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Experts: Rocket blast a setback to space tourism
MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) - Commercial space tourism suffered a huge setback Friday when a prototype passenger rocket exploded during a test flight, scattering debris over the Mojave Desert and killing one pilot while seriously injuring the other. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo blew apart Friday after being released from a carrier aircraft at high altitude, according to Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the explosion.


Judge rejects Ebola quarantine for nurse
FORT KENT, Maine (AP) - A Maine judge gave nurse Kaci Hickox the OK to go wherever she pleases, handing state officials a defeat Friday in their bid to restrict her movements as a precaution against Ebola. In a case that has come to encapsulate the clash in the U.S. between personal freedom and fear of Ebola, Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere ruled that Hickox must continue daily monitoring of her health but said there is no need to isolate her or restrict her movements because she has no symptoms and is therefore not contagious.


Liberia opens 1 of largest Ebola treatment centers
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Remembering those who have died in the world's deadliest Ebola outbreak, Liberia's president opened one of the country's largest Ebola treatment centers in Monrovia on Friday amid hopes that the disease is finally on the decline in this West African country. American and U.N. officials as well as Cuban doctors were in the crowd as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf opened the treatment center, which is set up to hold 200 patients and can eventually treat as many as 300. With the opening of the center, an Ebola treatment unit at JFK Medical Center has been closed. Many people with other diseases had been nervous about going to the nation's largest referral hospital, and officials hope they will now come back.


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Analysis: In Syria, no good options for West
UNDATED (AP) - With the U.S.-led assault on the Islamic State group, the world community is acting in Syria, but not in the Syrian civil war. When it comes to the issue that has undermined the region - the survival or fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad - there is still no plan. And that means the West's goal to defeat the militants of IS may also be doomed to fail.


Early votes exceed 15 million _ but who benefits?
WASHINGTON (AP) - Early votes soared past 15 million across 31 states on Friday, an outpouring that is giving hopeful Republicans as well as nervous Democrats cause for optimism heading into the final weekend of a campaign with control of the Senate, the U.S. House and 36 governorships at stake. Republicans pointed to a strong early-vote performance in Iowa as evidence that Joni Ernst was a step ahead in her bid to capture a Senate seat for the GOP. "I feel real good about it," said Gov. Terry Branstad, campaigning with the party's Senate hopeful as he sought a new term for himself, as well.


AP EXCLUSIVE: Military sex survey draws complaints
WASHINGTON (AP) - Shocked and offended by explicit questions, some U.S. servicemen and women are complaining about a new sexual-assault survey that hundreds of thousands have been asked to complete. The survey is conducted every two years. But this year's version, developed by the Rand Corp., is unusually detailed, including graphically personal questions on sexual acts.


Ex-band FAMU member convicted in hazing death
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A former Florida A&M band member accused of being the ringleader of a brutal hazing ritual known as "Crossing Bus C" that killed a drum major was convicted Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing. Prosecutors said Dante Martin, 27, was known as "the president of Bus C" and organized the initiations that required fellow band members to try to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back in November 2011 after a football game. Two other band members went through the bus before Robert Champion, 26, of Decatur, Georgia. Martin was convicted of misdemeanor hazing counts in their beatings.


After murder suspect is caught, a sigh of relief
MILFORD, Pa. (AP) - For 48 days, Eric Frein was everywhere and nowhere, supposedly sighted again and again, only to melt back into the woods in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. So on Friday, as state police paraded the gaunt and battered-looking former fugitive in front of a courthouse, residents were relieved to see him in the flesh.


Brittany Maynard: New face of right-to-die
Saturday was supposed to be the day that Brittany Maynard killed herself. She still might do it, but her latest message seems to suggest she intends to live, at least for a while. Regardless, this 29-year-old woman suffering from terminal brain cancer has shared her journey to death with a transfixed world. Some have cheered her, while others have decried her choice and pleaded with her to let nature take its course instead.


Russia: Natural gas will flow after Ukraine pays
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia will resume shipping natural gas to Ukraine after Kiev pays off its first debt installment for past supplies of gas next week, officials said Friday. Alexei Miller, chief of Russia's state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant, made the statement hours after Russia, Ukraine and the European Union thrashed out a $4.6 billion deal that will guarantee Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and further on to the EU.