The Washington Post

National digest: July 9, 2014

Ocean research survives challenge

Scientific research that involves blasting the ocean floor with sound waves can go ahead despite an effort by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to halt it, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The project, years in the making, emerged suddenly last week as a major public issue in New Jersey as commercial fishermen and environmentalists spoke up about worries that sea life could be harmed by the project.

The research, by scientists at Rutgers University and other institutions, is being done with federal funding and from a federal research vessel. It seeks to study sediments that have accumulated at the ocean floor during periods of sea-level change over the last 60 million years. The plan is to complete a three-dimensional map of part of the ocean floor that may offer clues as to what could happen as the ocean rises.

Since July 1, researchers have been using air guns that fire every 5.4 seconds and emit about 250 decibels of sound.

The state government argued that the federal government denied its request to comment on the plan. But U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan disagreed.

— Associated Press

Site of canyon crash in ’56 is landmark

The National Park Service created a national landmark Tuesday to commemorate a 1956 collision between two airliners over the Grand Canyon, a disaster that helped lead to major changes in aviation safety and creation of what is now the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash killed all 128 people aboard the two planes in the deadliest aviation disaster in U.S. history at the time. A nation already struggling with increasingly busy skies pressured Congress for major changes to improve air-traffic control and radar systems in response to the tragedy.

About 200 people gathered Tuesday for a ceremony overlooking the gorge where the wreckage was scattered over 1.5 square miles. Some of the wreckage still remains in the canyon but is not visible from the overlook.

A United Airlines Douglas DC-7 and a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation both left California on June 30, 1956, eventually cruising at the same altitude — 21,000 feet — after the TWA pilot requested to fly above the clouds. Shortly before 10 a.m., both pilots reported to different communications stations that they would be crossing over the canyon at the same position at 10:31 a.m.

The investigative agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board, determined simply that the pilots did not see each other.

— Associated Press

Mother of baby left in subway charged

A woman who pushed her baby in a stroller onto a New York City subway platform and boarded a departing train was charged with felony abandonment on Tuesday, officials said.

Frankea Dabbs, 20, of North Carolina was arrested and charged a day after being accused of leaving her 10-month-old daughter on the crowded Columbus Circle station platform before getting on a departing train, police said.

City officials were looking after the baby, who appeared to be unharmed.

Dabbs told police she was homeless and overwhelmed by having to care for the baby after the father’s death recently, according to news outlet WRAL-TV in North Carolina.

— Reuters

Man kills wife, self at Wash. hospital: A gunman fatally shot his wife Tuesday morning before turning the weapon on himself at a hospital in downtown Spokane, Wash., police said. The man went to his wife’s workplace in the Deaconess Medical Center complex and opened fire. No one else was injured in the shooting, authorities said. Identities and other details were not immediately available.

— Associated Press

The Freddie Gray case

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