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Third countdown for shuttle begins

NASA's countdown clock began ticking Monday for the third attempt to launch the space shuttle Columbia, grounded for two weeks by a slew of last-minute equipment trouble. NASA plans to send Columbia on its biomedical research mission at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Also Monday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to kill NASA's planned space station.Gambler shot after boasting of win

LOS ANGELES _ A man who demanded cash after winning $88,000 at the racetrack and bragged of his luck was confronted in his gold Jaguar by a gunman who shot him to death and stole some of his winnings, police said Monday. Robert Unger, 33, of Newport Beach was dead on arrival Saturday night at Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center, Lt. Phillip Roberts said.

Navy, NBC sued over "Iowa' story

WASHINGTON _ A former sailor, Kendall Truitt, has filed lawsuits against the Navy and NBC News for stories about the 16-inch gun explosion on the battleship Iowa in 1989 that killed 47 seamen, his lawyer said Monday. The suit alleges that the Navy falsely claimed that Truitt was a homosexual and that a murder-suicide plot had led to the explosion. NBC broadcast the claims. A Senate Armed Services Committee investigation concluded later that the explosion could have been accidental. The Navy has reopened its investigation.

Elsewhere . . .

Lover of prison escapee charged: A man charged with helping his lover escape from a prison where she was serving a life sentence for murdering her then-husband's ex-lover returned to jail Monday after a judge refused to lower his $100,000 bail. Dominic Gugliatto, 35, was engaged to Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek when she escaped from a prison near Fond du Lac, Wis., on July 15. She is fighting deportation from Canada.

Surgeon alleges sexism at Stanford: A surgeon who quit, claiming she was targeted by demeaning comments and unwelcome advances, was right in charging that some male surgeons have sexist attitudes, Stanford (Calif.) Medical School Dean David Korn said Monday. He said the school is working to eradicate attitudes alleged by Dr. Frances Conley.

Heiress died on LSD: Kirstie McDonald, the 15-year-old granddaughter of the Zenith Electronics Corp. founder, had LSD in her system when she shot herself to death April 19 in San Diego County, according to a medical examiner's report.

Park fees waived: National parks will offer free admission Friday through Sunday to active-duty service members, reservists and their families.

AIDS insurance for doctors: The American Medical Association said Monday it will offer insurance to doctors providing for lump-sum payments of up to $500,000 for those who get AIDS from occupational exposure.

Ex-Wedtech president sentenced: Anthony Guariglia, former president of Wedtech Corp., was sentenced Monday in a New York court to 27 months in prison for giving perjured testimony at the trial of E. Robert Wallach.

Ex-PTL aid gets parole: Richard Dortch, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in the federal investigation of PTL, has been approved for parole for medical reasons, the Justice Department said Monday. Dortch has undergone an operation for a cancerous kidney.

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