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Mars rover mission delayed until 2011

The launch of NASA’s SUV-sized, next-generation Mars rover has been delayed two years because of continuing technical problems and cost overruns, the space agency announced Thursday.

Originally set to launch late next year, the mission now is scheduled to take place in 2011, officials said at a news briefing at National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters.

“We ran out of time,” said Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., where the rover is being built.

The new rover, known as the Mars Science Laboratory, is one of the most challenging projects NASA has ever undertaken.

The delay will increase the cost of the mission by about $400 million, from about $1.9 billion to almost $2.3 billion.

Springfield, Mass.

Three men indicted in child’s Uzi death

Three men, including a small-town police chief, were indicted Thursday on involuntary manslaughter counts in the gun-fair death of an 8-year-old who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi that a prosecutor said he never should have been allowed to handle.

The club where the fair was held also was charged. The fair had promised shooters would have certified instructors in an advertisement, but District Attorney William Bennett said the child, Christopher Bizilj, was supervised by an uncertified 15-year-old boy.

Bizilj, of Ashford, Conn., lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin Oct. 26 at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club in western Massachusetts.

Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury was charged because he owns the sponsor of the gun fair, COP Firearms & Training. Two men who brought the automatic weapon to the show, Carl Guiffre of Hartford, Conn., and Domenico Spano, of New Milford, Conn., also were indicted.


Hutchison weighing run for governor

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Thursday took the first step toward a run for governor, setting the stage for a contentious challenge in 2010 against fellow Republican Rick Perry, the longest-serving leader in state history.

Wasting no time, she cited Perry, who succeeded George W. Bush in December 2000 and won four-year terms in 2002 and 2006, as a chief reason for “too much bitterness, too much anger, too little trust, too little consensus and too much infighting” in Austin, the capital. “The tone comes from the top,” she said in a statement. “Texans are looking for leadership and results.”

Quickly responding, a Perry spokesman called the senator “Kay Bailout” – a reference to her vote for the $700 billion Wall Street rescue – and said she “has been talking about running for governor and passing legislation for years and neither has ever happened.”

“Today she continues her streak of indecision,” Mark Miner said.

Hutchison is establishing a committee to explore a possible run and is transferring $1 million into it from her federal campaign account, which had about $8.7 million at the end of September.

From wire reports


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Trump administration pulls U.S. out of UN human rights council

UPDATED: 7:23 p.m.

The United States announced Tuesday it was leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Ambassador Nikki Haley calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” It was the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution.