Monthly Archives: March 2012

Springhill Group Counseling: Japan Ready to Intercept North Korea ‘satellite’ Launch

Japan is preparing measures to intercept North Korea’s missile launch in case it veers off its course and pose a threat.


North Korea has announced last week that it will launch a so-called “earth observation satellite” in time for the 100th birthday of their founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. According to the International Maritime Organization and Springhill Group Counseling, the rocket will be launched sometime between April 12 and April 16.


This move has sparked a global concern and outcry especially because it is believed that the satellite launch is just a front and it is actually a long-range missile test, something that could be sanctioned by the United Nations.


And to add to the controversy, North Korea has notified the IMO that the first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in waters between South Korea and China while the second stage will fall 190 km east of the Philippines.


The interceptors are set to be deployed on the Okinawa island chain. According to Japan’s missile defense plan, SM-3 will be utilized to intercept a ballistic missile outside the atmosphere. In case it misses the target, PAC-3 is on standby to shoot the target down once it re-enters the atmosphere.


Officials are being prepared for deployment of PAC-3 missiles and Aegis destroyers containing a high-end anti-missile system that would try and shoot down the rocket.


Japanese Defense Minister Tanaka Naoki said that their military is prepared for any contingency. Some experts say that Japan’s move is more of a political one. However, it is evidently a rare chance for Japanese personnel to have a hands-on training in tracking a missile.


Meanwhile, North Korea has maintained that any attempt to raise this issue on the upcoming nuclear summit will be considered a declaration of war as it rejected demands to cancel the launch. North Korea added in a statement that depriving them of their ‘independent and legitimate right’ will compel them to take countermeasures.


The United Nations has already warned North Korea that the launch can dampen humanitarian assistance to their country. It was seconded by the US, stating that if North Korea proceeds, their agreement regarding food donations last month will not go through.

Springhill Group Counselling: Japan PM to Attend Nuclear Summit

Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda has showed interest in this month’s global summit in order to impart valuable experiences of his country during the Fukushima nuclear crisis.


This 2-day summit is set to bring together the leaders of 50 leading nations, including its former host, President Barack Obama of the US. One of the agenda at the Nuclear Security Summit that will be held in Seoul includes a warning to ensure safety of nuclear energy.


Noda has announced in a press conference last week that he has lots of things to share in the upcoming summit regarding lessons that Japan has learned through its experience in the nuclear crisis since last year.


According to Noda, Japan plans to invest over USD 12.2 billion for the removal of radioactive materials. This is while he insists that most of the affected places have already returned to their usual course of life, except from those restricted areas that are near the nuclear power plant.


Noda hopes to cooperate with the leaders of other countries included in the six-nation talks regarding nuclear policies of North Korea and a possible disarmament during the 2-day summit that will start on March 26.


Still, there are uncertain factors surrounding Noda’s attendance, primarily the parliament deliberations on their 2012 budget which will reach the crucial stage in March.


However, the government said in a warning that even main opposition parties will not stop Noda from going to Seoul, considering the level of importance of the summit.


During the summit, Japan is expected to propose enhanced safety measures on nuclear power plants. According to government authorities, the country is set to present a more effective emergency power backup system from what they have learned and experienced in the Fukushima nuclear crisis.


The summit came after North Korea’s agreement during its communication with US last week in Beijing about a moratorium on uranium enrichment activities and nuclear tests. Safeguarding nuclear facilities and implementing measures to avoid risks of nuclear terrorism are just several of the global meeting’s agenda, only the second of its kind.


The consensus was both announced by North Korea and US this week which has increased promise for the revival of the 6-nation talks including South Korea, Russia, China and Japan.

Apple’s Calls for Repatriation Tax Holiday Gain No Traction with White House

With some two-thirds of its cash hoard housed overseas, Apple would like a tax holiday to allow it to move that money back to the U.S., but its pleas have fallen on deaf ears at the White House.


With $64 billion in cash remaining offshore, Apple executives said during a conference call on Monday that they have no plans to bring that money back to the U.S. because of taxes. For some time now, Apple has lobbied the U.S. government for a tax holiday that would give the company an incentive to bring that money stateside.


“Repatriating the cash would result in significant tax penalties,” Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said. “The tax laws currently allow for a significant disincentive. We’ve expressed our views to Congress and the White House.”


But despite Apple’s pleas, both behind the scenes and public, White House officials are not interested in offering a “repatriation holiday” for corporations to bring overseas funds stateside, according to Talking Points Memo.


“A White House official told TPN that the Obama Administration specifically chose not to propose a repatriation holiday — a temporary tax break on overseas cash brought back to the U.S., which Apple and other tech companies have sought for years,” Carl Franzen reported.


“Instead, the official told TPM that the White house in late February put forth ‘a comprehensive corporate tax reform plan that simplifies the code, levels the playing field for American businesses and encourages investment here at home.’”


While Apple’s interest in a tax holiday hasn’t gained traction at the White House, the iPhone maker has found some support in Congress. Specifically, Democratic Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina has been a key proponent of the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act.


“(This week’s) announcement by Apple only highlights the need to pass common-sense legislation that would allow American companies to put $1 trillion of foreign earnings back to work in the U.S. economy,” Hagan reportedly said. “our stagnant economy demands practical, creative and bipartisan solutions right now.”


Hagan’s plan, which has gained support from Republican Senator John McCain, would allow companies to return their profits to the U.S. at a temporarily reduced tax rate. Hagan believes it would trigger the flow of $1 trillion back into the U.S. economy.

Springhill Group Counselling-Students Undergo Counselling After Chardon Shooting

The teenager accused of killing 3 students in a shooting spree at a school cafeteria appeared in court as a prosecutor deemed him as ‘someone who is not well’.

Seventeen-year old TJ Lane has admitted possession of a knife and a .22-caliber pistol to Chardon High School and firing 10 shots at a group of students on Monday morning. David Joyce from the prosecution said that Lane seem to be unacquainted with the victims.

According to Joyce, Lane might be charged with 3 counts of aggravated murder among other offences.

One student who has seen the attack and became readily alert said that the suspect appeared to be targeting a group of students sitting together. The teenager suspect was arrested after the attack on Monday and faced a hearing in a juvenile court.

Lane has injured and killed at Chardon High School, with a student population of 1,100, in Cleveland, Ohio. The 3 casualties are all students which has left townspeople wondering what could have triggered the gunman to do the shooting.

While the community is still reeling from the incident and trying to cope, grief counselling are being offered to staff and students of the schools in the area.

His court appearance has done little to dispel the mystery surrounding his motives. Meanwhile, prosecutors seemed to rule out speculations that the suspect has snapped because of being bullied or that his actions are somehow connected with drug dealing.

Surprisingly, the incident has nothing to do with drugs or bullying as the victims are chosen at random. It might be because the suspect is simply ‘not well’.

Timothy Grendell, the attending judge has ordered the boy to be held for fifteen days while prosecutors are given 2 days to bring charges against Lane. It is already expected that the prosecution panel will ask that the suspect be tried as an adult and not as a juvenile.

Demetrius Hewlin, a student who was in critical condition has died on Tuesday in a hospital in Cleveland, following the police announcement that 17-year old Russell King Jr has also died.

Both Parmertor and King were students in the vocational school Auburn Career Center nearby and were just waiting for the bus when the shooting happened.

The police authorities have yet to say what they see as the motive of the unfortunate incident.

Lane is not attending school in Chardon High School but in the nearby Lake Academy, a school for students with behavioral or academic problems.

Springhill Group Counselling - Goodwill Moon Rocks Missing

NASA has recently admitted that most of the moon rocks brought to Earth from 2 Apollo space missions are missing.


Richard Nixon, who was then the US president, ordered the rock to be broken up into small fragments and sent to 135 foreign leaders and 50 local states. The 370 pieces of lunar rock from the 1969 and 1972 missions were collected to be given as gifts to different countries.


Every goodwill moon rock was encased in lucite ball and placed on a wooden plaque with the receiving country’s flag.


A hundred of those were distributed to the 50 states of the US while 270 were given to various countries as a goodwill gift. To date, 184 of the goodwill rocks are unaccounted for (lost or stolen) — 24 in the US and 160 worldwide. Some of the goodwill rocks have gone missing during times of political transition or revolution.


Gaddafi’s administration received 2 goodwill moon rocks and they are both missing. The same is true with Romania’s Apollo 17 moon rock. According to the US National Archives, a goodwill moon rock was also given to the late dictator of Rome, Nicolae Ceausescu, though it is believed that after his execution the rock was sold.


And then there is the interesting story of how Ireland’s goodwill moon rock ended up in a municipal dump. The rock was formerly housed in the Dunsink Observatory in Dublin until the place burned down in 1977. Nobody seemed to have noted that the moon rock was missing til after the event. Apparently, the rock was thrown in along with other debris and dumped in the Finglas landfill which is just across the road. A warning for treasure hunters: some rock worth more than USD 5 million is still lying under tons of trash in the dump.


The Moon rock hunter, as he came to be known, Joseph Gutheinz Jr is a lawyer in Texas and previously an agent of NASA. It all started in 1998 when Gutheinz was still in NASA. He set up the Operation Lunar Eclipse, an undercover sting operation to recover the missing moon rocks. He advertised on USA Today, entitled ‘Moon Rocks Wanted’ in order to lure con-artists to contact him. What he did not expect was that someone in the possession of the goodwill moon rock of Honduras would contact him. The lunar rock, weighing 1.142 g, was offered to him for USD 5 million.


According to Gutheinz, he once offered a USD 10,000 for Malta’s goodwill moon rock but he still has not heard anything about it.


An unnamed private collector reportedly purchased a 0.2 gram of moon dust for USD 442,500. With such high prices, it is not at all surprising that there is a profitable market for both fake and real ones.


The moon rocks containing an important history of the solar system seem to be undervalued by the recipient countries and NASA, doing a poor job of protecting and keeping track of them. Meanwhile, Gutheinz admits that he may never be able to return all of the missing lunar rocks as most of them are now in private collections.