Falling satellite has U.S. among its targets

Satellite likely to crash overnight

A 6-ton NASA satellite on a collision course with Earth clung to space Friday, apparently flipping position in its ever-lower orbit and stalling its death plunge. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was targeted to crash through the atmosphere sometime Friday night or early today, putting Canada, Africa and Australia in its potential crosshairs, although most of the satellite should burn up during re-entry. For the U.S., the possible strike zone skirted Washington state. Late Friday night, NASA said it expected the satellite to come crashing down between 11:45 p.m. and 12:45 a.m. EDT. For updates, check tampabay.com.

Slow growth in centenarians

More Americans are living to be 100, but not as many as expected. The Census Bureau predicted six years ago that the country would be home to 114,000 centenarians by 2010. The actual number was 53,364, the census reported recently. That represented an increase of 5.8 percent since 2000, compared with a 9.7 percent gain in the nation's population as a whole. Still, the population of centenarians showed major gains in the last century. In 1950 there were just 2,300 people estimated to be 100 and older. The number jumped 35 percent in 2000 to 50,454, from 37,306 in 1990.

Cola giants fight on D.C. front

Pepsi and Coca-Cola are neck-and-neck in Washington when it comes to spending on lobbying and campaign contributions. The watchdog Center for Responsive Politics reported that Pepsi last year spent about $6.8 million on lobbying compared to about $5.8 million by Coke. This year, Coca-Cola is blowing past Pepsi, shelling out $3.4 million through June compared to Pepsi's $1.9 million. Coke has the edge in political donations with $206,000: Democrats got 41 percent and Republicans 59 percent. Pepsi poured just $189,000 into coffers this year: Democrats got 54 percent and Republicans 46 percent.

Protests end dog meat festival

A 600-year-old Chinese tradition of dog eating collided this week with modern concepts about animal rights, and this time, modernity won. Authorities canceled a three-day festival planned for mid October in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, after tens of thousands of people who organized over the Internet complained. Legend has it that a Ming dynasty military hero who was trying to capture Jinhua in 1389 decided to kill all the dogs so they wouldn't bark at night.

Falling satellite has U.S. among its targets 09/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 24, 2011 2:48am]

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