Russian rocket crashes moments after liftoff
An unmanned rocket carrying Russian satellites veered off course and crashed a few seconds after liftoff early Tuesday, sending a cloud of highly toxic orange fumes toward the Kazakh city of Baikonur only 50 miles away. Fears that the toxic cloud would waft into Baikonur were eased later in the day, however, after heavy rains dispersed the fumes. The Proton-M rocket rose just above its launching tower at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, wobbled and then tipped over into the desert in a ball of fire. The short flight Tuesday was the fourth Proton failure in three years, and it was sure to raise safety questions among NASA officials and Western commercial clients of Russia’s space services.
Israel forces kill Palestinian protester
Israeli security forces fatally shot a 19-year-old Palestinian during clashes early Tuesday in the southern West Bank town of Dura, according to Palestinian officials, raising tensions in the volatile area. The dead man was identified as Muataz Idris Sharawneh, a student at a Palestinian Authority security academy in Jericho. A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said the Israeli forces were carrying out a routine overnight operation in the town southwest of Hebron when clashes broke out. She said that a group of Palestinians hurled rocks at the soldiers and that, according to initial evidence, a few of them began to climb on one of the military vehicles. After the Palestinians ignored warnings to retreat and were undeterred by riot dispersal means, she said, soldiers fired at one of them.
Search continues for Sen. Udall’s brother
Helicopters and ground crews searched again Tuesday in Wyoming’s Wind River Range for the brother of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall. James “Randy” Udall did not return from a solo backpacking trip last week. Searchers on Tuesday were looking for signs of the 61-year-old over the same 225 square mile area they’ve been searching since Friday. Udall is an alternative energy advocate and environmentalist from Carbondale, Colo. He’s an experienced backpacker who has hiked the Wind River many times over the past 30 years.
Sentencing set for Jesse Jackson Jr., wife
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman in Washington, D.C., has set a new sentencing date for former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife. for Aug. 14. Jackson pleaded guilty this year to spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items, including mounted elk heads and a gold-plated Rolex watch. His wife, former Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson, pleaded guilty to filing false joint tax returns. They had been scheduled for sentencing Wednesday. Jackson resigned his office in November. Jackson faces five years in prison and he also must repay the $750,000 and could face other financial penalties.
Trooper gives pass to governor’s driver
A trooper pursued an SUV that was speeding on a highway at 90 mph with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad inside, but declined to pull the driver over after realizing who was inside, audio recordings released Tuesday indicate. The recordings capture dispatchers laughing about the April incident afterward. But the veteran investigator who initiated the pursuit, Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund, was put on administrative leave days later after complaining internally that the trooper who was driving the governor was given a pass, said his attorney, Tom Duff. Dash camera video shows the unidentified trooper zip in and out of traffic to catch up to the governor’s vehicle ending the pursuit after realizing who was inside the SUV.