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Engineers compete in race for space

By Wire services
Published September 27, 2003

WASHINGTON - In a race to achieve the first privately funded manned spaceflight, two teams of rocket engineers are poised to compete for the $10-million X Prize by launching people to the edge of space and bringing them back twice within a two-week period.

Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation ( said he expects that one of the two teams will launch within the next few months, using rockets and spacecraft that are already being tested and prepared for the daring venture.

The teams are Scaled Composites, led by aviation maverick Burt Rutan, and Armadillo Aerospace, a Dallas group headed by John Carmack, a computer game designer who made a fortune on Doom and Quake.

There are 23 other registered groups from seven countries competing for the cash prize. There are teams from Russia, United Kingdom, Romania, Israel, Argentina and two from Canada. The rest are in the United States.

Ore. woman pleads guilty in Portland terror case

PORTLAND, Ore. - A retirement home nursing assistant, one of seven Portland-area residents charged with conspiring to help al-Qaida and the Taliban fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty Friday to money laundering.

October Lewis, 26, will serve three years in federal prison under a deal that spared her a possible life sentence if convicted on conspiracy charges. She agreed to testify against her former husband and another man.

Prosecutors said Lewis' role in the conspiracy was to wire several hundred dollars to her husband.

Attorney General John Ashcroft called the arrest of four of the suspects, including Lewis, last October "a defining day" in the war on terrorism.

Former priest Geoghan's sex conviction vacated

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the child molestation conviction of former priest John Geoghan, who was killed in prison while his appeal was pending.

The ruling is customary under Massachusetts law when convicts die mid appeal and attorneys seek to have their convictions voided, but it still disappointed Geoghan's victims.

Geoghan's case triggered the sex scandal in the nation's Roman Catholic Church. He had been serving a nine- to 10-year sentence for groping a 10-year-old boy and was accused of molesting nearly 150 boys over three decades.

Also ...

CONGRESSMAN PLEADS INNOCENT TO MANSLAUGHTER: Four days after saying he "couldn't be sorrier" for an Aug. 16 traffic collision that killed a motorcyclist, Rep. Bill Janklow, R-S.D., pleaded innocent Friday to manslaughter. Authorities allege Janklow was driving a Cadillac 71 mph in a 55 mph zone and had just run a stop sign at a rural intersection near Trent, S.D., when he collided with the Harley-Davidson, killing 55-year-old Randy Scott. Trial is set for Dec. 1.

STUDENT CHARGED WITH MURDER: A 15-year-old boy charged with murder Friday in the death of one of two students shot at a Minnesota high school was described by his attorney as "overwhelmed" by the events. John Jason McLaughlin, a freshman, was charged as a juvenile in the shootings at Rocori High School in Cold Spring. Senior Aaron Rollins died in the attack on Wednesday. Freshman Seth Bartell, 14, remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.

2ND JUVENILE ARRESTED IN COMPUTER ATTACK: Investigators have arrested a juvenile in connection with the release of a variant of the "Blaster" computer worm, which crippled thousands of computers worldwide last month. It was the second arrest stemming from the release of variants of the worm, but detectives have yet to determine who created the main version. Prosecutors refused to release any information about the suspect, not even the youth's gender or home state. They cited confidentiality rules protecting juveniles accused of crimes.

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