Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily Update: March 29, 2011...Mars Rover, Home Prices Fall, Syrian Government Resigns, Radiation Expands To More U.S. States.

NASA: Mars rover, phone home after year-long sleep

By Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer

Posted 1h 18m ago |
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LOS ANGELES — The prospect of ever hearing from the stuck Mars rover Spirit is fading after it failed to respond to repeated calls from Earth.
Despite the dismal outlook, NASA will make a last-ditch effort to communicate with Spirit, which fell silent a little over a year ago. If there's still no contact in the next month or so, the space agency will scale back its listening campaign for Spirit and focus on its healthy twin, Opportunity.
That Spirit has not called home suggests that something is more seriously wrong than just a power issue, said program manager John Callas at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Home prices falling in most major U.S. cities

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:35 a.m. MDT
NEW YORK — Home prices are falling in most major U.S. cities, and the average prices in four of them are at their lowest point in 11 years. Analysts expect further prices declines in most cities in the coming months.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday shows price declines in 19 cities from December to January. Eleven of them are at their lowest level since the housing bust, in 2006 and 2007. The index fell for the sixth straight month.

..."The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's.

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Syrian government resigns

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 29, 2011 10:17 a.m. EDT

Click to play
Syrian cabinet resigns
  • NEW: The president plans to speak on Wednesday, a government spokeswoman said
  • NEW: A new government will be named Tuesday, a government spokeswoman said
  • The government has resigned, state TV reported
  • At least 37 people have been killed in demonstrations since last week, the U.N. says
(CNN) -- The Syrian government resigned Tuesday amid an unusual wave of unrest that has roiled the nation, state TV reported.
President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignations Tuesday, the same day that tens of thousands of Syrians poured onto the streets of Damascus to demonstrate in favor of the government.
A new government should be named in a few hours, said Reem Haddad, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Information Ministry.
Meanwhile, the president plans to make "a very important speech" on Wednesday, she said. The speech will "reassure the Syrian people," the state-run SANA news agency has reported.
Japan's nuclear contamination spreads to more U.S. states

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 29, 2011 5:46 a.m. EDT
Very small levels of radiation from Japan have been detected in at least 15 states -- it's not a health concern, according to EPA.
Very small levels of radiation from Japan have been detected in at least 15 states -- it's not a health concern, according to EPA.
  • A growing number of U.S. states are affected, but none at levels that threaten public health
  • At least 15 states report detecting radioisotopes in air or water or both
  • "The levels detected are far below levels of public health concern," EPA says
(CNN) -- Minuscule levels of radiation from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant incident have been detected in a widening number of U.S. states, but the Environmental Protection Agency reaffirmed this week that the levels represent no threat to public health.
"To date, data from EPA's real-time radiation air monitoring networks continue to show typical fluctuations in background radiation levels," Jonathan Edwards, director of the EPA's Radiation Protection Division, said in a statement Monday. "The levels we are seeing are far below any levels of concern."
At least 15 states reported detecting radioisotopes in air or water or both. No states have recommended that residents take potassium iodide, a salt that protects the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine.
... Hartsville, South Carolina, and Crystal River, Florida.
...Sensors in Maryland have also reported elevated levels of I-131 in air samples.
...The Massachusetts Department of Health said Sunday that a monitoring station in Boston detected I-131 in rainwater
....On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said rainwater collected Friday from his state's nuclear power plant facilities contained low levels of iodine-131 
...Similar testing in other states, including California and Washington, has shown comparable levels of iodine-131 in rainwater samples.
...Trace detections were found in the air in Oregon, Colorado and California.
...n analysis from 12 monitors nationwide found "slightly higher" levels of radioactive isotopes in Alaska, Alabama, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Washington state over the past week, the agency said.

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