New York vows to reopen Statue of Liberty, at its own cost

A sign announcing the closure of the Statue of Liberty, due to the U.S. government shutdown, sits near the ferry dock to the Statue of Liberty at Battery Park in Manhattan, New York, U.S., in this January 20, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 January 2018
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New York vows to reopen Statue of Liberty, at its own cost

NEW YORK: The Statue of Liberty, temporarily closed by a US government budget shutdown, will reopen on Monday to once again beckon other countries’ “huddled masses” — as well as not-so-poor tourists with dollars to spend.
“We will not stand by as this symbol of freedom and opportunity goes dark,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet Sunday, announcing that the state had found funds to keep the iconic landmark open.
Shutting the surrounding park “jeopardizes an economic driver for the state of New York,” said Cuomo, a Democrat.
“This park is a symbol of New York and our values. And her message has never been as important as it is today,” he said, alluding to the budget battle in Washington, where Democrats were seeking protection for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants before agreeing to Republican proposals to extend funding for the government.
As a result of the budget impasse, many government services including the Statue of Liberty have been closed since Saturday.
Speaking to reporters from the southern tip of Manhattan Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Cuomo explained that the state will provide the $65,000 it takes each day to pay the federal workers who keep the park open.
The statue on Liberty Island, as well as the related museum on nearby Ellis Island, where arriving immigrants were once processed, annually welcome about 4.5 million visitors. Most come by boat from Manhattan.

On Saturday hundreds of tourists were caught unaware, even if tour companies quickly offered boat tours, or reimbursement, as a salve.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States in 1886 to honor the centenary of US independence 10 years earlier.
It is among the hundreds of parks, battlefields, recreation areas and monuments managed by the National Park Service.
After Democrats and the majority Republicans in Congress missed a Friday deadline to pass a new federal budget, most “non-essential” government services and programs were ordered to close.
Some of the best-known parks have been kept open, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Yellowstone National Park. But most are operating with skeleton staff, meaning many stores, restaurants and even restrooms are closed.
In an unusual move, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department oversees the parks service, said on Twitter that he had personally helped welcome visitors to the World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington.
During the last government shutdown, a 16-day standoff in 2013, the memorial was closed. That prompted a group of military veterans, some of them in wheelchairs or hobbling on canes, to force their way in.
It was an embarrassment the White House of President Donald Trump has vowed to avoid.


Pilot survives after small plane crash off coast of Hawaii

A US Coast Guard vessel and other rescue boats respond to a plane crash off Honolulu, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Pilot survives after small plane crash off coast of Hawaii

  • The website of defense contractor BAE Systems says the Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s

HONOLULU: A civilian contractor for the Hawaii Air National Guard who was participating in a military exercise survived after his plane crashed off the coast of Honolulu, authorities said Wednesday.
US Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Sara Muir says the pilot is in stable condition after being rescued about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) south of Oahu near Honolulu’s Sand Island.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said a Hawker Hunter jet went down in the ocean around 2:25 p.m. after taking off from Honolulu’s airport.
The pilot had been participating in a military exercise called Sentry Aloha exercise, said US Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew West. The Hawaii Air National Guard was hosting the exercise, which involved about 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine states.
Departing flights from the Honolulu airport were held as a precaution for about 20 minutes, said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
The Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, said the website of defense contractor BAE Systems.
Initially, a single-seat version was used as a maneuverable fighter aircraft. It was later used as both a fighter and bomber and for reconnaissance missions.
The British navy and air force continued to use a two-seat version into the early 1990s.
Britain exported the plane, and it was also used by the air forces of 21 other nations.