Scripps Howard News Service
July 29, 2005
On the first space shuttle flight since Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003, Discovery blasted off with seven astronauts on a 12-day mission to resupply the International Space Station. "Good luck, Godspeed, and have a little fun up there," NASA's Michael D. Leinbach told the crew. Pieces of insulating foam fell off Discovery's fuel tank during liftoff - as it did in Columbia's disastrous mission. NASA said it believes the foam did not cause serious damage to Discovery, but NASA grounded future shuttle flights until the problem is solved.
Nation swelters in deadly heat wave
A deadly heat wave gripped much of the nation. People flocked to ice-cream shops and swimming pools, and farmers hauled out electric fans to cool off livestock. Many deaths were blamed on the blistering heat, including at least 28 in the Phoenix area alone. Days of triple-digit heat-index readings killed at least 1,200 cattle in Nebraska. Electricity use set records in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Cincinnati, among other cities. A cold front brought relief by week's end.
North Korea toughens stance in talks
Disarmament talks with North Korea resumed after a 13-month break. In the six-party negotiations in Beijing, North Korea said it would give up atomic weapons only if the "U.S. nuclear threat" to the country is ended. North Korea also was insisting that the United States stop providing a "nuclear umbrella" to protect South Korea, according to U.S. and Asian officials.
Tragedy at National Boy Scout Jamboree
As children watched in horror, four adult Boy Scout leaders were killed when a tent pole fell against a power line at the National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Army's Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Child psychologists were called in to counsel stunned boys at the Jamboree, which draws more than 40,000 Scouting enthusiasts from around the world. The Scout leaders were from Alaska, and Scouts from around the country brought the members of their troops patches, shirts and other gifts.
Elizabeth Smart's accused kidnapper ruled incompetent
A judged declared Brian David Mitchell mentally incompetent to stand trial in the kidnapping of Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart. Judge Judith Atherton's ruling sends Mitchell to a state hospital until he is deemed capable of standing trial. During six days of hearings over the past seven months, Mitchell sang hymns and shouted biblical admonitions and had to be taken out of court several times. "It's going to take some time, but eventually he will be tried ... and convicted," Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom said. The judge ruled last year that Mitchell's wife, Wanda Barzee, was incompetent to stand trial, too. Nine months after the kidnapping, Elizabeth was returned to her family.
Pataki won't run for fourth term
New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, announced he wouldn't seek a fourth term. That got him out of a race against Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, who leads Pataki in polls. But it also leaves Pataki free to explore the possibility of running for president in 2008. Pataki defeated Democrat Mario Cuomo to win the governorship 11 years ago.
IRA stops armed campaign
The outlawed Irish Republican Army renounced violence and pledged to seek its political goals through peaceful means, ending 30 years of paramilitary struggle against British rule in Northern Ireland. The IRA, blamed for 1,800 deaths from around 1970 through the mid-1990s, said all its clandestine units had been ordered to stop all activities. "All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms," the IRA said in a statement.
Energy bill finally clears Congress
The massive national energy plan finally emerged from Congress, sending billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to electricity, coal, nuclear, natural-gas and oil companies. Efficiency and conservation programs claimed $1.3 billion of the bill's more than $14.1 billion in tax breaks over 10 years.
Armstrong wins Tour de France
Lance Armstrong won his seventh and last victory in the Tour de France. He took the three-week bicycle race across France by a margin of more than 4-1/2 minutes. "Our country and the world are incredibly proud of you," President Bush told his fellow Texan in a phone call from Camp David. Live television coverage of the race's final day was watched by an average of 1.7 million viewers - the largest audience in the history of the Outdoor Life Network.
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