- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 2, 2006


Tweak keeps missionto moon on track

BERLIN — Europe’s first mission to the moon got a scare, but ground controllers made a last-minute course correction yesterday that kept the craft from hitting the surface earlier than planned.

Mission officials said they raised the low point of the SMART-1 spacecraft about 2,000 feet by using its positioning thrusters to avoid the almost mile-high rim of a moon crater before today’s planned touchdown. Without the correction, it would have crashed one orbit too soon, making the impact difficult or impossible to observe.


EU ministers clear wayfor broad Russia talks

LAPPEENRANTA — The European Union expects to be able to begin wide-ranging negotiations with Russia on a new cooperation agreement covering energy, trade and human rights after a summit with Russia in November, the Finnish EU presidency said yesterday.

EU foreign ministers, meeting in a Finnish town close to the Russian border, welcomed a draft negotiating outline for the enhanced pact, intended to replace a cooperation agreement due to expire at the end of next year.


U.S. veteran’s familyreturns documents

WARSAW — Parchment documents and envelopes dating from the Middle Ages and penned by popes and Polish royalty have come home more than 60 years after they were taken to the United States by an American soldier, officials from Poland’s national archives said last week.

The documents had been plucked out of the mud near a burning train in 1945 by American soldier George Gavin, who took them back to Milwaukee as a souvenir. When Mr. Gavin died in 2003, his son decided to return them to the archives in the western Polish city of Wroclaw.

Among the parchments is Pope Gregory IX’s papal bull, which dates from 1231 and outlines privileges and restrictions for university students.

Weekly Notes

With Sweden’s general election 14 days away, Prime Minister Goran Persson’s Social Democratic coalition is neck-and-neck with the center-right opposition, a poll published yesterday showed. The four-party opposition alliance, headed by the leader of the conservative Moderate Party, Fredrik Reinfeldt, would garner 48.1 percent of the vote compared to 47.4 percent for the Social Democrats and their leftist allies, according to the daily Svenska Dagbladet. … Queen Elizabeth II was unable to comprehend British public grief at Princess Diana’s death in 1997, but was finally convinced to cast aside stiff royal protocol by Prime Minister Tony Blair, a new film suggests. Stephen Frears’ “The Queen” was screened at the Venice Film Festival yesterday, where it is the main British entry in the competition. … Greek police said a clandestine left-wing extremist group yesterday claimed responsibility for planting an explosive in the port of Piraeus, near Athens, which was intercepted by police. An unknown person representing the Revolutionary Brigade claimed responsibility on two television stations for the bomb, which was intended to protest the recent death of a sailor in a work accident on a Greek ferry.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.



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