Rocket goes awry;satellites feared lost
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A rocket carrying a NASA satellite and a commercial imaging satellite failed to launch properly Friday, and the satellites were believed to have plunged into the Indian Ocean, officials said.
The Taurus rocket, which also carried capsules of human ashes, skewed around the time of first-stage separation, then appeared to right itself.
But it was strongly believed that the rocket never reached orbit, and likely was lost in the ocean northeast of Madagascar, officials said.
The rocket maker, Orbital Sciences Corp., planned to investigate the cause of the failure, said NASA spokesman Ed Campion, spokesman for Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
NASA lost its ozone-monitoring satellite at a cost of $50 million, including $11 million for its share of the launch. The commercial satellite was owned by Orbital Imaging Corp.
Flight managers believe the failure was associated with the staging process and that they received enough data from the rocket to be able to pinpoint the cause, Campion said.
Federal officer shotin Detroit FBI building
DETROIT -- A man carrying a handgun in a paper bag fatally shot a federal officer at a security checkpoint Friday when he was told he could not take the gun into the building housing the FBI, authorities said.
The gunman then was shot and wounded, FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney said. His condition was not immediately known.
The man entered the lobby of the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building and put the bag on a counter by the metal detector, Clenney said. After his request to take the gun inside was refused, he reached in the bag and fired, she said.
The agent was taken by ambulance to Detroit Receiving Hospital.
A second man, apparently the shooting suspect, was taken out of the building on a stretcher with his neck in a brace and a pile of bandages on his abdomen.
An ambulance left under police escort to an undisclosed hospital. The building was evacuated and the area was cordoned off.
The slain officer, 36, joined Federal Protective Services in 1998, said David Wilkinson, spokesman for the General Services Administration. Previously, he was a military policeman with the Marines and a police officer with the Department of Veteran's Affairs, Wilkinson said. Authorities did not release the officer's name.
Tests confirm caseof mad cow disease
TOKYO -- A test has shown that a Japanese animal slaughtered in August carried the mad cow disease, the Ministry of Agriculture said today, confirming the first known case of the deadly brain-wasting illness in Asia.
The Japanese government had announced last week that the 5-year-old dairy cow in central Japan might have suffered from the sickness and sent a tissue sample to experts in Britain for a conclusive diagnosis. The results came back late Friday, the ministry said.
Officials do not know how the cow contracted the disease, but investigators are focusing on animal feed as the likely cause, said Kazuki Ikeda, an official at the ministry's animal health division.
Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is believed to spread by recycling meat and bones from infected animals back into cattle feed. The illness, which has ravaged Europe's cattle industry, is thought to cause the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob sickness in humans who eat infected meat.
The Ministry of Agriculture was considering a recommendation by a task force of experts to swiftly prohibit imports of feed containing meat and bone, said Ikeda.
Pope's trip still on
VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II, who begins a weeklong trip to Armenia and Kazakstan this weekend, decided Friday to leave his secretary of state behind to monitor events after terrorist attacks in the United States.
This way, Cardinal Angelo Sodano "can stay in contact with the authorities of diverse countries, and also transmit their thoughts to the Holy Father," said a statement late Friday from Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
It was believed to be the first time John Paul has asked Sodano to stay at the Vatican during one of the pontiff's many foreign trips.
The frail, 81-year-old pope has insisted on going ahead with the trip, despite security concerns in the wake of last week's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
He is scheduled to leave Rome today, and Navarro-Valls said the climate surrounding the visit was serene.