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KazakhstanSoyuz takes American into space

An American computer game designer reached space Sunday, fulfilling a long-deferred childhood dream that began with the flight of his astronaut father.

The Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft carrying Richard Garriott and two crewmates is due to dock Tuesday with the international space station, where British-born Garriott, 47, will spend about 10 days conducting experiments.

The spacecraft is bearing the digitized DNA sequences of some of the world's greatest thinkers and musicians — as well as athletes, video game players and others.

The eclectic list ranges from famed physicist Stephen Hawking to comedian Stephen Colbert. The digitized DNA is part of "the immortality drive," a kind of time capsule that will be stored on the space station in case calamity were to one day wipe out the planet.

Afghanistan

U.S. general says 'we are not losing' war

Less than 12 hours after NATO troops in Afghanistan defeated an ambitious attempt by the Taliban to storm a provincial capital in the far southwest, killing dozens of the fighters, the top U.S. commander in the country urged doubters on Sunday to believe that the war against the Taliban would be won. Gen. David D. McKiernan said there had been "too many" reports in the media recently asserting that the foreign forces and their Afghan allies were losing the war.

"I absolutely reject that idea. I don't believe it," the general said, adding: "It is true that there are many places in this country that don't have an adequate level of security. We don't have progress as even and as fast as any of us would like. But we are not losing in Afghanistan."

Earlier, the NATO command confirmed that its forces battled several hundred Taliban fighters at nightfall on Saturday as they prepared to attack Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, the center of Afghanistan's opium trade and one of the most heavily contested battlefields of the war.

Pakistan

Suspected U.S. drones fire missiles, killing 5

The latest suspected U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's northwest killed five people, but none was believed to be a al-Qaida fighter, officials said Sunday. Two drone aircraft were seen above the town of Miran Shah minutes before missiles hit a house Saturday, two intelligence officials said. Clashes with security forces reportedly killed 52 militants in two neighboring tribal regions, officials said

Elsewhere

Lithuania: A conservative opposition party won the most votes in Lithuania's parliamentary election, but strong support for populist groups set the stage for tricky coalition talks, an exit poll and partial results showed.

Somalia: Forces unsuccessfully tried to take back one of the many ships hijacked off the country's coast Sunday, officials said. Two pirates were killed.

Times wires

KazakhstanSoyuz takes American into space 10/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:39pm]

    

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