December 24, 2007 in Nation/World

Hundreds mourn astronaut’s mom

The Spokesman-Review

As NASA astronaut Daniel Tani orbited Earth, hundreds of mourners filled a suburban Chicago church Sunday to remember his 90-year-old mother as someone who endured hardship to raise five children and worked until age 70.

Rose Tani died Dec. 19 when her car was struck by a train. Her son, , 46, who is aboard the international space station, could not travel back for the service at his mother’s church, First Church of Lombard, and sent a video message.

Tani “has lost the person who has been his inspiration for most of his life,” said Rev. Rob Hatfield, according to a WLS-TV report posted on its Web site.

Rose Tani was remembered as a woman who braved a World War II internment camp, raised her children after her husband’s death and worked in a school cafeteria until she was 70.

NASA has said Tani is believed to be the first American astronaut to lose a close family member while in space.

A private funeral service is planned for when he returns f early next year.


Bomb threat forces emergency landing

A Southwest Airlines flight en route from Las Vegas to Connecticut made an emergency landing here after a person who missed the flight made a bomb threat, an airline spokeswoman said Sunday.

No explosives were found after the plane landed Saturday night, and the 137 passengers on Flight 1018 continued on to Hartford, Conn., after the unexpected layover of about three hours, spokeswoman Christi Day said.

Day said the passenger who missed the flight made a statement about a bag and then made a bomb threat specific to Flight 1018. Day said she didn’t know whether the threat was made to a gate agent in Las Vegas or by telephone.

The threat was made at 8:40 p.m. CST, Day said, and the plane landed in Omaha about an hour later.

Passengers were bused to a field maintenance building while security personnel using bomb-sniffing dogs searched passenger and baggage compartments. Individual pieces of luggage also were searched on the tarmac.

Passengers went through a security screening before reboarding.


Jesus statue gets theft protection

A baby Jesus statue here is getting a Global Positioning System for Christmas.

The statue, part of a nativity scene, will be equipped with the device after the previous statue went missing, even though it had been bolted down.

“I don’t anticipate this will ever happen again,” said Dina Cellini, who oversees the display, “but we may need to rely on technology to save our savior.”

The Mary and Joseph statues will also be fitted with GPS devices, she said.

The devices are being bought using residents’ contributions and Cellini’s own money.

Cellini has also installed a Plexiglas screen in front of the display.

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