CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A sophisticated new weather satellite rocketed into orbit Saturday, giving forecasters another powerful tool for tracking hurricanes and tornadoes. An unmanned Boeing Delta IV rocket carrying the nation’s latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite blasted off Saturday evening, a day late because of thunderstorms. The GOES satellite network provides continuous weather monitoring for 60 percent of the planet, including the United States. The newer ones also monitor solar flares that can disrupt communications on Earth, and track climate change.
Florida: 737 blocks runway
A Tampa International Airport spokeswoman says a runway was closed after a USAirways Boeing 737 jet apparently blew its front tires while landing. An airport spokeswoman said no passengers or crew on flight 1241 from Philadelphia were hurt when the jet landed Saturday afternoon. The passengers were taken to a secure area and then released to claim their baggage. The incident left debris on the runway.
California: Fawcett funeral
A private funeral service will be held Tuesday for Farrah Fawcett at the Cathedral of Our lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Church officials said the service is set for 4 p.m. Fawcett died Thursday from cancer. She was 62. The actress, best known for her role in TV’s “Charlie’s Angels,” chronicled her battle with cancer in a documentary called “Farrah’s Story” that aired last month.
Oklahoma: Death toll rises
Hours after a tractor-trailer slammed into stopped traffic on a northeast Oklahoma turnpike, tow trucks dislodged the rig from a crushed car to find the body of a ninth victim inside the mangled wreckage. Eight adults and one child died Friday in the accident that left twisted metal and debris strewn across the highway and stranded miles of traffic in scorching heat for hours. The Highway Patrol said an earlier crash had stopped eastbound traffic Friday afternoon on the Will Rogers Turnpike when the big rig slammed into at least three cars, which then crashed into more vehicles.
Utah: YouTube ban is lifted
Brigham Young University, the Mormon church school where students agree to live a chaste and virtuous life, has lifted its almost three-year policy of blocking access to YouTube. Administrators lifted the ban on Friday, citing an increasing amount of educational material on the popular video-sharing site, a university spokeswoman said. YouTube has its own filters for porn, but BYU added it to the list of Web sites blocked by campus online filters in 2006 because administrators felt there was too much content that could violate the school’s strict, conservative standards.
Mexico: Police payoff list
Mexican soldiers have captured a suspected drug cartel operator with a list of the names of local police officers who apparently received payoffs, the army said Saturday. The army said Omar Ibarra was caught Friday on a street in the northern city of Monterrey. It said he possessed the names of 33 policemen in the wealthy suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia “who presumably received money from this individual.” San Pedro officials were not immediately available for comment.
Afghanistan: Taliban votes
President Hamid Karzai is calling on Taliban and other militants to “vote for the president they want” in Afghanistan’s Aug. 20 presidential election. Karzai told the militants Saturday that they should vote for the provincial council delegates they support. Karzai was speaking during a news conference Saturday at the presidential palace. The Taliban are not fielding candidates and have warned Afghans against voting in the election.
China: Ethnic disturbance
Ethnic tensions between workers at a toy factory in southern China sparked a brawl that left two dead and 118 injured, a government spokesman said Saturday. A spokesman from the Shaoguan City government said the brawl was due to tensions between Uighurs — Turkic-speaking Muslims — and Han Chinese, who make up most of China’s population. The spokesman said the fight started after a Han Chinese girl entered a dormitory where Uighur workers were staying. Uighur workers tried to harass her, and she screamed. More than 400 police restored order early Friday morning.
From Herald news services