Archive for Sunday, January 26, 2003

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January 26, 2003

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Miami: Warmer weather saves Florida citrus crop

Bright sunshine across most of the state Saturday helped temperatures begin climbing back toward normal across Florida after two days of freezing weather that citrus growers had feared could damage their $9 billion-a-year crop.

Growers said Saturday they were largely spared significant crop damage.

"We actually dodged a major bullet," said Shawn Crocker, a spokesman for the Florida Strawberry Growers Assn. "I don't think we're going to see any catastrophic damage."

The National Weather Service posted another freeze warning across northern Florida for late Saturday and early today; however, the cold wasn't expected to be as sharp as it was Friday, when temperatures hit the low teens in some areas and snow flakes flew along parts of the Atlantic coast.

Florida: NASA launches craft to track solar radiation

NASA launched a spacecraft into orbit Saturday to measure all of the radiation streaming toward Earth from the sun.

The satellite began its $122 million, five-year mission with a plane ride over the Atlantic.

At the command "three, two, one, drop," the satellite was released from the jet about 140 miles offshore, fell for five seconds and then shot toward space with the firing of its attached Pegasus rocket.

The small satellite, called Sorce -- short for Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment -- has five state-of-the-art instruments that will help scientists better understand how the sun affects Earth's climate. They had to go to space to measure incoming solar radiation because so much of it is absorbed by Earth's atmosphere.

Venezuela: Opposition starts 'longest protest'

At least a hundred thousand Venezuelans -- many equipped with tents, inflatable mattresses and foldout chairs -- parked themselves on a Caracas highway Saturday in what they said would be their longest protest yet against President Hugo Chavez.

Shouting "until he goes!", the protesters blanketed a stretch of nearly three miles, prepared to spend the night. On the advice of organizers, many also brought water, sun hats, portable TVs and radios to help while away the hours.

"Prepare yourself for the longest protest in history!" screamed TV commercials and newspaper ads in the opposition-run media.

The opposition is trying to recover from a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday that postponed indefinitely a Feb. 2 referendum that would have asked citizens whether Chavez should resign. Although the referendum wouldn't have been binding, opponents had hoped a negative outcome would persuade Chavez to quit.

Kuwait City: Six more detained in ambush shooting

Kuwaiti authorities said Saturday they had detained at least six more men in connection with an ambush shooting Tuesday that left one American defense contractor dead and another wounded near the big U.S. military compound here.

The names of the detained men, all believed to be Kuwaiti citizens, were not released, and it was not clear Saturday night whether they had all been arrested or if some were simply being held for questioning.

But a Kuwaiti security official said at least some of the men were directly involved in the planning of the shooting and were planning other terrorist activities directed at Americans in Kuwait, where there are about 8,000 U.S. civilians and an ever-growing contingent of American troops massing for a potential attack on neighboring Iraq.

One of the men detained, authorities said, appeared to have given the murder weapon to Sami Mohammed Marzouq Obeid al Mutairi, a 25-year-old civil servant who was arrested earlier last week and charged with being the triggerman.

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