together woman in her NASA photos, Nowak’s police mug shot showed a fatigued, haggard face with scraggly hair. Oefelein, a 41-year-old Navy commander nicknamed “Billy-O” by his comrades, trained with Nowak but never flew with her. He piloted a Discovery mission in December to the space station where astronauts rewired the outpost, installed a new $11 million section and dropped off a new American crew member. Oefelein is unmarried but has two children. He began his aviation career as a teenager, flying floatplanes in Alaska. The Orlando Sentinel reported Shipman is an engineer assigned to the 45th Launch Support Squadron at Patrick air base, and a Federal Aviation Administration pilot directory indicates she is certified as a student pilot. Chief astronaut Steve Lindsey, who flew with Nowak to the space station last July aboard Discovery, and fellow astronaut Chris Ferguson attended Monday’s court hearing. “Our primary concern is her health and well-being and that she get through this,” Lindsey told reporters afterward. Ferguson said he was “perplexed” by Nowak’s alleged actions. NASA spokeswoman Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters said shuttle crews that fly for two-week stints do not go through psychiatric screenings. She said crews assigned to the space station are screened before, during and after missions. NASA will not conduct an investigation, Cloutier-Lemasters said. At least one retired astronaut, Jerry Linenger, said the space agency should review its psychological screening process. With NASA talking about a 2 1/2-year trip to Mars, it would be dangerous for someone to “snap like this” during the mission, he said. “An astronaut is probably the most studied human being by the time you go through your testing, your training,” Linenger said. “I think there’s still a lot of unknowns out there.” AP National Writer Erin McClam reported from New York for this story. AP writers Malcolm Ritter in New York, Seth Borenstein in Washington, Rasha Madkour in Houston, Kelli Kennedy in Miami and Jim Ellis in Cape Canaveral contributed to this report.last_img read more

Brazil 0-3 Netherlands: Hosts bow out with a whimper in Brasilia

first_img1 Any Brazil fan expecting a response to the 7-1 semi-final humiliation by Germany was left bitterly disappointed as the Netherlands comfortably secured third place at the World Cup.True, the Dutch did not rack up the goals but after just 16 minutes such a scoreline looked possible in Brasilia as the Orange raced into a 2-0 lead.Selecao supporters belted out the national anthem with a pride despite a difficult week but that was the only moral victory they secured on another difficult night.The third place play-off is a match no team ever wants to be a part of and despite Louis van Gaal lambasting it as being pointless, it was his side who took the early initiative.With just two minutes gone Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben combined as the latter raced past Thiago Silva, only to be hauled down for a penalty when clear through on goal.Contact appeared outside the box and referee Djamel Haimoudi then made a further hash of the incident by only giving the Brazil captain a yellow card, before Van Persie tucked away the spot-kick.Passionate Brazilian support instantly fell flat and switched to boos as the Selecao players fumbled their way around looking for some form of reprieve.But the Netherlands were not willing to provide it and Daley Blind soon doubled their tally, thanks to some further horrow show defending from David Luiz.The £50million Paris Saint-Germain signing was embarrassing in the semi-final and his reputation took another blow when he poorly headed straight to the Dutchman to fire past Julio Cesar.It was practically game over already with every Brazil player looking like they wanted the ground to swallow them up, while every Selecao fan took the opportunity to vent their spleen at the team and boss Luiz Felipe Scolari when he appeared on the big screen.Oscar was the one bright spark for the hosts with the Chelsea midfielder testing the gloves of Jasper Cillessen and being unfortunate to be denied a penalty.Referee Haimoudi again fluffed his lines bizarrely booking the 22-year-old when he was clearly taken down by Blind in the box.But Brazil deserved nothing from the game and, in truth, they never looked capable of conjuring up a real chance without talisman Neymar, who sat injured on the bench looking emby what he saw.The remainder of the match was played at a snail’s pace with Netherlands keeping the Selecao comfortably at arm’s length until the final moments when Georginio Wijnaldum stroked in Blind’s cross.It was thoroughly deserved for Van Gaal’s side as the Dutch finished third at the World Cup and Brazil bowed out to the sound of boos from their devastated fans. The Netherlands’ Daley Blind celebrates his goal against Brazil last_img read more

Blackstone Apollo join Tech Mahindra in race to buy Mphasis Report

first_imgPrivate equity firms Blackstone and Apollo Global Management have reportedly entered the fray to acquire Mphasis, following a renewed decision by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HP) to sell 60.4 percent controlling stake in the subsidiary. With Tech Mahindra already in the race, the two firms will have to vye with the IT major in an estimated billion-dollar deal.These companies were selected from a group of global and domestic tech companies and PE funds, including TPG and Bain Capital, sources familiar with the matter told The Economic Times.However, there is “no certainty” that the talks, which are in early stages, would result in a deal, sources said.Citigroup has been roped in to oversee the sale process.Mphasis shares traded 3.7 percent higher at Rs 450 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Thursday. Currently, the firm has a market capitalisation of Rs 9,453 crore.HP’s renewed plans to sell Mphasis comes in the wake of the company’s focus on reviving its IT services, as clients move to cloud computing for the technology needs. HP had acquired Mphasis as part of its $14 billion buyout of EDS eight years ago.In September last year, HP had announced plans to cut nearly 28,000 to 33,000 jobs, mainly in its enterprise services group. Recently, the company was split into two — Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.”The suggestion that Mphasis is up for sale points to two issues: First, the further unravelling of HP’s ill-fated acquisition history. Mphasis was never fully integrated nor were its capabilities fully leveraged. Second, the acceleration of consolidation. Virtusa just bought Polaris, who like Mphasis have a strong focus on the BFSI sector,” Tom Reuner, Managing Director at HfS Research told the daily.However, Tech Mahindra is currently not “pursuing” the deal even though it had weighed the prospects of acquiring Mphasis, senior Tech Mahindra sources said, according to ET.”As of now, Tech Mahindra has no interest in pursuing Mphasis,” said one of them.”Mphasis’ EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) margins have also come down from 20 percent levels in 2012 to a range of 14-15 percent whereas it remains at 16-18 percent for many of its peers. The HP margins are also 2x that of the non-HP business,” said a source.”However, the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) and digital focus along with the scale of business that has been clocking around a billion dollars in revenues — a key threshold in the space — will give scope to turn around the operations,” the person added.Mphasis posted a net profit of Rs 675 crore and revenue of Rs 5,795 crore for the last fiscal year ending March 2015. Banking, capital markets and insurance verticals account for 55 percent of its revenues.last_img read more

PM Hasina hopes to be elected again

first_imgSheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday expressed her optimism that people of Bangladesh would once again elect Awami League in the forthcoming polls.“Awami League enjoys massive popularity as the people still believe that the country would go ahead with Awami League remaining in power. Surveys of a number of international organisations have also predicted it,” she said.The prime minister was speaking at the first meeting of the National Election Conducting Committee of Bangladesh Awami League at her Gonobhaban residence in the capital this evening.Terming honesty one the main strengths of Awami League, the prime minister said “a vested quarter is hatching conspiracy and seeking intervention of undemocratic forces to dislodge Awami League from power.”“But no one can yield any benefit from such hope as no one from ‘Uttar Para’ will come to install them to power,” Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League president and chairperson of the election conducting committee, said.Welcoming the initiative of some political parties of forging the anti-Awami League platform, the prime minister said the government would allow them to hold meetings anywhere in the city.“The government is not gagging freedom of speech. So, if necessary a permanent ‘moncha’ would be erected at Suharawardi Udyan to allow speaking every day against the government,” she said.“But action would be taken against those who would spread falsehood and try to push the country towards anarchy,” she warned.Co-chairman of the committee HT Imam, member-secretary and Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, presidium members, central committee leaders and representatives of different associated bodies of the party were present.Sheikh Hasina said the people of Bangladesh re-elected Awami League to power in 2014 overcoming all barriers created by BNP and anti-liberation forces.“Country’s development is visible now as Awami League came to power in 2014. People understood that the country can prosper when Awami League remains in power,” she said adding that today the people are living in peace with sound economic standing.She said Awami League was defeated in 2001 through conspiracy and despite their win BNP and anti-liberation force Jamaat-e-Islami unleashed a reign of terror in the 1971 fashion.“They made the country champions in corruption for five consecutive terms and turn the country into an abode of murder, terrorism, militancy and corruption,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said some civil society members are shedding tears for those who are responsible for making the country a land of grenade and bomb attacks.They are blind and their doors of openness are closed,” she said adding they do not see any progress of the country during the tenure of the Awami League government.“We don’t want Bangladesh to go back to the past situation again,” the prime minister said urging the party leaders and workers to work with devotion to woo the people to cast their votes for Awami League in the coming general election.Criticising BNP for appointing lobbyist in the USA to conduct campaign against the government, the prime minister said they are actually engaged in damaging the country’s image.Sheikh Hasina castigated BNP for spreading false information on inviting the BNP delegation by UN secretary general, saying he (secretary general) was in Ghana at that time to attend the funeral of Kofi Annan.“So what is the benefit of BNP in lying to misguide the people,” she questioned.last_img read more

Political Roundup White House Flag Controversy And Voters Approve Flood Bonds

first_img X 00:00 /18:02 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen From Sen. John McCain’s death and the controversial raising and lowering of the White House flag, to Pres. Trump’s tentative new trade deal with Mexico, to voters passing the county’s flood mitigation bond, Houston Matters breaks down the week’s big political stories with analysis of what they could mean for Houston and Texas.Joining host Craig Cohen for this week’s discussion are Jay Aiyer from Texas Southern University and co-host of Houston Public Media’s Party Politics podcast, and Nancy Sims, political analyst at Pierpont Communications and a lecturer at the University of Houston. Sharelast_img

Of notebooks and revolutions

first_imgThe Book Office of the Institut français en Inde or the Embassy of France in India is proud to be associated with the release of the English translation of Chowra Makaremi’s Le Cahier d’Aziz. Au cœur de la révolution iranienne (Gallimard, 2011) published in India by Yoda Press under the title Aziz’s Notebook: At the Heart of the Iranian Revolution.The author will be in conversation with books editors and press on 18 March. Head over for an interesting talk.last_img

Oust BJP in 2019 Mamata

first_imgKolkata: A sea of humanity defied torrential rain and inclement weather on Saturday to attend the July 21 Martyrs’ Day rally, where Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee spelt out the party’s strategy in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.Lakhs of people were witness to a historic announcement which would mark a definite “movement” of a sort from this day onwards for the Trinamool Congress workers and its leaders with their task cut out for the forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA confident Mamata Banerjee, more passionate than ever, with an unflinching pledge to free India from the clutches of the BJP, announced: “We will win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. It is our pledge. We will oust the BJP to save the country. We will organise a big rally here in January and invite all the (Opposition) leaders.”The Trinamool Congress will organise a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground on January 19, 2019, which will be attended by all the Federal Front leaders to usher in the BJP’s collapse. Speaking on the 25th anniversary of the Martyrs’ Day programme, the Chief Minister said: “The gathering at the Brigade will be more than today’s rally and I will request all the Federal Front leaders to address the meeting. We do not care for the chair but we are more concerned for the people of this land. We will show the way to Parliament.” She also instructed the party leaders to start preparations for the grand rally from November itself, immediately after the Durga Puja. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedShe also charted out the party’s programmes for the next few months. On July 27, Nanoor Divas will be celebrated and Firhad Hakim along with Anubrata Mondol will address the gathering. On July 28, party’s youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee along with Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Kalyan Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari will address a rally at the Midnapore College ground, the venue from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the rally on July 16. From August 1 to 15, meetings will be held all over the state to spread the message of communal harmony. On August 9, Mamata Banerjee will be present at a meeting in Jhargram where the theme will be “BJP, quit the country”. The meeting will be held to remember the Quit India movement which was organised against the British Rule in 1942. In September, the party will celebrate Teachers’ Day in which teachers from various schools, colleges and universities will be felicitated in every area. A convention will be held on September 17 under the leadership of Abhishek Banerjee. Coming down heavily on the BJP, Banerjee predicted that the saffron party will not be able to get more than 100-150 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the situation will be completely different. She said the BJP had secured 325 votes while the Opposition got 126 votes at the no-confidence motion held on Friday because “AIADMK had voted for the BJP but the MPs would not have voted for the party had Jayalalithaji been alive. In 2019, Stalin will get the seats.In Uttar Pradesh, if Mayawatiji and Mulayamji join hands, then the BJP’s seats will come down to 30.In Madhya Pradesh, now the BJP has 28 seats which will come down to one fourth. In Rajasthan, the party has 25 seats which will come down to 5. In Bihar, Laluji will get more seats. In Gujarat, the BJP will not get any seat. In Bengal, the TMC will get all the 42 Lok Sabha seats.” She further added: “The number of votes the BJP got on Friday was on the floor of the House but outside, the scenario is totally different and take it from me that the BJP will not win in 2019 as people will not vote for the party.”Calling the BJP a “sword brandishing or gun-toting Hindu,” she said the BJP has actually insulted Hinduism. “We do not accept the BJP’s Hindutva. The party has insulted Hinduism. We follow the Hinduism that has been professed by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. We believe in tolerance and universal acceptance,” she maintained.Accusing the BJP of spreading hate politics, she said throughout the country, the party is trying to divide society. Referring to the statement made by the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament on Friday that the state governments should take stern action to stop lynching, she said: “The party should first try to control the language of the state president. He talks about burning down police stations and assault the TMC supporters, thus polluting the social environment.” She added: “The BJP is involved in lynching throughout the country and the leaders have blood on their hands.”Banerjee said Congress leaders in Bengal should decide whether they will go with the TMC or not. “In Delhi, we are supporting them but here the Congress, CPI(M) and the BJP have joined hands against us. This cannot be tolerated.”Referring to the collapse of the pandal at Modi’s rally in Midnapore, she said: “The party that cannot prevent the collapse of a pandal, how do you expect them to run the country properly? But it is not about the pandal. They are trying to divide the country and this trend is dangerous.”The Chief Minister said canards are being spread against the TMC over the Panchayat elections. “In Uttar Pradesh, 71 percent seats are won uncontested while in Sikkim 85 percent seats are won unopposed but no one says anything about that. In Panchayat elections, local issues and candidates are important and in Jhargram, even the TMC could not file candidates in several seats but I did not complain about it. I pity those who fail to understand this small equation.”last_img read more

Browsers on the Move

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » November 14, 2008 2 min read You may be perfectly happy with whatever web browser came with your smartphone, but you’re not necessarily restricted to using only that browser. Opera Mobile (opera.com) is available for phones running Windows Mobile and S60 operating systems. The program typically costs $24 (though the 9.5 Beta version was released as freeware). Opera Mobile 9.5 ups the ante with improved speeds, pan and zoom functions, and a revamped tabbed browsing experience. Opera Mini is already a popular choice for a browser that works on most cell phones and not just smartphones.Skyfire is also a compelling new contender in the mobile browser market. Its proxy technology makes it possible to closely replicate the look of a desktop browser on a mobile phone’s screen, and smart zooming features boost the usability of the application. The free application is particularly handy when it comes to rich media, such as online videos and audio, because Skyfire servers do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes, so even hefty media files load quickly.In another sign of the ongoing battle to win over mobile web browsers, Mobile Firefox, or Fennec, recently debuted as the mobile counterpart to the popular full-size Firefox. Its free price tag and familiar features will appeal to Mozilla fans. Expect it to be an emerging heavyweight in the increasingly competitive mobile browser division.last_img read more