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Is China building aircraft carrier?

Chinese shipyard workers have been repairing a badly damaged ex-Russian aircraft carrier and have repainted it with the country’s military markings, raising the question of whether China is about to field its first carrier, reports Jane’s Defense.

Images show workers at the Chinese Dalian Shipyard have repainted the ex-Russian Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag with the markings and color scheme of the People’s Liberation Army-Navy.

New body armor sought in Iraq

For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents, the New York Times reports today.

The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon’s procurement system.

The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates – a process also plagued by delays. The officials disclosed the new armor effort after questioning by the New York Times, and acknowledged that it would take several more months or longer to complete.

Harvard jumps into evolution debate

Harvard University is joining the long-running debate over the theory of evolution by launching a research project to study how life began.

A team of researchers will receive $1 million in funding annually from Harvard over the next few years. The project begins with an admission that some mysteries about life’s origins cannot be explained.

“My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention,” said David R. Liu, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard.

The “Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative” is still in its early stages, scientists told Sunday’s Boston Globe. Harvard has told the research team to make plans for adding faculty members and a collection of multimillion-dollar facilities.

Evolution is a fundamental scientific theory that species evolved over millions of years. It has been standard in most public-school science texts for decades but recently re-emerged in the spotlight as communities and some states debated whether school children should also be taught about creationism or intelligent design.

Man ‘outed’ on radio to get $270K

A San Francisco man who says he was devastated after he was identified as gay on a national Spanish-language radio show will be paid $270,000 by Univision Radio, an arbitrator has ruled.

Roberto Hernandez, 45, was driving to work in 2002 when he received a phone call from a man who said that he met Hernandez at a San Francisco gay bar. The caller then announced that the conversation was being broadcast live on the “Raul Brindis and Pepito Show,” based in Houston.

Hernandez worked for the local station that broadcast the show, and sold advertising for the program. He said he was so depressed by the incident that he could no longer work.

“It’s a nightmare,” Hernandez said. “How do you live with such an embarrassment in your life? How do you live when someone makes your life so insignificant?”

Hernandez had been discreet about disclosing his sexual orientation before the incident, not even telling his family.

Arbitrator Rebecca Westerfield found Friday that Hernandez had suffered emotional distress but dismissed claims of sexual harassment. She said that Hernandez had no choice but to quit his job and was owed workers’ compensation.

Hernandez was awarded $250,000 and nearly $20,000 in economic damages because of the emotional distress that led to seven months of unemployment after quitting his job.