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Fire in Guard hangar leaves 12 injured

In Smyrna, Tenn., fire broke out at a National Guard maintenance hangar Tuesday, injuring 12 Guardsmen, one of them seriously, officials said. All of the injured suffered smoke inhalation, most of them while trying to remove three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the hangar, said Sgt. Randy Harris, a Guard spokesman. One patient was being treated in the burn unit of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, a hospital spokesman said. The other 11 were treated at hospitals and released. Investigators said the blaze could have been caused by welding going on inside the building.

Across world,

more women lead

A record number of women are serving in parliaments around the world - but they still account for just over 16 percent of all lawmakers, an international parliamentary group said in an annual report. The Inter-Parliamentary Union reports the number of women in parliaments has been rising since 1995, when the figure was 11.3 percent, the report said. Last year, it reached 16.3 percent, a slight increase from 15.7 percent in December 2004. Rwanda had the highest female representation in parliament at nearly 49 percent, followed by Sweden at about 45 percent. The United States is below the average at about 15 percent. Arab states have about 8 percent.

UPDATE

Space shuttle

NASA says 16 pieces of foam insulation broke off the fuel tank of the space shuttle Discovery during its launch last July, offering many chances for harming the spacecraft in the same way Columbia was doomed three years ago. It's the first time the space agency has put a number on the pieces of foam that snapped off during liftoff last year in the first flight since the Columbia disaster. Engineers had hoped to prevent any threatening loss of foam and were disappointed when it happened again.

Ports security

A judge hearing a Miami company's challenge to the takeover of a British port operator by DP World of Dubai said he would rule Thursday on whether the deal could go ahead. Justice Nicholas Warren of Britain's High Court said Tuesday he needed time to consider the arguments presented by both Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., the British port operator also known as P&O, and Eller & Co., the Miami-based cargo handler, which says fears about an Arab company operating American ports would substantially hurt its operations. The High Court must approve the $6.8-billion takeover of P&O for the deal to go ahead. The hearing, which began Monday, had been expected to provide a routine rubber stamp for the deal before Eller filed an appeal Friday.

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