Privately funded rocket launches
The Falcon 9, the first of a new generation of private rockets that could one day make space travel commonplace, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on Friday. The 180-foot rocket put a model of its Dragon capsule into orbit about 160 miles up, setting the stage for possible flights to the International Space Station early next year.
The launch gives a major boost to the rocket's builder, SpaceX, and its Internet tycoon founder, Elon Musk. The Obama administration has proposed a far greater role for commercial space companies in the future of NASA. After Friday's successful test launch, SpaceX plans to send a rocket and capsule into orbit this summer and one to the space station next year.
FORT LEWIS, Wash.
Army soldier accused of killing 3 Afghans
The Army said Friday that a soldier has been charged with the murders of three Afghan civilians. Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, of Wasilla, Alaska, was charged with three counts of premeditated murder and one count of assault. The Army said the charges involve three separate events alleged to have occurred between January and May at or near Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan.
Sotomayor revisits old neighborhood
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor returned Friday to the Bronx housing project where she spent part of her childhood, recalling how an unlikely encounter there with Robert F. Kennedy ignited her passion for public service. The Bronx native fought back tears at the ceremony renaming the Bronxdale Houses after Sotomayor. She also visited her nearby elementary school.
Finance minister takes over as prime minister
Japan's Parliament elected outspoken populist and Finance Minister Naoto Kan as prime minister Friday, handing the political veteran the immediate task of rallying his party and reclaiming its mandate for change before elections next month. Kan, 63, succeeds Yukio Hatoyama, who stepped down Wednesday after squandering the public's high hopes with broken campaign promises.
FRANCE: A report released by the Council of Europe on Friday accuses the World Health Organization and European governments of exaggerating the health risks of swine flu and making secretive decisions that benefited pharmaceutical companies.
Iran: The nation's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, renewed his attack on opposition leaders on Friday, saying that they had betrayed the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution.