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Old satellite to fall to Earth on Friday

LOS ANGELES — While North America appears to be off the hook, scientists are scrambling to pinpoint exactly where and when a dead NASA climate satellite will plummet back to Earth on Friday.

The 6-ton, bus-sized satellite is expected to break into more than 100 pieces as it plunges through the atmosphere, most of it burning up.

If you’re hoping for a glimpse, the odds are slim. Most sightings occur by chance because the re-entry path can’t be predicted early enough to alert people, said Canadian Ted Molczan, who tracks satellites for a hobby.

The best guess was that the 20-year-old Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite would hit sometime Friday afternoon Eastern time. The latest calculations Thursday indicated it would not be over the United States, Canada or Mexico during that time.


Hilton denies IG report of $16 muffins

The government did not pay $16 apiece for breakfast muffins at a Justice Department conference, no matter what the department’s inspector general thinks, according to Hilton Worldwide, which hosted the 2009 legal training conference in Washington.

Hilton Worldwide said the report misinterpreted its invoices, which often use shorthand and don’t reflect the full menu and service provided. The IG’s audit of spending at 10 Justice Department conferences referenced the $16 muffins a half-dozen times and said their cost was one of many food items that “appeared extravagant and potentially wasteful.”

Not so, Hilton Worldwide said in a statement Thursday.

“In Washington, the contracted breakfast included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, muffins, tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of $16 per person,” Hilton Worldwide said in a statement. “Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided, as is the case with recent media reports of breakfast items approved for some government meetings.”


Olympian kicked off state Senate ballot

TRENTON — The political career of nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has been declared a false start.

A federal appeals panel ruled Thursday that he should be removed from a state Senate ballot because he does not meet New Jersey’s four-year residency requirement. Mr. Lewis’ attorney said he has not decided whether to appeal, but time is running short: Ballots are about to go to the printer for an election less than seven weeks away.

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