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Plane-helicopter testing halted

Flight testing of an experimental airplane that can hover like a helicopter was temporarily halted because one of five prototypes crashed on its maiden flight, an official said Wednesday. "The aircraft haven't been grounded (permanently), but we won't resume flying until we know more," Boeing Helicopters president Timothy Fehr said at a news conference. A tilt-rotor V22 Osprey aircraft crashed Tuesday at the New Castle County Airport in Delaware about three minutes into its first flight.Appeals court throws out verdict

MOUNT VERNON, Ill. _ An appeals court has thrown out a $16.2-million verdict against Monsanto Co. over a chemical spill, ruling that a jury wrongly awarded damages despite finding the spill did no harm. A jury awarded the damages to 65 residents of Sturgeon, Mo., who claimed they suffered health problems from a 1979 spill, which included a teaspoonful of dioxin. The Illinois Appellate Court said Tuesday the jury found no actual damage but decided to punish the defendant.

Parolee accused

in second rape

OAKLAND, Calif. _ A man who spent six years in prison for raping a 9-year-old girl was arrested for allegedly attacking her again. The girl, now 15, told police the man said he was punishing her for reporting the 1985 attack. Samuel Barnett, 43, was arrested Tuesday for investigation of sexual assault. He faced arraignment today. Barnett was released from prison in April after serving half of his 12-year sentence. He got time off for good behavior.

Electrocutions could be prevented

KINGS MILLS, Ohio _ A safety device readily available in hardware stores for about $10 could have prevented the electrocutions of two people in an amusement park pond, a federal safety official said Wednesday. A park security guard and another man died Sunday night while trying to rescue a man who was shocked but survived after falling into the pond.

Doctor convicted for abortions

ANDERSON, Ind. _ A doctor was convicted Wednesday of performing illegal abortions on his former lovers. He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. Dr. Pravin Thakkar, 40, violated a state law requiring doctors to explain the abortion and obtain a patient's written consent, prosecutors said. A jury convicted Thakkar of two counts each of performing an illegal abortion, battery and criminal recklessness, plus one count of attempted illegal abortion.

Lawyer: Gag order difficult to enforce

WEST PALM BEACH _ A Palm Beach city attorney told the judge in the William Kennedy Smith rape case Wednesday that any gag order could be difficult to enforce because of a state law requiring police records to be made available to the public. Smith, a 30-year-old nephew of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, has pleaded innocent to charges he raped a woman at the family's Palm Beach estate last Easter weekend.