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Christmas delivery finally for space station
Written by MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 07:29

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Christmas has finally arrived for the six space station astronauts.

A privately launched supply ship arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday morning, three days after blasting off from Virginia. The space station crew used a hefty robot arm to capture the Cygnus capsule.

The Cygnus is carrying 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments, including ants for an educational project. Also on board: eagerly awaited Christmas presents for all six spacemen.

Orbital Sciences Corp. was supposed to make the delivery last month, well before Christmas. But the Virginia company had to wait a month. A space station breakdown in mid-December took priority, and NASA bumped the flight to January. Then frigid weather at the launch site forced a delay. Then a strong solar storm interfered.


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Night fire destroys ancient Tibetan town in China
Written by DIDI TANG, Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:32

BEIJING (AP) — A fire that raged for nearly 10 hours Saturday razed an ancient Tibetan town in southwest China that's popular with tourists, burning down hundreds of buildings as fire engines were unable to get onto the narrow streets, state media and witnesses said.

There was no immediate report of casualties, and the cause of the fire was unclear. State media, citing local authorities, said the blaze started in a guesthouse and was ruled accidental.

The fire broke out at 1:27 a.m. in the ancient Tibetan quarter of Dukezong, which dates back more than 1,000 years and is known for its preserved cobbled streets, ancient structures and Tibetan culture. It is part of scenic Shangri-La county in Deqen prefecture.

Once called Gyaitang Zong, the county in 2001 renamed itself Shangri-La, hoping to draw tourists by the reference to the mythical Himalayan land described in James Hilton's 1933 novel. Like hundreds of Chinese cities and counties, Shangri-La renovated its old neighborhood, Dukezong, turning it into a tourist attraction filled with shops and guesthouses.

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Mom a suspect in case of missing Memphis girl
Written by ADRIAN SAINZ, Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:04

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Police have named as a suspect the mother of a 7-week-old girl who went missing from her home under suspicious circumstances in northeast Memphis.

Aniston Walker was reported missing Thursday morning, and ever since, police have been using cadaver dogs to search homes, backyards and a pond in the neighborhood where she lived with her mother and two siblings. Friday's search proved fruitless, and police were resuming the search on Saturday.

According to police, her mother, 33-year-old Andrea Walker, said she left the baby at home with her 3-year-old son while she took her 5-year-old son to school Thursday. When she returned, the baby was gone, but the 3-year-old was still in the house.

Walker said the doors were locked when she arrived at home and there was no sign of a break in, according to a police affidavit. She told police only two other people had the key, an affidavit from police said.

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Former Reagan spokesman Larry Speakes dies at 74
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:05

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Larry Speakes, who spent six years as acting press secretary for President Ronald Reagan, died Friday in his native Mississippi. He was 74.

Speakes died at home in Cleveland, Miss., where he had lived the past several years, said Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown. Brown said Speakes had Alzheimer's disease.

"He died in his sleep and it was a natural death," Brown said.

Speakes was buried in North Cleveland Cemetery during a private service Friday morning, a few hours after dying, said Kenny Williams of Cleveland Funeral Home.

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300,000 wait for tap water in West Virginia
Written by JOHN RABY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:03

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A company president apologized to West Virginia residents for a chemical leak that got into a public water treatment system, and a state agency ordered Freedom Industries to remove its remaining chemicals from the site.

About 300,000 people in nine counties entered their third day Saturday without being able to drink, bathe in, or wash dishes or clothes with their tap water. The only allowed use of the water was for flushing toilets.

Officials remain unclear when it might be safe again.

Federal authorities, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, began investigating how the foaming agent escaped from the Freedom Industries plant and seeped into the Elk River. Just how much of the chemical leaked into the river was not yet known.

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