China probe makes soft lunar landing


China probe makes soft lunar landing

BEIJING

China on Saturday successfully carried out the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades, state media said, the next stage in an ambitious space program that aims to eventually put a Chinese astronaut on the moon.

The unmanned Chang’e 3 lander, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, touched down on Earth’s nearest neighbor after a 12-minute landing process.

The probe carried a six-wheeled moon rover called “Yutu,” or “Jade Rabbit,” the goddess’s pet. After landing Saturday evening on a fairly flat, Earth-facing part of the moon, the rover was slated to separate from the Chang’e eight hours later and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

Vaccine possible in meningitis outbreak

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.

State and federal officials are considering whether to provide students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with an unlicensed vaccine to prevent further spread of a bacterial meningitis outbreak on campus, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Government health officials and the university are working together to determine whether the vaccine Bexsero would be effective against the type of meningitis that sickened four students in November, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The move comes after Princeton University received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to give Bexsero to students and others deemed to be at risk on its campus. Eight students at the New Jersey school fell ill after infection with a similar, but not identical, strain of the bacterium that sickened the California students.

40,000 flee flooding

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Flooding from heavy rains forced some 40,000 Gaza Strip residents from their homes, including thousands who were taken to safety in boats and military trucks, officials said Saturday.

The downpour that began late Wednesday was part of a storm that covered parts of Israel and the West Bank with snow, paralyzed Jerusalem and left thousands in Israel without power. Israeli TV stations showed footage of armored personnel carriers rescuing motorists and said it was the most severe snowstorm in decades.

Teacher disciplined; said, ‘Santa’s white’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

A New Mexico high school teacher has been disciplined after a parent says the man told his black son that Santa Claus is white.

Officials at the school in Rio Rancho, about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, said Saturday that the teacher recently was disciplined for his comments to the student, but they declined to say how.

The move came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

Michael Rougier told KOB-TV his ninth-grade son, Christopher, arrived wearing a Santa hat and beard, and the teacher asked the boy: “Don’t you know Santa Claus is white? Why are you wearing that?”

The teacher’s name was not released.

Voters defeat recall for gun changes

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Voters in a small Rhode Island town defeated an effort by gun-rights activists Saturday to recall four sitting town councilors who had proposed changing the way gun permits are issued.

The rare recall election was prompted by gun-rights supporters who said the four Exeter council members ignored their objections to a failed proposal to allow the attorney general to oversee the town’s concealed-weapons permits.

Associated Press

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