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National news briefs — compiled Jan. 9


Spill prompts water warning

A supplier on Thursday asked customers in eight West Virginia counties to avoid using its water because of a chemical spill into the Elk River in Charleston. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency, telling West Virginia American Water customers in the affected area not to drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes in the water and to only use it for flushing. There have been no immediate reports of illnesses from the spill.


Search for sailor called off

Rescuers called off their search Thursday for a sailor missing since a Navy helicopter with five crew members aboard crashed in the ocean off the Virginia coast, the Coast Guard said. Two people died in the Wednesday crash, and two others were hospitalized. The Coast Guard had searched an area of 500 square miles by air and sea for more than 30 hours before ending the search at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.


Supply ship finally launches

A privately launched supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Thursday following a series of delays ranging from the cold to the sun. Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its unmanned Antares rocket with 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments provided by NASA, as well as food and even some ants for an educational project.


Homecoming for prisoner

A Minnesota man returned to the United States on Thursday after spending nine months in prison in the United Arab Emirates for his role in making and posting online a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai. Shezanne Cassim, 29, said he did nothing wrong and that there was nothing illegal about the video. “I was tried in a textbook kangaroo court, and I was convicted without any evidence,” Cassim said after an airplane carrying him home arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Cassim was arrested in April and had been held at a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi since June.

Compiled from wire reports.


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