New hampshire picks jan. 10 for gop primary
New Hampshire has scheduled its first-in-the-nation presidential primary for Jan. 10, giving candidates a concrete calendar after months of uncertainty. The date announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Bill Gardner had been expected since Nevada Republicans voted last month to shift their presidential caucuses to Feb. 4. New Hampshire will vote a week after the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, with South Carolina's primary Jan. 21 and Florida's Jan. 31.
Fission is feared at nuclear plant
In the latest sign Japan's nuclear nightmare at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant isn't over, officials Wednesday detected an ominous radioactive gas that suggests possible nuclear fission at a reactor. Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged detecting signs of the gas xenon, which they said could be the byproduct of a nuclear reaction. They downplayed the discovery, saying it didn't raise the reactor's temperature, pressure or radiation levels. And they said it wouldn't delay efforts to cool the reactor. As a precaution, workers injected boric acid, which neutralizes nuclear fission, through the facilities' cooling pipes. The plant was damaged during a tsunami triggered by a March 11 earthquake.
Air Force to cut 9,000 civilian jobs
The Air Force said Wednesday it plans to eliminate 9,000 civilian jobs, with more reductions to come later as part of a military-wide effort to adjust to a new era of defense spending cuts. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, said reductions would be attempted through attrition and other management moves to avoid layoffs. The Air Force didn't spell out its planned job reductions but said some would come from reorganizing its largest employer of civilians, the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Airport security test expanding
Testing for a new program aimed at getting certain travelers through airport security with less hassle has gone so well that the Obama administration plans to expand it to another round of airports and travelers, the government said Wednesday. The pre-screening test program is part of the Obama administration's move to a more risk-based, intelligence-driven passenger screening program. About 280,000 frequent fliers from American and Delta airlines are participating in the program being tested at airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Miami, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Airports and airlines eligible for the next round of testing are still being determined.
Switzerland: Russia has reached an agreement with Georgia that paves the way for Moscow to join the World Trade Organization after an 18-year wait, a senior trade negotiator said Wednesday. Russia is the only major economy outside the global trade body.
China: China moved a step closer to setting up its own space station early today, with the unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou 8 docking successfully with the Tiangong 1 module in orbit.
California: An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will zoom past Earth on Tuesday just inside the orbit of the moon. It poses no danger, but is the closest flyby of an asteroid this large since 1976, according to NASA.