September 21, 2013 in Nation/World

In brief: Gunman’s employer offers to help Navy

From Wire Reports

WASHINGTON – The CEO of an IT consulting company that employed the gunman in the Washington Navy Yard shootings sent an email to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus offering his services to help the military improve security.

The email from The Experts chief Thomas Hoshko stunned some Navy leaders still reeling from the rampage Monday that left 13 people dead, including the gunman, former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis.

In the email, obtained by the Associated Press, Hoshko offers his condolences. But he also lays out his work experience and offers his services, saying he could help improve security for the military, contractors and civilians.

The company declined to comment.

Company told of leak before molasses spill

HONOLULU – A state inspector saw molasses dripping last year from the same spot where a pipe leaked up to 1,400 tons of the sugary substance into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month, killing more than 26,000 fish and other marine life.

Department of Transportation Deputy Director Randy Grune said Friday he sent a letter in July 2012 to Matson Navigation Co. notifying the company of the leak. The letter, provided to reporters Friday, asked Matson to tell the state when the pipeline was repaired.

Vic Angoco, Matson’s senior vice president for Pacific operations, said the company responded by inspecting the pipeline twice but didn’t see any molasses leaking.

The spill earlier this month suffocated fish, shellfish and other marine species as it spread and sank to the ocean floor about 5 miles west of Waikiki’s hotels and beaches.

Alabama university sororities seek diversity

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Black women are joining traditionally white sororities at the University of Alabama amid efforts to end racial segregation within Greek-letter social groups, the head of the school said Friday.

University President Judy Bonner said 11 black students and three students from other minority groups received bids, or invitations, to join a historically white sorority. Of that group, four black students and two students from other minority backgrounds have accepted those invitations, Bonner said. She expected the numbers to rise as the academic year continues.

The university’s Greek organizations have been segregated by race since the first black students enrolled and created social organizations. One oversight organization has been composed of white sororities and the other composed of minority sororities.

Arctic ice melt less dramatic than in 2012

WASHINGTON – The amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to the sixth-lowest level, but that’s much higher than last year’s record low.

The ice cap at the North Pole melts in the summer and grows in winter; its general shrinking trend is a sign of global warming. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., said Friday that Arctic ice was at 1.97 million square miles when it stopped melting late last week.

It takes scientists several days to confirm sea ice reached its lowest level and is growing again.

The minimum level reached this summer is about 24 percent below the 20th century average, but 50 percent above last year when a dramatic melt shattered records that go back to 1979.

Center director Mark Serreze said cooler air triggered a “considerable recovery,” from last year, while the ocean temperatures were still warmer than normal. But he added climate-change deniers who point to the bounce back from last year – which skewed the trend – would be wrong.

“If you threw out last year, this year would be very much in line of what we’ve seen in recent years,” Serreze said. “We are not seeing a long-term recovery here. No way.”

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