Nation Briefs

Final 10-mile trek for shuttle Atlantis; to be exhibit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Accompanied by astronauts and shuttle workers, Atlantis made a slow, solemn journey to retirement Friday, the last space shuttle to orbit the world and the last to leave NASA’s nest.

Atlantis emerged just before dawn from the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and, riding atop a 76-wheeled platform, began the 10-mile trek to the Kennedy Space Center’s main tourist stop.

About 200 workers gathered in the early morning chill to see the spaceship out in the open for the final time. They were joined by the four astronauts who closed out the shuttle program aboard Atlantis more than a year ago.

“My opinion is it looks better vertically,” said Christopher Ferguson, the commander of Atlantis’ final flight.

Iraq war contractor ordered to pay $85 million

PORTLAND, Ore. – A jury on Friday ordered an American military contractor to pay $85 million after finding it guilty of negligence for illnesses suffered by a dozen Oregon soldiers who guarded an oilfield water plant during the Iraq war.

After a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for just two days before reaching a decision against the contractor, Kellogg Brown and Root.

The suit was the first concerning soldiers’ exposure to a toxin at a water plant in southern Iraq. The soldiers said they suffer from respiratory ailments after their exposure to sodium dichromate, and they fear that a carcinogen the toxin contains, hexavalent chromium, could cause cancer later in life.

Associated Press

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