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News briefs

Space Shuttle Endeavour Embarks on Maiden Voyage

Los Angeles Times

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.

Dodging gusty winds and threatening thunderstorms, Space Shuttle Endeavour, the nation's newest orbiter, found a hole in the clouds Thursday and blasted off on its maiden voyage.

The week-long mission, one of the most challenging in the 11-year history of the space shuttle program, began at 7:40 p.m. EDT, 34 minutes behind schedule, with a fiery lift-off from launch pad 39-B at the sprawling Kennedy Space Center.

The launch followed a virtually flawless countdown, marred only a minor computer glitch and by nagging concerns about the weather in Florida and at an emergency landing site in Morroco.

Crew members will complete a record three space walks. The walks are intended in part to test astronaut endurance for the grueling work of constructing the planned Space Station Freedom.

In the two subsequent space walks, the Endeavour crew will be the first to practice in space the critical techniques and maneuvers that will be used in assembling the $30 billion space station, beginning with a shuttle mission planned for late 1995.

Police Command Blamed For Slow Response to Riots

Los Angeles Times

Blame for the Los Angeles Police Department's failure to react swiftly to last week's riots appeared to be moving toward the higher reaches of the agency Thursday as key police officials and others said breakdowns at the command level hampered embattled street officers.

In his first interview since the unrest, Deputy Chief Matthew V. Hunt, who commands officers in South Los Angeles, said that he and his subordinates did the best they could to stem the spreading violence but that the department simply was ill prepared.

Hunt said that he had pressed Police Chief Daryl F. Gates for greater preparations prior to the verdicts but that the chief rebuffed him. As a result, Hunt said, the department was not properly prepared or equipped, and officers in the field were overwhelmed by the exploding violence.

He described a "nightmare" of frustrations and chaos at a hastily assembled command post near the flashpoint of the rioting as the nation watched televised broadcasts of the looting and arson. Phones could not be hooked up. There was no police computer in the "archaic" command-post truck when it arrived.

Vitamin C May Reduce Death Rates

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

People who consume moderately high levels of vitamin C have reduced death rates, most notably from heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new statistical study.

The University of California, Los Angeles, epidemiologic study of 11,348 adults found that men who consumed the most vitamin C had a 42 percent lower death rate from all causes than men in the lowest-intake group. Women in the highest-intake group had a 10 percent lower overall death rate than women who consumed the lowest amounts.

Vitamin C supplements have been touted as an aid to good health and longevity. Surveys indicate that about a quarter of American adults use vitamin supplments on a daily basis and that vitamin C is the most frequent single vitamin in these supplements.

Weather

A Vicious Circle

Forecast by Marek Zebrowski

Staff Meterologist

This absurdly cold spring weather pattern will not only continue but worsen with the onset of precipitation that will (again) ruin most of the weekend.

A high pressure ridge, responsible for the weather block and the icy seabreezes of the past few days, will drift away from the Canadian Maritimes and allow a surface low to come up the coast from the Georgia/Carolina capes. This surface system will intensify at first and then weaken, drifting slowly northward toward New England over the weekend. In addition, a closed upper low that was nearly stationary over the Southeastern States for the past few days will also begin a slow northward progress. Such large pool of cold, unstable air, in conjunction with the surface system will produce a huge cyclonic circulation right on our doorstep and will be slow to lift out of our area.

Thus, better weather and a return to more seasonable temperatures is not expected until later on Monday . On the bright side of things: there are some signs of temporary changes in weather patterns for the second half of next week, yet (regrettably) in the long range (week after next) the pesky, onshore flow may come and revisit us. Stay tuned - at least it's a good weather to study for the finals!

Friday afternoon: Mostly cloudy, chance of some drizzle and light rain. High around 56F (13C), easterly winds 10-20 mph (16-32 kmh).

Friday night: Cloudy, foggy with periods of rain and drizzle. Low around 50F (10C), moderate east to southeasterly winds.

Saturday: Periods of rain and showers, high around 58F (14C), east-southeast winds continuing.

Sunday outlook: Continued unsettled, mostly cloudy with some rain or drizzle with highs in damp 50s (12-14C).