American Scene

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UTAH

Hundreds laid off with space program in doubt

SALT LAKE CITY | ATK Aerospace Systems is laying off hundreds of employees in Utah because of uncertainty over the direction of the U.S. space program.

A spokesman for ATK Aerospace said the division of Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. dismissed 414 engineers, factory workers and other employees at three northern Utah locations Thursday.

Spokesman George Torres said some of the layoffs are a result of the phase-out of the space shuttle program. ATK makes shuttle boosters in Utah, but the bulk of the layoffs are happening as President Obama and Congress cut back the scope of a successor space program.

TEXAS

U.S. man is shot in Mexican waters

SAN ANTONIO | An American tourist was shot in the back of the head in Mexican waters on Thursday after being ambushed by armed boaters, a Texas sheriff said. It happened near the U.S. boundary of a lake where run-ins with pirates already had fishermen and Texas officials on alert.

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said a 30-year-old man and his wife were riding personal watercrafts back from Mexico when about six gunmen approached in two boats. Sheriff Gonzalez said the man was shot as the couple sped away at the sight of the boaters.

What happened to the man was unclear. Sheriff Gonzalez said the man’s wife tried circling back to get him, but retreated back to U.S. waters after being fired upon again.

Sheriff Gonzalez said he has contacted the Mexican consulate and asked them to look for the man. He said there was nothing else he could do.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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