January 18, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: NASA says radar didn’t stop probe

 

Moscow – Russia will look into the possibility that a U.S. radar station could have inadvertently interfered with the failed Mars moon probe that plummeted to Earth, Russian media reported Tuesday, but experts argued that any such claims were far-fetched.

NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs also said the U.S. space agency was not using the military radar equipment in question at the time of the Russian equipment failure, but instead was using radar in the Mojave desert in the western United States and in Puerto Rico.

Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Yury Koptev, former head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, as saying investigators will conduct tests to check if U.S. radar emissions could have impacted the Phobos-Ground space probe, which was stuck in Earth’s orbit for two months before crashing down near Chile and Brazil.

“The results of the experiment will allow us to prove or dismiss the possibility of the radar’s impact,” said Koptev, who is heading the government commission charged with investigating causes of the probe’s failure.

Clinton’s Togo visit marks first for U.S.

Lome, Togo – After venturing to reclusive Myanmar, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pressed democratic reforms Tuesday in another place long dominated by dictators, becoming the first American in her post to ever visit the African nation of Togo.

Greeted by performers on stilts and ceremonial soldiers in red capes, Clinton visited Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in his presidential palace.

After six decades of dictatorship, Togo is showing signs of progress – much like Myanmar, or Burma, before Clinton’s trip last year – and the Obama administration wanted to take a chance.

“Togo’s national elections later this year will be an important milestone,” Clinton said.

The choice of Togo isn’t solely about good will. The West African country of 6.8 million people, tucked between Benin and Ghana, is as of two weeks ago a U.N. Security Council member. That means it may vote alongside the world’s biggest powers on resolutions that could cover anything from a future Palestinian state to sanctions against Syria.

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