Nation digest 6a 3/9

Saturday, March 9, 2002

Astronauts hope to revive comatose camera

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Shuttle Columbia's astronauts completed five days of repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope on Friday, installing a high-tech, supercold refrigerator in hopes of reviving a comatose camera.

It was the fifth and final spacewalk of the mission, described by NASA as the most challenging service call ever made to the 12-year-old telescope.

Spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Richard Linnehan connected the 310-pound refrigerator to an infrared camera that has not worked for the past three years. They also hung a large radiator to the outside of the telescope and hooked up cables and plumbing that are part of the $21 million cooling system.

The system passed its initial tests, but astronomers will not know for at least a month whether the repairs will allow the camera to peer back into the dark, dusty regions of the universe.

Yates told psychiatrist of children's struggle

HOUSTON -- During a videotaped interview with a psychiatrist, Andrea Yates described in chilling detail drowning her five children in the bathtub, recalling that one of the children asked: "Mommy, are we going to take a bath today?"

Yates said on the tape, played at her murder trial Friday, that the cries of her 6-month-old daughter had drawn 3-year-old Paul to their home's bathroom where Yates was filling the tub with water.

"I needed to go ahead and do it," Yates said, becoming misty-eyed but keeping her composure during the Nov. 7 interview with forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz. She said she allowed earlier opportunities to kill the children pass because she "wasn't ready ... mentally, to do it."

Yates faces two capital murder charges for the June 20 deaths of Noah, John and Mary. She could eventually be charged for drowning Paul and Luke. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty.

U.S. evicts woman from former Iranian embassy

WASHINGTON -- It looked like a yard sale at Iran's former embassy Friday after U.S. marshals evicted a woman who had been living there and piled her mattresses, dresser drawers and office furniture onto the sidewalk.

Ruth Shofield had leased the elegant three-story mansion since 1995 as headquarters for her nonprofit religious organization. The State Department said she stopped paying rent regularly about four years ago and owes the government more than $750,000.

"We have pursued every opportunity to work out an arrangement for her to pay the back rent," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "She never paid."

Idaho mail-order firm recalls chocolates

WASHINGTON -- An Idaho chocolate company is recalling batches of Florence's Exquisite Candies that may contain peanuts and other ingredients not listed on the label -- posing a risk to people with certain allergies.

Recalled are batches of Florence's assorted milk and dark chocolates, nuts and caramels, and Cherry Cordials, as well as solid chocolate novelties.

The recalled chocolates may contain undeclared peanuts, macadamia nuts, milk or the dyes yellow No. 5 and 6. People allergic to any of those ingredients should not eat the candy.

One illness has been reported, a man hospitalized several weeks ago during an apparent peanut allergy attack.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: