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News Wrap: Space tourism rocket crashes, killing co-pilot

In our news wrap Friday, a test flight for a Virgin Galactic commercial space rocket crashed, killing the co-pilot and badly injuring the pilot. It was the second commercial rocket disaster this week. Also, a seven-week manhunt ended for an expert marksman and survivalist who killed a state trooper in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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    The space industry suffered a new catastrophe today. A Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket crashed during a test flight in Southern California. The co-pilot was killed, and the pilot was badly injured.

    The wreckage of SpaceShipTwo landed in the Mojave Desert. Witnesses described an explosion after the rocket was released from a plane that carries it to a high altitude. On Tuesday, a rocket owned by another private company, Orbital Sciences, blew up just after lifting off from a launch site on Virginia's Atlantic Coast.


    People across Northeastern Pennsylvania were finally able to relax today with news that a seven-week manhunt is over. The suspect in a shooting that terrorized the region was captured last night and appeared in court this morning.

  • MAN:

    Eric, are you sorry?


    Shouts from the crowd went unanswered, as a battered-looking Eric Frein stood waiting after his hearing at the Pike County Courthouse.

    District attorney Raymond Tonkin:

  • RAYMOND TONKIN, District Attorney, Pike County:

    Today, we find some comfort as a community that we are taking these next steps towards justice.


    Frein is accused in the sniper ambush of a state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, on September 12. The attack left Corporal Bryon Dickson dead, critically wounded trooper Alex Douglass, and it triggered a grueling 48-day manhunt across the Pocono Mountains for Frein, an expert marksman and survivalist.

    The search took law officers through woods, caves and vacation homes, closed schools, canceled football games, and hurt area businesses.

  • LT. COL. GEORGE BEVINS, Pennsylvania State Police:

    He was able to get into cabins, into other unoccupied structures, find food. In other cases, he had things hidden, but he was able to get shelter, and get in, out of the weather, much as we suspected was occurring.


    Finally, last night, Frein surrendered peacefully to U.S. Marshals, who came upon him in an abandoned airport hangar, about 30 miles from the state police barracks.

    He entered no plea at today's hearing, but faces first-degree murder and other charges and a possible death penalty.

    For area residents, it's the end to a nightmarish time.

  • WOMAN:

    I can't even explain what I'm feeling right now. This is awesome. We are so proud of our Pennsylvania State Police, their hard work. There have been many, many sleepless nights.


    And with Frein's capture, local officials announced that neighborhood trick-or-treating is back on tonight's schedule.

    In Florida, a former college band member was convicted today in the death of a drum major at Florida A&M University. Dante Martin was found guilty of manslaughter and felony hazing. The victim, Robert Champion, died after running a gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets. Afterward, the school's nationally known band was suspended for more than a year.

    There's word today that more than 1,000 foreign fighters are flowing into Syria each month, despite American airstrikes. That's according to a report today in The Washington Post, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials. The account says it's estimated the total number of foreign fighters inside Syria now exceeds 16,000.

    Israel reopened a contested holy site in Jerusalem today. There had been clashes a day earlier, when police killed a Palestinian suspected of shooting a Jewish activist. Today, entrance to the site known as Temple Mount to Jews and Noble Sanctuary to Muslims was watched closely by an extra 1,000 security personnel. Israeli authorities continued to deny access to Muslim men under the age of 50.

    Japan's Central Bank made a surprise move today to jump-start its economy by expanding stimulus efforts. The head of the Central Bank said there's a risk of deflation that will hurt wages and stock values.

    HARUHIKO KURODA, Governor, Bank of Japan (through interpreter): If the real inflation rate continues to be sluggish, there's a possibility of a turnaround toward a deflationary mind-set. In that sense, our nation's economy is now at a critical moment, a crucial stage in the process towards escaping deflation. Our decision to go ahead with additional easing this time is based on such reasoning.


    Japan has been plagued by deflation and anemic growth for much of the past 20 years.

    Also today, Russia's Central Bank boosted its key interest rate to 9.5 percent, hoping to stop the ruble's decline in value. The Russian currency has been hurt by Western sanctions over Ukraine and by falling oil prices.

    Wall Street shot higher on the moves to stimulate Japan's economy. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 195 points to close at 17,390, a new record. The S&P 500 added 23 to finish at 2,018, also a record. And the Nasdaq rose 64 to 4,630. For the week, the Dow and the Nasdaq gained more than 3 percent. The S&P rose more than 2.5 percent.

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