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Dozens of Russians were on hand for the launch, as were about 150 Twittering guests. It’s the second time NASA has staged a tweet-up at the launch site; the first was late last year.


‘Annie’ comic strip ends after 85 years

CHICAGO — The iconic redheaded orphan Annie is ending her time on newspaper comics pages after 85 years.

Tribune Media Services announced Thursday that it will cease syndication of the “Annie” strip on June 13.

The company said in a news release it is taking Annie into the Internet age by pursuing new audiences for her in digital media.

The comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” made its newspaper debut on August 5, 1924, first written and illustrated by creator Harold Gray. The strip later was renamed simply “Annie.” The spunky orphan was adopted by Daddy Warbucks and later joined by her lovable dog Sandy.

Annie is known for wearing a red dress with white collar and cuffs. Over decades she has become the center of a radio program, Broadway musical and movies.


13 suffer injuries in train derailment

MEBANE — A commuter train with 36 passengers on board has derailed in North Carolina, injuring at least 13 people and setting the locomotive and a train car on fire.

Authorities say the train struck a trailer at a crossing shortly after 8 a.m. The train, which runs daily between Charlotte and Raleigh, is operated by Amtrak and owned by the state.

The accident is expected to disrupt long-distance service between Charlotte and New York through Friday. Passengers are being bused around the accident scene.

Amtrak said in a news release that 12 passengers and one crew member were injured and taken to hospitals.

A spokeswoman for the N.C. Rail Division said the crossing in the town of Mebane has a gate with flashing lights that was working at the time of the derailment.

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