NASA’s ‘flying saucer’ tests new Mars-landing technology

WASHINGTON: NASA sent a saucer-like vehicle high into the sky Saturday to test technology for a future Mars landing, but its parachute tangled when deployed and the spacecraft splashed into the Pacific Ocean. The test began when the US space agency attached its “Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator” vehicle to a helium balloon the size of a football field, the largest ever deployed, at a military base on the Hawaiian island of…

Unmanned aerial vehicles flying to the US farms

MOULTRIE, Georgia: Aerial drones, a technology perhaps best known for helping hunt terrorists, may soon begin helping US farmers monitor what’s happening in their fields. In Georgia, a group of state and federal officials – along with members of industry and academia – has been working since 2009 to develop a drone that can save a farmer’s time and resources during the growing season. The public got its first glimpse…

Report highlights child labor on US tobacco farms

RICHMOND: You may have to be at least 18 to buy cigarettes in the US, but children as young as 7 are working long hours in fields harvesting nicotine- and pesticidelaced tobacco leaves under sometimes hazardous and sweltering conditions, according to a report released yesterday by an international rights group. The Human Rights Watch report details findings from interviews with more than 140 children working on farms in North Carolina,…

Poor Kentucky has no stomach for Obama – 41 percent of the inhabitants live below the poverty line

JACKSON: Jim Feltner’s days are empty. He is a poor man in the poorest county in the United States and lives off government aid. But the Kentucky resident has nothing but scorn for the head of that government, President Barack Obama, who has made the fight against economic inequality one of his battle cries. Feltner sits in a plastic chair outside his ramshackle mobile home, surrounded by rusty cars and…

American economy bounces back from brutal winter

WASHINGTON: The American economy shrugged off the end of a brutal winter last month, rebounding with the biggest hiring surge in two years and suggesting that the job market’s gains could endure. Employers added 288,000 jobs across industries from manufacturing to construction to accounting. Even local governments hired. The unemployment rate sank to 6.3 percent, its lowest point since 2008, from 6.7 percent. But the rate fell that far because…