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Nation in brief

Mild quake hits Southern California

By wire services
Published April 17, 2005

MARICOPA, Calif. - A magnitude-5.1 earthquake struck in Southern California on Saturday and could be felt dozens of miles away in downtown Los Angeles, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck at 12:18 p.m. and was centered about 13 miles east of Maricopa and 25 miles south-southwest of Bakersfield, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Maricopa is about 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, a Kern County Sheriff's Department supervisor said. A spokesman for the Los Angeles city fire department said he received no damage reports.

Fuel problem ends NASA test craft mission

LOS ANGELES - A NASA robotic spacecraft located a Pentagon satellite in space without any help from human controllers, but the mission ended early when the computer-driven craft detected a fuel problem, the mission manager said Saturday.

The experimental DART spacecraft - short for Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology - had moved to within 300 feet of the satellite orbiting 472 miles above the Earth but ended its approach late Friday, about 11 hours into the mission, manager Jim Snoddy said.

The 800-pound spacecraft was supposed to maneuver around the satellite, getting as close as 15 feet, for another 12 hours before disintegrating in orbit.

There were some navigation errors but no indication of a fuel leak, Snoddy said. A NASA investigation board will search for the cause of the problem.

The $110-million mission was intended to help lay the groundwork for future projects like robotic delivery of cargo to space shuttles and automated docking and repair between spacecraft in orbit.

W.Va. governor vetoes English-language bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin vetoed a bill Saturday that would have made English the state's official language - not because he didn't like the idea, but because the legislation had a technical flaw.

Manchin cited the state Constitution, which limits legislation to one topic. The original bill, on increasing the size of local park and recreation boards, was amended during the final hours of the regular legislative session.

Twenty-seven states have adopted English as their official language, according to U.S. English Inc., an advocacy group.

Gunman shoots, wounds man outside TV station

DETROIT - A former employee of television station WDIV was in critical condition Saturday after being shot in the station's entryway by a man who police say had assaulted employees there before.

John Owens, 53, was at Detroit Receiving Hospital after being shot in the upper torso Friday.

The gunman was expected to be arraigned today on charges of assault with intent to murder, said a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. She did not identify the suspect.

Police said the gunman entered an outer set of doors Friday afternoon, but a receptionist refused to let him through an inner set because she recognized him as someone who had allegedly assaulted employees in the past. She was calling security when he fired the gun.

[Last modified April 17, 2005, 00:26:13]

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