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Shuttle "Discovery' heads for Florida

Space shuttle Discovery took a piggyback jet ride out of California on Friday after rainstorms delayed its departure for Florida. A modified jumbo jetliner carrying the shuttle took off shortly after 8 a.m. for a refueling stop at Biggs Army Air Field in El Paso, Texas, and an overnight stop at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, said Don Nolan, a NASA spokesman. It is scheduled to refuel again today at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida before reaching Kennedy Space Center. Discovery landed in California on Jan. 30.

5 rescued after

plane crashes

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. _ Five people, including a 2-year-old girl, were rescued Friday after crashing in an emergency medical plane during a heavy snowstorm and spending a night in rugged terrain, authorities said. The five were taken by helicopter to a hospital in Grand Junction. "The extent of injuries is unknown at this time," said Sgt. Carol Silvius of the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. "It doesn't look severe. All are conscious." The plane was flying from Grand Junction to Children's Hospital in Denver because the 2-year-old had a coin lodged in her esophagus.

Winds put a halt

to balloon mission

AKRON, Ohio _ The planned launch Friday of the first non-stop balloon trip around the world was canceled because winds were too strong. The decision to postpone the launch was made just hours before the three-man crew was due to lift off. If the flight eventually goes as scheduled, the balloon will ride the jet stream at up to 35,000 feet, traveling 22,000 miles in a trip expected to take from 12 to 20 days. Organizers said it would be at least four or five days before another takeoff attempt could be made.

California farmland

losing water supply

SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Despite torrents in Southern California, the state's largest water supplier said Friday it will halt deliveries to one of the nation's richest farmlands because of a five-year drought. The announcement affects about 7,000 farms covering about 1-million acres in parts of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys _ about one-ninth of California's agricultural land. "There is just no water available," said Roger Patterson, regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the Central Valley Project. Farm groups said hundreds of thousands of acres will lie fallow in the areas that produce tomatoes, melons, lettuce and other crops.

Police end search

for swallowed gem

BEAVERTON, Ore. _ Police have given up a search for a $4,100 diamond that a thief apparently swallowed at a jewelry store, authorities said. On Feb. 6 at Smith & Bevill Jewelers, Robert Hicks apparently swallowed both a three-quarter carat diamond and a fake he was attempting to switch it for. Police searched his stools and retrieved the fake, but by Thursday there was no sign of the real diamond. "The most logical conclusion is that in our search of his stools we missed it," said police spokesman Mark Hyde. Hicks is in jail on a theft charge and a drug-related warrant from Mississippi.

Briefly . . .

Duke kept off Illinois ballot: State election officials ruled Friday that former Klan leader David Duke may not appear on the ballot in the March 17 Illinois presidential primary. The unanimous decision by the State Board of Elections was based on defects in petitions filed by Duke supporters.