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Launch of 'Discovery' is delayed again because of leaks

CAPE CANAVERAL

LAUNCH of 'DISCOVERY' IS DELAYED AGAIN BECAUSE OF LEAKS

Last-minute leak repairs have again pushed back space shuttle Discovery's final launch, this time until Wednesday. NASA delayed Discovery's flight to the International Space Station yet another day because more work was needed than initially thought to replace a pair of leaking pipe hookups near the shuttle's tail, NASA test director Jeff Spaulding said Saturday.

The problem cropped up earlier in the week, forcing NASA to give up on the original Monday launch attempt and aim instead for Tuesday. That one-day slip to Election Day — which was announced Friday — had officials in neighboring communities worried about the massive traffic jams that might result from hordes of launch spectators and residents trying to vote.

Spaulding said the latest delay gives shuttle team members "a little bit more breathing room" to get to the polls. Space agency managers had been urging workers to vote early to avoid interfering with work.

Spaulding said the repairs are likely to be done in time for a Wednesday launch attempt.

NEW YORK

Company says Sept. 11 DNA software stolen

A software company that helped identify the remains of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is accusing the New York City Medical Examiner's Office of handing its secrets over to the FBI. A Manhattan federal judge has been asked to decide if the lawsuit, filed in March by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Gene Codes, can go forward. New York City has filed a countersuit claiming Gene Codes didn't meet its contractual obligations. Gene Codes' software, known as the Mass-Fatality Identification System, helped the city analyze and organize the DNA of victims of the terrorist attack. Both sides signed a three-year contract in 2002, for which the city said it paid $13 million. The company claims that after the contract expired, New York refused to pay it to maintain the system, then gave the FBI proprietary information once the system crashed. The city claims Gene Codes had agreed to upgrade the system for free after the city's initial investment.

DEKALB, Ill.

Student missing, but death penalty possible

An Illinois man may face the death penalty if convicted in the slaying of a college freshman who went missing earlier this month. William Curl is jailed on $5 million bail in the death of Northern Illinois University freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller. Curl, 34, of DeKalb appeared in court Saturday via closed-circuit TV. He has been charged with first-degree murder, criminal sexual assault and arson. DeKalb County Judge James Donnelly told Curl about the death penalty possibility in court. Keller, 18, was last seen Oct. 14. Two days later, burned human remains were found in a park near the university in DeKalb, 65 miles west of Chicago. Police haven't positively identified the remains as Keller's, but her case is now a homicide investigation.

South Korea

Koreans reunite at Red Cross gathering

Hundreds of South Koreans, separated from family members in North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War, were reunited with their relatives on Saturday as a Red Cross gathering got under way at the Diamond Mountain resort in the North. A brief exchange of gunfire between North and South Korean troops on Friday night did not delay or cancel the event. No one was injured in the cross-border shooting, an official with the Defense Ministry said, and analysts in Seoul said they believed that the initial shots, from the North, were probably accidental. The reunion that began Saturday was the first in more than a year. It was to continue until Tuesday, and a second group of relatives is scheduled to begin another meeting from Wednesday to Friday. About 100 families from each country will meet up with one or more relatives.

Venezuela

Amazon Indians hit by malaria epidemic

Venezuelan health workers say an epidemic that may be malaria has killed dozens of people, decimating three villages of the Yanomami Indians, whose struggle for survival in a remote part of the Amazon rain forest has attracted worldwide support. Two indigenous health workers who visited the area told the Associated Press on Friday that village chiefs told them that about 50 people have died recently, many of them children. A regional health official, Dr. Carlos Botto, said the initial accounts and tests have shown there was some type of epidemic and evidence of malaria. But he said the number of deaths remained unclear and further tests were needed to determine if other diseases could be involved.

Elsewhere

tURKEY: The government said Saturday that it was lifting a ban on YouTube more than two years after it blocked access to the site because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder. Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, who is in charge of Internet issues, said the government has been in touch with Google, which owns YouTube. There was no longer any reason to ban the video-sharing site, he said, as the offending videos had been removed.

Times wires

Launch of 'Discovery' is delayed again because of leaks

10/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 31, 2010 12:05am]
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