Revealed: the Pentagon’s secret UFO-hunting program

This file photo taken on April 23, 2015 shows the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia outside Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Revealed: the Pentagon’s secret UFO-hunting program

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has acknowledged funding a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate sightings of UFOs.
The shadowy program ended in 2012, according to the Defense Department, but the New York Times reported that it is still up and running — with officials continuing to study incidents brought to their attention by US military service members while performing their regular duties at the Pentagon.
The so-called Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program operated from 2007 to 2012 and had $22 million a year in funding tucked away in the Pentagon’s gargantuan budget, the Times said, quoting program participants and records.
The program yielded documents describing sightings of unidentified flying aircraft that apparently moved very fast with no visible sign of propulsion or hovered with no apparent means of lift, the Times said.
Program officials also examined video of encounters between unknown objects and US military aircraft.
This included one released in August of a whitish oval object about the size of a jetliner, being pursued by two Navy fighter jets from an aircraft carrier off the California coast in 2004, the paper added.
The Department of Defense said in a statement the program is now over.
“The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe. It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change,” it said.
It added: “The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed.”
The program was initially funded at the request of then Senator Harry Reid, the chamber’s majority leader at the time and a long-time enthusiast of space phenomena, the Times said.
Most of the money in the program went to an aerospace research company run by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Reid, the Times said.
“If anyone says they have the answers, they’re fooling themselves,” Reid, who retired from Congress last year, said in a tweet Saturday night.
“We don’t know the answers but we have plenty of evidence to support asking the questions. This is about science and national security. If America doesn’t take the lead in answering these questions, others will,” Reid wrote.


Ronaldo bust swapped at Madeira airport

Updated 18 June 2018
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Ronaldo bust swapped at Madeira airport

LISBON: The controversial bronze bust of Cristiano Ronaldo at the airport on Madeira which bears his name has been replaced, Portuguese media reported on Monday.
“This bust is much better than the other one, that’s what everyone thinks,” Hugo Aveiro, brother of the five-time Ballon d’or, winner, told the Diario de Noticias da Madeira newspaper.
“A Spanish sculptor offered this new bust ... so good that we decided to change it,” he added.
The original was swapped Friday at the request of the Real Madrid superstar’s entourage, according to local media.
The original, by local artist Emanuel Santos, was unveiled 16 months ago at a ceremony to rename the airport after one of Madeira’s most famous sons, CR7 having been born in the capital Funchal.
But it was widely mocked, not least for its grimacing smile.
“The CR7 museum asked us to replace the bust in tribute to the athlete and we felt we ought to change it,” airport director Duarte Ferreira explained.
The Ronaldo museum opened in 2013 and a year later it unveiled a 3.40 meters (10 feet) statue which also caused some mirth owing to its figure-hugging shorts.
While his home island concentrates on his likenesses the real Ronaldo is busy at the World Cup. He notched a hat trick to earn a point against Spain a few hours after the airport bust was exchanged.