- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007


Spacecraft clicks new photos of Saturn

LOS ANGELES — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has snapped never-before-seen images of Saturn showing the planet from perspectives above and below its ring system, the space agency said yesterday.

The images were taken in recent weeks by the probe, which blasted off on a mission to study the planet and its bands a decade ago.

During the last two months, the spacecraft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing its cameras with glimpses of the planet and rings that have excited scientists.

“Finally, here are the views that we’ve waited years for,” said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

The images released yesterday included a video sequence showing the rings as they appeared to Cassini while it sped from south to north, rapidly crossing the ring plane.

The spacecraft was launched Oct. 15, 1997, and entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.


2 women questioned in bank robbery

ACWORTH — Police were questioning two young women in the robbery of a supermarket bank branch that drew national attention after the sunglass-donning robbers were caught on video laughing and smiling as they held up a teller.

Two 19-year-old women and a male were stopped yesterday by police about 20 miles from where the robbery occurred about 48 hours earlier. Douglas County Sheriff Maj. M.O. Harper said police from Cobb County, where the robbery occurred, chased the trio into the neighboring county where deputies were called in to apprehend them. Maj. Harper said the three were immediately turned over to Cobb County authorities for questioning.

Maj. Harper said the two women and the male, whose age was not known, were considered suspects in the bank robbery.

Cobb County police were tight-lipped yesterday about the status of the investigation. Police also declined to release the contents of the robbers’ note and the amount of money stolen.


Tot runs onto train, returned by Samaritan

NEW YORK — In the split second that his mother let go of his hand, 22-month-old Stuart Tito scampered onto a Subway train as it pulled away.

“I looked down; he wasn’t there,” Blanca Amarilis told the Daily News in Wednesday editions. “I said, ‘Stuart,’ and a man told me he went on the train. It was so fast. I prayed to God to protect my son and let me find him again.” A mysterious Samaritan came to the rescue.

Stuart dashed onto the Manhattan-bound No. 7 as his mother wiped his baby brother’s runny nose. A woman on the train saw it happen. She scooped up Stuart, got off at the next station, went back to the previous station and spotted Stuart’s anxious-looking father, Victor Tito, 32.

“Is this your son?” she asked.

“Yes,” he responded, enveloping his son in a hug.

It seems that Stuart has yet to learn his lesson. As the family returned to the same station later in the day, he tried to make another dash for a No. 7 train as it roared in. This time, his mother’s grip remained firm.


Lawmakers repeal law barring cohabitation

BISMARCK — Couples who live together in North Dakota will no longer be considered criminals after the House agreed yesterday to repeal the law that has been on the books since statehood.

The legislation was headed to Gov. John Hoeven, who was expected to sign it, his spokesman Don Canton said.

Representatives voted 48-41 to get rid of the law that lists a man and woman living together without being married as a sex crime, along with rape, incest and adultery.

Attempts get rid of the law failed in the past two legislative sessions.

The legislation creates a new offense, making it illegal for a man and woman to pass themselves off as being married for the purpose of committing fraud. It keeps the penalty of a 30-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.


Wildfire near park burns 500 acres

KNOXVILLE — Firefighters battled high wind yesterday as a wildfire jumped a fire break and ignited several unoccupied rental cabins and up to 500 acres on a mountain near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials said.

“There have been no injuries. We have been very fortunate,” Nathan Waters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Division of Forestry, said from the fire scene on Cove Mountain, about 35 miles south of Knoxville.

About 40 firefighters and foresters from six counties fought flames pushed by winds of up to 50 mph and fueled by dead trees killed by beetles and ice storms.

“It has just been a mess,” Mr. Waters said. “The wind and the slope have been the two major factors.”

Mr. Waters estimated six of 10 unoccupied rental cabins at the top of the mountain burned. At least four families were evacuated from nearby homes.


Gunman’s parents to bury son in Bosnia

SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of a teenager who killed five persons in a shopping mall and died in a police shootout flew to their native Bosnia to bury him, still searching for a reason for the rampage.

Suljo and Sabira Talovic left Utah shortly before midnight Wednesday and were expected to arrive in Bosnia today. The body of Sulejman Talovic, 18, was on a different flight and was due in Bosnia the same day.

“It’s very, very, very difficult. It’s broken my heart,” said Mr. Talovic.

Armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, Sulejman killed five persons and wounded four Feb. 12 at Trolley Square. Police don’t know the motive, and his parents said they don’t, either.

“I need to know what happened. I need information,” Mr. Talovic said.


Erikson statue proves difficult to relocate

SEATTLE — Unwanted when it was proposed in the early 1960s, a bronze statue of Leif Erikson on the shores of Seattle’s Shilshole Bay seems to be exacting revenge.

Crews attempting to relocate the statue have been unable to budge the 17-foot-tall Viking from his pedestal. On Tuesday, workers spent eight hours drilling at the base, pounding on the concrete and tugging with the crane.

“We didn’t want to pull harder. You pull hard enough, it comes apart,” said Mike Hascall, co-owner of Artech, the company hired to move the statue to suburban Kent to be refurbished before it is relocated to a new plaza about 200 feet away.

About two dozen people came to watch workers move the statue of the Viking many think was the first European to reach America. They went home disappointed after a ceremony scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. The ceremony came off as planned on Wednesday. Kristine Leander of the Leif Erikson International Foundation said workers might be able to move the statue by yesterday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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