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In brief

Working on fixing a ‘frog’ Brad Skinner, a welder with CSX, works on repairing a ‘frog’ near the Clay Street railroad crossing Thursday morning. Co-worker Carl Vinson said the frog is the point on the tracks where a single line is transferred to 2 lines and that they have to routinely maintain those sections of track because of the heavy beating they take when trains comes through.

AP photo
WASHINGTON U.S. blasts China, Russia

Cyber-attacks by Chinese and Russian intelligence services, as well corporate hackers in those countries, have swallowed up large amounts of high-tech American research and development data, and that stolen information has helped build their economies, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded.

The report, offering the first such detailed public accusations from U.S. officials, said computer attacks by foreign governments are on the rise and represent a “persistent threat to U.S. economic security.”

TRIPOLI, Libya Loose weapons a worry

More than two months after the fall of Tripoli, Libya’s new leaders are still struggling to secure massive weapons depots, stop the smuggling of munitions out of the country and disarm thousands of fighters who brought down Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

Libya’s temporary leader, responding to increasingly urgent international appeals, said he can’t do much because he lacks the funds.

As recently as last month, Human Rights Watch researchers found an unguarded weapons site with thousands of crates of rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft rounds in the Libyan desert.

Libyan authorities also discovered two military compounds housing chemical weapons that an official said were ready to be assembled and used, as well as another site containing 7,000 drums of raw uranium.

LOS ANGLES Jacko doc arguments made

A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that Michael Jackson’s doctor is responsible for his death and for leaving his children without a father.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren invoked Jackson’s children early in his closing argument, saying the superstar had them in mind in his final days and they were a driving force behind his planned series of comeback concerts.

The prosecutor urged jurors to convict Murray of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009.

BEND, Ore. Baghdad in a lawn chair?

Lawn-chair balloonist Kent Couch boarded a plane Thursday for the start of a journey that he hopes will end in Iraq with a safe launch and landing beneath a huge cluster of party balloons.

Couch made headlines worldwide in 2008 when he flew a specially rigged lawn chair supported by more than 150 helium-filled party balloons from the parking lot of his Bend gas station to an Idaho field. The trip spanned 235 miles.

Couch says Iraqi daredevil Fareed Lafta invited him to Baghdad for a Nov. 15 flight at a youth conference in the Green Zone.

“Our idea is to say, ‘This is our dream. Now, what can you dream?’ ” Couch told KTVZ.

Couch says the plan is to rig 300 balloons to lift the two of them sitting in a pair of lawn chairs for an overnight flight of 400 miles at 25,000 feet, which will require oxygen masks.

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