The US Navy has been sending its vessels on humanitarian missions since 2006, when it sent the hospital ship USNS Mercy to the Philippines, Indonesia, and other Asian countries.
Last week, the US Senate voted down the UN disabilities treaty, despite a push from former GOP Senate Majority leader, Bob Dole. Critics say the treaty weakens parental rights and violates US sovereignty. Not so, and eight Republicans who crossed over to ratify, know that.
The time jump means that Samoa's 186,000 citizens will now be the first in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last.
The Pool Stage is the initial round of competition in the Rugby World Cup. At the conclusion of this round, two teams (a winner and a runner-up) will advance to the next stage, or "quarter-finals." There are four pools - A, B, C and D, and it is widely anticipated that the top seeds in those pools: New Zealand, England, Australia and South Africa respectively, will move to the next round.
The Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years, commences in New Zealand Friday. It is being broadcast by NBC/Universal and can also be streamed on the internet at RugbyWorldCup.com
New Zealand earthquake early Thursday morning local time is magnitude 7.8. The New Zealand earthquake rattled the country's remote Kermadec Islands.