USA

The launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, originally scheduled for March 15, will be postponed until at least late April so hundreds of small dings on its external fuel tank can be repaired, NASA announced Tuesday. A hailstorm at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday caused the damage. Atlantis will deliver a 35,000-pound addition, the largest yet, to the International Space Station.

About 700,000 people are homeless in the US, and minorities account for 59 percent of those in homeless shelters, according to a federal report to Congress released Wednesday. The data were drawn from the first annual assessment of homelessness, made in 2005, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Some of the 11,000 hourly autoworkers the Chrysler Group will shed to reach its downsizing goals will receive pretax, lump-sum buyouts of $100,000, sources reported Tuesday. The offer comes as Chrysler, which lost nearly $1.5 billion in 2006, tries to reduce production by 400,000 vehicles per year.

The case of the brutal 1955 Mississippi slaying of black teenager Emmett Till finally appears closed, with no one being punished, according to court documents made public Tuesday. A grand jury in Leflore County refused to indict the last known living person possibly connected to the events that led two white men to kill Till for whistling at a white woman. The two were acquitted in 1955, but later confessed in an interview. The FBI suggested in 2004 that local prosecutors investigate one of the murderers' former wives, but that effort did not yield a breakthrough in the case.

Donald Miller, one of the longest-serving Texas inmates on death row, made no final comment before being executed by lethal injection Tuesday. Miller, who murdered two traveling salesmen, was sentenced to death in 1982 at age 19.

Carlos Alvarez, a professor at Florida International University, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday in a Miami spying case after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy as an unregistered foreign agent.

Five former managers from a major crate and pallet manufacturer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Albany, N.Y., to hiring illegal immigrants, part of a larger crackdown on employers who break the law to get cheap labor. The pleas came 10 months after federal agents staged raids at 40 IFCO Systems sites in 26 states. More than 1,100 people were arrested in the raids.

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