TOPEKA, Kan. — A Republican congressman representing Kansas has apologized for embarrassing his supporters by swimming naked at the holy site of the Sea of Galilee while on a fact-finding mission to Israel.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, 36, has not been charged in the Aug. 18, 2011, incident in which he and about 20 other lawmakers and staff members jumped into the water. Politico reported Sunday that he was the only one among them who wore no clothes.
“It’s an embarrassing situation, and I regret it,” Yoder said during an interview on public radio in Kansas City, Mo.
Some Christians consider the Sea of Galilee a holy site because they believe Jesus walked on water there. Swimming in the lake is permitted but public nudity is not allowed, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
NASA will send robot drill to Mars in 2016
In the wake of successfully dropping the SUV-sized Curiosity rover on Mars this month, NASA will send another robot to the Red Planet in 2016 to drill into the planet’s crust and, for the first time, piece together a picture of the Martian interior.
The $425 million robotic lander, named InSIGHT, won funding over two other proposed missions, NASA officials announced Monday.
InSIGHT will be planted in one spot on the Martian surface in September 2016. A drill will pound 30 feet into the Martian crust to take the temperature of the planet, while a seismometer will detect any Marsquakes. The instruments will provide clues to how Mars formed.
South African mine reopens; workers still on strike
JOHANNESBURG — Production resumed Monday at the Lonmin platinum mine in northern South Africa, where 44 people were killed during clashes between striking workers and the police.
However, thousands of workers demanding higher wages continued to stay away from their posts.
“Almost one third of the 28,000-strong workforce reported for their morning shifts on Monday,” Lonmin said in a statement, excluding about 10,000 external contractors from the count.
Lonmin, which supplies more than 10 percent of global platinum, says the striking workers have not handed over any official letters of grievances or demands. Workers face dismissal if they do not return to work by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, wives and sisters of the miners protested outside a court in the North-West province, where 259 Lonmin workers are facing charges such as murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and numerous other offenses related to last week’s violence.
Many families say they have been unable to locate male relatives who went missing during the violence.
Top U.S. general arrives for talks hours after another American ‘insider’ death
KABUL, Afghanistan — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in Kabul on Monday for talks on the phenomenon of Western troops dying at the hands of Afghan allies, officials said.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey flew into the Bagram air base north of Kabul and was holding consultations with senior U.S. and Afghan commanders and government officials. Hours before his arrival, another American service member was killed in an “insider” shooting, the 10th such U.S. death this month.
Forty NATO service members have died this year in attacks by Afghan police, soldiers or base workers, according to the Western military count. However, the NATO figures do not reflect the full scope of the problem, because Western officials do not routinely disclose attacks that do not involve Western fatalities, and because tallies earlier this year did not include attacks carried out by Afghans who were part of the security apparatus but were not members of the uniformed Afghan police and army.
The latest American death occurred Sunday when two Afghan policemen opened fire on a group of coalition and Afghan troops.