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Space station has first female leader

Sat., Oct. 13, 2007

An American astronaut climbed aboard the International Space Station on Friday for a stint as its first female commander after a two-day trip from Earth.

Peggy Whitson, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Malaysian physician Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor scooted through hatches linking the station with the Soyuz TMA-11 craft they rode into orbit from Russia’s launch facility in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz docked on schedule at 7:50 a.m. PDT. Whitson and her crewmates clambered through the hatches about 90 minutes later.

Whitson, a 47-year-old biochemist from Beaconsfield, Iowa, will formally assume command of the space station Oct. 19.

Istanbul, Turkey

Erdogan prepared for U.S. backlash

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that he is prepared for a rupture in relations with the United States if his government launches an incursion into northern Iraq in search of Kurdish rebels.

“If such an option is chosen, whatever its price, it will be paid,” Erdogan said to reporters Friday after meeting with party leaders. “There could be pros and cons of such a decision, but what is important is our country’s interests.”

Erdogan criticized the United States for warning against a Turkish attack in one of the few relatively stable regions of Iraq.

“Did they seek permission from anyone when they came from a distance of 10,000 kilometers and hit Iraq?” Erdogan asked. “We do not need anyone else’s advice.”

U.S.-Turkish tensions over separatists rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have been exacerbated by a congressional committee’s approval Wednesday of a resolution labeling the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago genocide.


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