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June 4 - After the mysterious June 1 crash of Air France Flight 447 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Brazilian navy planes from the U.S., France and Brazil have launched a search for remaining debris, which may lead to an explanation for the accident. Extremely high winds by the coasts of Brazil have distributed the wreckage across a 300-mile expanse of ocean, and thunderstorms and violent seas have also slowed the investigation. Although the Brazilian Air Force identified clusters of debris and an oil slick on Wednesday, they were unable to retrieve the remains due to weather conditions. Due to these setbacks and insufficient flight data records, investigators have been unable to determine the cause of the accident. Reports from France insinuated that the pilot may have been traveling too fast for the harsh winds and rain Monday morning. This means that the aircraft likely fell apart only after reaching the water, according to Brazil's Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, but investigators are still puzzled by the event.
May 29 - A U.N. maritime presence off the coast of Somalia is part of a new campaign to eliminate piracy in the Horn of Africa. Piracy along the coasts has escalated tremendously in the past 18 years, bolstered by civil war and an ineffectual Somali government. Pirates have thrived in the shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, where they have requisitioned large supply ships and millions of dollars in ransoms for the release of captive crewmembers. A recent international offensive led to 100 pirate arrests and forced others to travel farther away from the region to avoid capture. This approach also required pirates to spend more ransom money in order to acquire ships for their long-distance escape. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, U.N. special envoy to Somalia, praised the new system as a double-edged sword that was very effective in the fight against the Somali pirates. In addition to the continued detonation of pirate ships, a coalition consisting of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), the U.S., the European Union (EU) and the U.N. has promised to advocate for the establishment of Somali coast guards, according to U.S. envoy Greg Delawie. Somalia's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar claimed that a coast guard would decrease piracy and provide jobs for young men who might have otherwise become pirates to avoid destitution.
May 25 - North Korea, angered by the U.N. Security Council's denunciation of its rocket launch on April 5, executed a successful underground nuclear test after deciding to revive its nuclear program. The management council for the launch claimed to have observed an elevated level of explosive power, and international seismologists admitted that the effects were much stronger than those of a similar test conducted in 2006. This atomic test has sparked international debate over North Korea's nuclear programs, and U.N. Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura asserted that the action is against U.N. Security Council decrees. "We will definitely not tolerate it," he declared. Japan plans to meet with the U.N. Security Council to discuss the situation.
June 1 - Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, died May 31 in her sleep at the Woodlands Ridge Nursing Home of Southampton. She was 97 years old. A week before, Dean had been in the hospital with pneumonia, but recuperated and returned to the nursing home in which she resided. The uncovering of the ship's remains in 1985 held some interest for Dean, who met with American Titanic enthusiasts. Dean was only two months old when the ship hit an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic in 1912 and has no recollection of the event. Her father's swift response to mobilize his family to evacuate the ship saved Dean, her older brother and mother from certain death in the third-class cabins. Her father died, but Dean and the rest of her family were among the 706 travelers who survived.
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