Spy satellite to fall

Spy satellite to fall

WASHINGTON — A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday. The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. “Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,” said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, when asked about the situation after it was disclosed by other officials.

McCain endorsement

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed a beaming Sen. John McCain on Saturday night, delivering a boost three days before the state’s pivotal primary. Crist praised McCain as a “true American hero.” At a county GOP dinner in St. Petersburg, Crist added, “After thinking about it as much as I have, I don’t think anybody would do better than the man who stands next to me, Sen. John McCain.” It was the second high-profile endorsement in two days for McCain, who is locked in a tight primary race with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Crist stepped to the podium a little more than 24 hours after Sen. Mel Martinez announced he was backing his colleague in the Senate.

Massacre in Guyana

LUSIGNAN, Guyana — Gunmen stormed into a coastal village Saturday and killed 11 people, including five children, in violence blamed on a gang leader who has threatened widespread attacks. The assault sparked angry protests over rising crime in this impoverished country. The killings in Lusignan came hours after gunmen attacked police headquarters in the capital, firing indiscriminately and wounding two guards.

Casino to remain closed

LAS VEGAS — The burned exterior façade along the roof of the Monte Carlo hotel-casino will have to be removed or secured before the Las Vegas Strip resort can reopen, the chief county building inspector said Saturday. Ron Lynn, chief of the Clark County Building Department, said the 32-story building will remain closed until resort owner MGM Mirage Inc. completes work to the roof-line foam building material damaged in Friday’s blaze. A spokesman for the casino company said he could not immediately say how long that would take. “Now that the county inspectors have completed their work, we’ll begin our assessment,” MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher said.

Mother shoots kids, self

CLARKSTON, Wash. — A woman shot three of her children, killing one of them, then used the gun to kill herself, a sheriff said Saturday. Elizabeth Duman, 31, and her 18-month-old son, Abraham, were found dead at their hillside home Thursday and two others of her eight children were found with gunshot wounds. “At this time, the evidence indicates the deaths and injuries are the result of Elizabeth using a firearm,” Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft said in a statement Saturday. Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Hally said Saturday that investigators were still trying to find a motive for the shootings. He said they did not know if Duman had sought mental health counseling. Ruby Rose Duman, 3 months, remained in critical condition and her 3-year-old brother, Johannes Duman, was in serious condition Saturday at a hospital in Spokane, authorities reported.

Rebates expected in May

WASHINGTON — Most taxpayers could expect a rebate of up to $600 starting in mid-May under the economic aid plan set to go through Congress within weeks. Couples could get twice as much, with even more for most families with children. All that, however, depends on smooth sailing at the Internal Revenue Service, and the agency already is up to its eyeballs in filings and refunds. The Treasury Department says that despite the strains of tax filing season, the IRS will be able to begin delivering the payments within 60 days after President Bush signs the plan into law, and complete the process in approximately 10 weeks, possibly sooner.

Gaza-Egypt border crisis

RAFAH, Egypt — In its first public criticism of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, Egypt complained Saturday of “provocations” during the Gaza-Egypt border crisis and said more than three dozen members of its security forces were hospitalized as a result. The border, which was initially breached by Hamas militants, remained open for a fourth day, though Egyptian security forces blocked Gazans from driving beyond the border town of Rafah itself. Egyptian border guards were now authorized to return fire if attacked, said a security official speaking on customary condition of anonymity on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

Associated Press