Standby crew is set in case of emergency
Ever been at the airport as a standby passenger and wondered if you'd get a seat on the plane? Well, there's standby, and then there's standby. Four U.S. astronauts have been tapped to fly a space-shuttle mission next year that would happen only if disaster strikes. The trip on the Atlantis would be made in June 2011, but only in the event that the space shuttle Endeavour, set to make the last mission in February, is damaged to the extent that it could not safely return the crew to Earth. Should that happen, plans call for the crew of the stricken craft to hole up at the International Space Station until the rescue shuttle arrives.
In line of duty
One less beef for U.S. troops
U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be having it their way, again. Military commanders have decided to reverse a seven-month ban on Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut and other fast-food joints at large American bases in Afghanistan, reports the Stars and Stripes newspaper. In February, now-former U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal decided supplies for restaurants were taking up precious cargo space needed to support the troop surge. With the surge over, new commander Gen. David Petraeus gave the okay to reopen the food spots.
Owner not amused by statue theft
Ay caramba! A statue of the comic character has been stolen from outside a Massachusetts restaurant. The 3-foot-tall, 75-pound ceramic Bart Simpson was last seen sitting on a park bench outside Leggos in Holbrook, and management is having a cow. Owner Astrit Gorezi says the statue, which was chained down, was a popular topic of conversation with customers. Police are investigating, but so far have no suspects, not even Simpson's nemesis, Sideshow Bob.
'Waldo' is taking credit for bank job
A recent study claimed people who spent an inordinate amount of time on Facebook were narcissistic. There may be some truth to that claim: An Oregon bank robbery suspect the FBI nicknamed the "Where's Waldo Bandit" has popped up on Facebook to claim responsibility for the crime. The Oregonian says one of the FBI's bank surveillance photos of the suspect in a robbery on Tuesday appeared on the Facebook page of Ryan Homsley of Portland. A Facebook message said "im now a bank robber." The FBI and Homsley's brother, Portland radio DJ Noah Homsley, are urging him to surrender.
Compiled from Times wires and other sources.