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Briefs (left)

Shuttle Atlantis Lands Safely
At Kennedy Space Center

By Kenneth Chang
THE NEW YORK TIMES CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA.


The space shuttle Atlantis glided down to an uneventful pre-dawn landing Thursday, concluding a mission that resumed NASA’s construction work on the International Space Station.

The Atlantis fired its engines at 5:14 a.m. for 2 minutes, 40 seconds, sending it falling back out of orbit toward Earth. It descended into the atmosphere over the southern Pacific Ocean, crossing Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and then the Gulf of Mexico to approach Florida from the southwest. It touched down on the runaway at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:21 a.m.

The sky was still dark when Atlantis arrived, making the 15th nighttime shuttle landing at Kennedy, and the weather was ideal: clear with no winds.

“It’s nice to be back,” Capt. Brent W. Jett Jr., the shuttle commander, said after landing. “It was a great team effort, so I think assembly is off to a good start.”

Atlantis landed during its 187th circuit around Earth, having traveled 4.91 million miles.

The landing was delayed by one day after a small object was spotted floating near Atlantis in orbit.

Iran’s Leader Speaks of Love,
Saying Little of Weapons

By Warren Hoge
THE NEW YORK TIMES UNITED NATIONS

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, refused to say Thursday whether he would comply with a Security Council demand to disarm and disband Hezbollah, the Tehran-backed guerrilla group that fought a 34-day war with Israel.

“I’d like to say that Lebanon’s affairs are its own affairs, and we don’t want to interfere,” he said, when asked about the resolution that ended the combat in Lebanon last month.

He was also evasive about whether Iran would comply with the resolution’s call for an arms embargo to keep Hezbollah from rearming.

He said that the U.N. Charter gave people the right to defend themselves and that “we give spiritual support to all those who want to uphold their rights.”

Ahmadinejad spoke at a wide-ranging news conference in a packed U.N. conference hall in which he also reiterated Iran’s denial that it was pursuing a nuclear weapon and chastised Western countries for trying to curb Iran’s right to pursue nuclear energy.

Delivery of Airbus Jet
To Be Delayed Again

By Nicola Clark
THE NEW YORK TIMES PARIS

European Aeronautic Defense and Space, the parent company of Airbus, confirmed Thursday that the troubled A380 would face still more delivery delays while it tackles wiring “challenges.”

This prompted hints by some important customers of the twin-deck A380 that they could scale back their orders of the plane. The news also raised fresh questions about the depths of the troubles facing Airbus and the credibility of its management at a time when the company is struggling to regain customer and shareholder confidence.

“From what is known today, there will be further delays,” EADS said after more than a week of speculation that Airbus’ modified timetable, announced in June, would probably slip further.

The company declined to specify the length of the latest setback to the A380 program, already more than a year behind schedule. Nor would it speculate on its possible financial impact for EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus.