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The Spill: Abuela de Catalan

Weekly news you can use.

By:  |  May 20, 2020  |    898 Words

View of the USS Nevada, an American battleship, at sea during World War II, 1940s. (Photo by US Navy/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Oldest Lady in Spain Survives Coronavirus

It’s a scary time in the world right now. People all over the globe are practicing social-distancing, self-isolation, and locking themselves in their homes while businesses close their doors. With all the bad news around, it’s nice to see a positive report. The story of 113-year-old Maria Branyas beating COVID-19 provides hope for those concerned about the pandemic.

The virus mostly affects the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, but Maria beat the odds. She was diagnosed in March, and after several weeks in isolation, has recovered. She was also lucky to only experience mild symptoms. But this isn’t the first crisis the woman has gone through in more than a century of living.

Born in Mexico in 1907, Maria went through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which infected 500 million people and killed 50 million. She also experienced two world wars, as well as the Spanish Civil War. She moved to San Francisco during WWII, then later settled in the Catalan province of Girona, Spain.

Technology doesn’t seem to bother Maria either. She is active on Twitter and told her followers she’d been asked to do a television interview, which she suspects is because she survived Coronavirus at her advanced age.

Maria has three children – one of them just turned 86 years old – 11 grandchildren (the oldest is 60), and 13 great-grandchildren. Dubbed the “Abuela [grandmother] de Catalan” by the Spanish publication La Vanguardia during an interview, the matriarch was asked about her secret to a long life. Her response: “I have done nothing but live.”

Shipwreck of USS Nevada Discovered

Recently, a relic from World War II was discovered buried beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The USS Nevada was a battleship that saw a lot of action before finding its final resting place 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor. It was found at a depth of 15,400 feet by SEARCH, an underwater archaeology specialist team, and Ocean Infinity, a marine robotics company.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Hundreds of fighter planes destroyed or damaged more than 300 American airplanes and almost 20 naval vessels, including eight battleships. More than 2,400 military personnel and civilians perished in the attack, and about 1,000 more were injured. The USS Nevada was the only battleship able to get started during the attack, despite getting damaged by bombs and even a torpedo.

After being beached and repaired, the battleship participated in the Attu landings in May 1943. In June 1944, she was part of the Normandy invasion, and in August and September she took part in the South France operation. In 1945, the Nevada then helped in the Okinawa and Iwo Jima invasions where she was damaged again, this time by a suicide plane.

Once her service to the war had ended, the USS Nevada became a target ship to test the atomic bomb in July 1946. One month later, she was decommissioned due to damage and the fact that she was now radioactive. Two years later, she was intentionally sunk by torpedoes and gunfire.

“Nevada is an iconic ship that speaks to American resilience and stubbornness,” said Dr. James Delgado, SEARCH’s senior vice president and lead maritime archaeologist. “The physical reality of the ship, resting in the darkness of the great museum of the sea, reminds us not only of past events, but of those who took up the challenge of defending the United States in two global wars. This is why we do ocean exploration – to seek out those powerful connections to the past.”

Space Force Launches Secret Mission

On May 15, President Donald Trump held a small event in the Oval Office, where he was presented with the Space Force flag. He said the United States is building a “super-duper missile” with the ability to travel “17 times faster than what we have right now.”

Two days later, a secret mission began after a U.S. Space Force “space plane” was successfully launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The X-37B space plane looks like a miniature shuttle. It uses solar power as its fuel source and is flown using remote controls, so there’s no need for a crew.

The X-37B mission goals and timeframe are secret, but it is carrying a satellite built by Air Force cadets. The instrument has several features, including an extra area just for holding and conducting experiments. The Space Force is in charge of the mission, but the plane itself belongs to the Air Force.

This is actually the sixth mission conducted by the newly formed Space Force. The X-37B mission is mysterious because nobody outside the Space Force knows exactly what the craft will be doing in orbit.

This mission is also special because it is dedicated to the first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were honored to partner with the US Space Force to dedicate this mission to first responders, frontline workers, and those affected by COVID-19,” said Gary Wentz of the United Launch Alliance. “It is truly a unique time in our history and I want to thank the entire team for their continued dedication and focus on mission success.”

The president, despite much arguing from Democrats, has insisted that the Space Force is a critical addition to our military. The newest force is the sixth in the U.S. military and is the first to be formed since the Air Force in 1947.

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