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May 5, 2014

News Briefs May 5, 2014

Japan split over revision to pacifist constitution

Japan is marking the 67th anniversary of its postwar constitution with growing debate over whether to revise the war-renouncing charter in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for an expanded role for the military.

Abe’s ruling conservative party has long advocated constitutional changes but has been unable to sway public opinion. Now he’s proposing that the government reinterpret the constitution without having to win public approval for revisions.

His push has upset the liberals who see it as undermining the constitution and democratic processes.

Hundreds of people gathered at a Tokyo rally Saturday, vowing to protect the constitution.

Organizer Ken Takada said Japan’s pacifist charter is at stake and Abe must be stopped. AP

Canada sending troops to Poland for NATO exercise

Canada’s prime minister says Canadian soldiers will take part in military exercises next week in Poland as part of NATO’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said May 2 that ìPutin regime’s persistent military aggression and its ongoing illegal occupation of Crimea and other parts of Ukraine threaten the stability and security of central and eastern Europe.

The NATO exercises will run in Swidwin, Poland, from May 5 to 9 and will include about 50 soldiers. Harper’s office says they will conduct training in parachuting, airborne operations and infantry skills alongside Polish and American counterparts in a U.S.-led exercise.

Six Canadian fighter jets left their base in Canada this week and headed for an air base in Romania, and eventual patrols along that country’s border with Ukraine. AP

NASA plans to raze test stands at former nuke site

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – NASA is planning to raze rocket test stands and other structures at a former nuclear research laboratory outside Los Angeles that had a partial meltdown decades ago.

The Ventura County Star reports the demolition won’t occur until the space agency completes soil fieldwork and archaeological studies at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Engineers tested rocket engines, conducted nuclear energy research and developed nuclear reactors for four decades. In 1959, one of the reactors had a partial meltdown.

Responsible parties including Boeing , the Energy Department and NASA have been working with state officials to meet a 2017 deadline to clean up the site.

Former NASA engineer Lyle Hibbs told the Star he would like to see at least one test stand preserved as a reminder. AP




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