Yo, Adrian! Rocky statuewill return to famed spot
PHILADELPHIA -- Sylvester Stallone, above, on the left, portraying movie character "Rocky;" and Tommy Morrison, as boxer "Tommy Gunn," re-enact a scene from "Rocky V" under a statue of Stallone on the Philadelphia Museum of Art's steps in this Jan. 27, 1990, file photo. The city's Art Commission approved a plan Wednesday to return the statue -- currently stored in a warehouse -- of the big-screen boxer to a site near the steps of the museum. The steps were the setting for one of the most famous scenes in Stallone's 1976 movie "Rocky" and have been a big tourist attraction ever since, with visitors to Philadelphia imitating the Italian Stallion's sweat-suited dash to the top. The 8-foot-6 Rocky is expected to be on his granite pedestal in time for a dedication ceremony Friday.
NASA debates dateto launch Atlantis
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- An electrical problem forced NASA to postpone Wednesday's liftoff of the space shuttle Atlantis yet again, and engineers faced with a tight launch schedule struggled to understand the problem. About 11 hours before the scheduled midday launch, engineers discovered that a coolant pump that chills one of the shuttle's three electricity-generating fuel cells was giving an erratic reading. NASA rules say all three fuel cells must be working to launch, and if one fails in orbit, the shuttle must come home promptly. NASA officials met for hours during the afternoon to figure out whether they could fix the problem, whether they could safely ignore it, or whether they would have to put the flight on hold for perhaps weeks.
'Intersex fish' raisepollution questions
WASHINGTON -- Scientists say abnormal "intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries across the Capitol Region, raising questions about how contaminants are affecting millions of people who drink tap water there. "I don't know, and I don't think anybody knows, the answer to that question right now: Is the effect in the fish transferable to humans?" said Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, which filters river water for residents to drink in the District of Columbia, Arlington, Va., and Falls Church, Va. So far, there is no evidence that tap water from the Potomac is unsafe to drink, according to Jacobus and officials at other area utilities. Humans should be less susceptible to pollutants than fish because of their larger bodies and different hormone systems.
Tropical Storm Florencegains power in Atlantic
MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Florence gained strength in the open Atlantic on Wednesday and could become a hurricane by the weekend, but forecasters said it was too soon to tell whether it would reach the United States. Florence had sustained wind near 50 mph Wednesday, over the 39 mph threshold for a tropical storm. National Hurricane Center forecasters said it could strengthen into a hurricane, with winds of at least 74 mph, as early as today. Florence's center was about 1,240 miles southeast of Bermuda on Wednesday.
Senate probe findslax Sept. 11 aid rules
WASHINGTON -- The government failed to ensure that recipients of terrorism-recovery loans were actually hurt by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, allowing banks to spread more than $3.7 billion in aid to whomever they wanted, Senate investigators concluded Wednesday. The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee sharply criticized the Bush administration's primary terrorism relief loan program, saying it was so loosely managed that "conceivably every small business in the country became eligible to participate." The findings substantiate an Associated Press investigation last year that found government-backed Sept. 11 recovery loans went to small companies that weren't hurt by the attacks and didn't even know they were getting help designated for terror victims.
Associated Press
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