Nation roundup for April 19
NASA explorer crashes on moon
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more.
Flight controllers confirmed that the orbiting spacecraft crashed into the back side of the moon Friday as planned, avoiding the precious historic artifacts left behind by moonwalkers.
LADEE’s annihilation occurred just three days after it survived a full lunar eclipse, something it was never designed to do.
Researchers believe LADEE likely vaporized when it hit because of its extreme orbiting speed of 3,600 mph, possibly smacking into a mountain or side of a crater. No debris would have been left behind.
“It’s bound to make a dent,” project scientist Rick Elphic predicted Thursday.
By Thursday evening, the spacecraft had been skimming the lunar surface at an incredibly low altitude of 300 feet. Its orbit had been lowered on purpose last week to ensure a crash by Monday following an extraordinarily successful science mission.
LADEE — short for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer — was launched in September from Virginia. From the outset, NASA planned to crash the spacecraft into the back side of the moon, far from the Apollo artifacts from the moonwalking days of 1969 to 1972.
Similarities with Clinton, Obama
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton’s White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
As Clinton prepared for an August 1994 news conference in which he hoped to build public support for his struggling — and ultimately unsuccessful — health care overhaul, he told his advisers: “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it.” Later that fall, Clinton’s Democrats were routed in midterm elections and lost control of Congress.
Nearly two decades later, President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans about his own plan, which won approval in Congress in 2010, by telling them, “If you like your plan you can keep it.” A spate of private policy cancellations forced Obama to recant his pledge that all Americans who liked their plans could simply keep them.
More than 8 million people have signed up for health insurance under the “Obamacare” law; how the overhaul is perceived could become a deciding point for the fate of Obama’s fellow Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.
About 7,500 pages of records released Friday through the National Archives and the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., show the parallels between the Clinton era and the White House under Obama. The documents may also offer a glimpse into a future as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who led her husband’s health care task force, considers another presidential campaign in 2016.
Jobless rates fall in 21 U.S. states
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.
The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and were unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16.
The unemployment rate varies from as low as 2.6 percent in North Dakota to as much as 8.7 percent in Rhode Island. South Carolina has experienced the sharpest rate decline over 12 months to 5.5 percent from 8 percent. The rate nationwide stayed at 6.7 percent in March for the second straight month. That national rate stayed flat because someone was hired for almost every person who entered the job market last month.
Employers added 192,000 jobs nationwide in March, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years.
Ohio experienced the largest month-to-month drop in its unemployment rate: 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent. That steep drop occurred because the state added 12,000 jobs last month, while the total number of people in its job market fell 11,200 to 5.75 million.
Unemployment rates can fall when people leave the job market, as well as when employers hire.
North Carolina reported the second largest year-over-year drop in the unemployment rate: a 2.2 percentage point decrease to 6.3 percent. Part of that decline came from the loss unemployment benefits for jobless workers. Because those workers needed to look for jobs in order to receive benefits, the loss of the jobless aid likely caused them to give up their hunts and no longer be counted as unemployed.
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