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Family begs Iran to release man held for 555 days

Family urges Iran to free American

The Michigan family of a former U.S. Marine detained in Iran on espionage charges is begging for his freedom a year after his death sentence was overturned. Sarah Hekmati told the Associated Press on Tuesday that her family sent a letter to Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling for the release of her brother, Amir, 29. She said the family recently learned he went on a monthlong hunger strike and was found unconscious. Iran's Supreme Court ordered a retrial for him last March, but that hasn't happened, and he's now been detained for 555 days. His family said he went to Iran in 2011 to visit his grandmothers.

Superbugs are growing threat

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that dangerous superbugs at hospitals are on the rise. In the first six months of last year, nearly 200 U.S. hospitals — about 4 percent — saw at least one case, the CDC said. The superbugs from a common bacteria group have become extremely resistant to treatment with antibiotics. Only 10 years ago, such resistance was hardly ever seen in this group.

Comet moving closer to Earth

A recently discovered comet is closer than it has ever been to Earth. Called Pan-STARRS, the comet passed within 100 million miles of Earth on Tuesday. The best viewing days for Northern Hemisphere stargazers should be next Tuesday and Wednesday, when Pan-STARRS appears next to a crescent moon at dusk in the western sky. California astronomer Tony Phillips said binoculars likely will be needed for the best viewing in the darkening twilight.

Associated Press