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Shuttle prepared for fueling test

NASA prepared to pump liquid hydrogen into Columbia's massive external tanks today to determine if all of the space shuttle's hydrogen leaks have been fixed. Columbia has been grounded by leaking hydrogen since May. Top NASA officials, meanwhile, gathered Monday to discuss the shuttle Atlantis' flight scheduled Nov. 9 or 10 with a classified satellite that reportedly will spy on Iraq. Atlantis, also grounded by hydrogen leaks, was cleared for flight following a successful fueling test last week.Court to decide who owns gun

DALLAS _ A 24-year-old argument over who owns the gun that killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy, landed in court Monday. The .38-caliber Colt Cobra handgun was used by the late Jack Ruby to shoot Oswald at the Dallas police station in 1963, two days after Kennedy was shot as he waved to crowds from his motorcade in Dallas. Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, was sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned. He died in 1967 before a new trial could be held. The gun has become the subject of an ownership dispute between Ruby's relatives and Jules Mayer, a Dallas lawyer and executor of Ruby's will who claimed the gun as partial payment for legal services. The jury trial began Monday in Dallas Probate Court.

Cocaine, alcohol produce third drug

NEW YORK _ People who drink alcohol while using cocaine create a third brain-targeting substance that may help boost their euphoria, researchers say. The new studies show that a substance called cocaethylene, formed in the liver from alcohol and cocaine, reaches the brain and mimics some actions of cocaine there. Further studies may give leads for medications to treat cocaine addiction by blocking its effects, said study co-author Deborah Mash, a neuropharmacologist at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Another possible role of cocaethylene deals with cocaine overdose deaths in people with severe coronary artery disease. Mash said cocaethylene might play a role in the elevated risk because it may interfere with the brain's control of the heart pumping rhythm, she said.

Elsewhere . . .

MODESTO, Calif. _ A woman shot a hole in the fuel tank of a small airplane that was flying over her property about 90 miles east of San Francisco, authorities said. The plane landed safely at a private landing strip with a bullet hole in the left wing fuel tank only 12 inches from the cockpit. The woman was held for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon.

CAPE CANAVERAL _ An international maritime communications satellite that will provide service for boats, aircraft and ground vehicles is set for launch at 6:16 p.m. today aboard a U.S. Delta rocket.

NEW YORK _ The New York Daily News accused striking workers Monday of intimidating news vendors and stealing bundles of papers and said it had begun hiring permanent replacements for strikers. The leaders of the paper's nine striking unions pledged to start a boycott today of firms advertising in the 1.3-million-circulation daily and called for the paper's owner, the Chicago-based Tribune Co., to sell the paper and "get out of town."

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. _ Harvard University announced Monday it will sponsor the annual international AIDS conference in 1992. Four months ago, the university threatened to cancel the conference unless the United States removed travel restrictions on people infected with AIDS, a possibility under the new immigration bill before President Bush.

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