Nation briefs 9/18/06

Monday, September 18, 2006

Space station readies for another set of guests

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The international space station's three residents bade farewell to one set of houseguests Sunday and prepared for the arrival of more visitors. The send-off of space shuttle Atlantis' six astronauts Sunday was the start of a week of heavy traffic at the space station, the equivalent of rush hour in space. A Russian Soyuz vehicle ferrying two new station crew members and the first female space tourist was set to launch overnight, followed by the departure of a Russian cargo ship from the station today.

Number of spinach E. coli cases rises to 109

SAN FRANCISCO -- The number of people sickened by an E. coli outbreak traced to tainted spinach rose to 109 Sunday, as federal officials announced more brands recalling their products. Natural Selection Foods LLC, the world's largest producer of organic produce, has been linked to the infected greens, prompting a recall of 34 brands. Those brands include the company's own labels and those of other companies that had contracts with Natural Selection, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif., to produce or package its spinach.

Officials to lease half of Freedom Tower

NEW YORK -- Federal and state officials have agreed to rent half of the Freedom Tower when it opens in about five years at the World Trade Center site -- sealing one part of an elaborate deal that would, if finalized, divide control of what to build there. The federal General Services Administration and the state Office of General Services signed agreements last week to rent 1.1 million of the Freedom Tower's 2.6 million square feet of office space, officials announced Sunday.

Tennessee prepares to use electric chair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If confessed murderer Daryl Keith Holton gets his way, on Tuesday he will become the first prisoner to die in Tennessee's electric chair in 46 years. Holton, who confessed to murdering his three young sons and his ex-wife's daughter within hours of shooting them to death with a semiautomatic assault rifle, is scheduled to be executed because he quit appealing his death sentence. He also chose the electric chair over the state's preferred method of lethal injection.

-- From wire reports

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