washingtonpost.com  > Nation > Special Reports > Science > Space Exploration > Space Station

NATION IN BRIEF

Saturday, September 4, 2004; Page A05

Spacewalking Astronauts Replace Equipment on Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL -- Leaving their orbiting outpost unmanned, the international space station's two astronauts floated outside on a spacewalk Friday to plug in new antennas and replace a worn-out piece of cooling equipment.

Gennady Padalka and Mike Fincke popped open the hatch on the Russian side of the spacecraft and quickly stepped through the fourth and final spacewalk of their six-month mission.

_____Special Reports_____
International Space Station
Space Exploration

During the outing, flight controllers hoped to better understand the mysterious force that tilted the space station 80 degrees off center during the men's last spacewalk, one month ago. Engineers suspect the extra force could have come from air gushing out when the hatch was opened, or from the spacesuits themselves. To test those theories, mission control had Padalka and Fincke remain as still as possible for 15 minutes.

NEW YORK -- Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, a bond-trading firm that lost most of its workers in the World Trade Center attack, sued Saudi Arabia for allegedly supporting al Qaeda before Sept. 11, 2001. The company, in a lawsuit seeking $7 billion, also named dozens of others, including banks and Islamic charities, in a bid to hold them accountable for its losses in the terrorist attack. Saudi Arabia last month began a radio ad campaign citing the Sept. 11 commission's conclusion that its government did not fund al Qaeda as proof that it has been a loyal ally in the fight against terrorism.

• ProHeart 6, a twice-a-year time-released heartworm medication used to prevent the parasite in millions of dogs, was recalled at the request of the Food and Drug Administration after reports that more than 5,500 dogs had adverse reactions from the injection, including sudden lethargy, uncontrolled bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea, heart and liver problems, and seizures. The FDA said 500 dogs died but that not all deaths could be attributed to the drug, made by Fort Dodge Animal Health, a subsidiary of Wyeth.

SEATTLE -- National Guard Spec. Ryan Anderson, 27, was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction on charges he tried to aid al Qaeda by detailing ways to destroy U.S. weapons and kill soldiers to undercover agents, the Army said. Anderson, a convert to Islam, was convicted of passing on diagrams of tanks and their vulnerabilities to undercover agents posing as al Qaeda operatives.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A Marine reservist who tearfully asked to remain in the Marine Corps after being convicted of abusing inmates in Iraq was sentenced to 60 days of hard labor and demoted to the rank of private. Sgt. Gary Pittman, 40, had no reaction as the sentencing decision was read. "This was about as light a punishment as they could give," said Pittman's civilian attorney, John Tranberg. "This was a tremendous outcome."

OXFORD, Ala. -- A fugitive ex-convict killed a couple working at a convenience store and then kidnapped the woman's 14-year-old daughter and was holding her hostage at a motel, authorities said. Walter George Honea Jr., 34, was wanted on a rape charge before the bodies of Michelle Davis, 34, and Joshua Benjamin Davis, 24, were found in a Sparkle Mart in Anniston. Video from a surveillance camera showed the gunman abducting the girl, Jordan Nichole Todaro, who had been sweeping the floor, police said.

• Amtrak will stop shipping U.S. mail next month to concentrate on its core passenger network, eliminating about 300 jobs and millions of dollars in annual costs, the railroad said. Amtrak said the business yielded marginal returns and slowed service on passenger routes because extra cars and more stops were required.

LOUISVILLE -- The trial of a former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1970s ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked. Jurors deliberated for five hours in the case of Bruce Ewing, who was charged with rape and sodomy.

-- From News Services


© 2004 The Washington Post Company