Rocket Plane Designers

Receive $10 Million

ST. LOUIS -- The designers of the first privately manned rocket to burst into space received a $10 million check Saturday, a prize designed to encourage technology that will open the heavens to tourists.

SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan accepted the Ansari X Prize money along with a 150-pound trophy as a chase plane flew over the ceremony in a field adjacent to the St. Louis Science Center.

The rocket plane, financed with more than $20 million from Microsoft Corp. billionaire Paul Allen, qualified for the prize by blasting into space twice in five days -- Sept. 29 and Oct. 4.

The X Prize, offered to the first team to get into space twice in a 14-day span, will evolve into a regular competition called the X Prize Cup. Founder Peter Diamandis said the purpose of the Cup competition is to keep such groups going with a "Grand Prix of space."

* BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The state medical quality board accused physician Gary McCallum of giving outdated flu vaccine to 55 patients and charged him with unprofessional conduct, specifically fraud and misrepresentation. McCallum told patients the vaccine, purchased last year in Canada, was good for the current flu season even though its expiration date was in July, the state Health Department said.

* MILWAUKEE -- Wildlife researchers leading a flock of young whooping cranes south for the winter warned people to stay out of their way after an apparently curious ultralight pilot disturbed the endangered birds by following them too closely. A team of pilots is leading 14 whooping cranes from Wisconsin to central Florida, using an ultralight plane and wearing crane-like costumes to minimize the birds' contact with humans.

* RALEIGH, N.C. -- An apparent mob of vandals attacked the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, causing minor smoke damage, breaking windows and leaving vulgar messages and burned effigies of President Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry, police said. Three people were arrested after an officer spotted 100 people in masks and gloves walking near the headquarters as a second group trashed the offices.

* SEATTLE -- A lava formation inside Mount St. Helens' crater has a new, glowing protrusion the size of a 30-story building. The protrusion, which glows red at night, has risen by 330 feet in the past nine days, pushed up by magma, or molten rock, within the volcano, scientists said Friday. Temperatures on the new protrusion of dacite -- a sticky, viscous volcanic rock -- can spike as high as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

* POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. -- A physician whose home was searched last summer in an investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife and stepdaughter. Kenneth Berry, who has not been charged in the anthrax attacks, was sentenced Friday to two years probation and fined $1,000 by Municipal Judge James A. Liguori. Berry was arrested after a domestic dispute at a hotel where the family was taken during a search of his parents' home on Aug. 5, 2003.

-- From News Services