National briefs: U.S. Capitol to get $60M face-lift

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WASHINGTON -- Weather and plain old age have left the Capitol dome with more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies like stains and rust.

Scaffolding will go up next month as crews begin a $60 million effort over several years to restore the Capitol to its "original, inspiring splendor," said Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol said Tuesday. The cast iron dome was built during the Civil War and last had a face-lift in 1959 and 1960.

The Rotunda will remain open, but tours of the dome will be canceled until the renovations are complete. Most of the work will be done on nights and weekends to prevent disruptions.

Just over a mile away, the Washington Monument is undergoing repairs after being damaged by an earthquake in 2011.

No motive yet for shooting

SPARKS, Nev. -- The day after a 12-year-old boy opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two students before turning the gun on himself, police said they did not have a motive for the seventh-grader's actions and did not release his identity "out of respect for his grieving parents."

Police said the shooter's family is cooperating with the investigation and believe the boy used a Ruger 9 mm semiautomatic from their home. The crime scene has been expanded to the home and there is a possibility the parents could face charges related to the weapon.

The two injured boys, both 12, "are stable and recovering," Sparks Deputy Chief Tom Miller said. One was shot in the shoulder, the other in the abdomen.

Pitchman Trudeau held

CHICAGO -- A federal judge ordered TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau taken into custody Tuesday after repeated failures to pay a penny toward a $37 million fine imposed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Trudeau made a lengthy, last-ditch appeal to U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman to remain free, saying he had no assets to turn over.

The judge told Mr. Trudeau his order to have him locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center would stand until he complies with federal authorities and reveals offshore accounts where his money is believed to be hidden.

Bay Area transit strike ends

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Trains in the San Francisco Bay Area were running again Tuesday after a tentative deal capped six months of contentious labor negotiations and two strikes that disrupted hundreds of thousands of daily commutes.

Bay Area Rapid Transit train service began again around 6 a.m., two hours later than expected and not in time to prevent many commuters from turning to alternative transportation. BART officials said employees trickled into work as they heard about the settlement that ended the four-day strike.

BART is the nation's fifth-largest rail system, with an average weekday ridership of 400,000.

Balloon to edge of space?

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A new space tourism company unveiled plans Tuesday to loft passengers to the stratosphere as early as 2015, not by rocket but by giant balloon. Price: $75,000. (Drinks included.)

World View is led by the same people involved in Inspiration Mars, a private endeavor to launch two people in 2018 to a flyby of the Red Planet.

World View's balloon and capsule, with six passengers and two crew members, would take about an hour and a half to reach altitude and then drift for a couple of hours before the balloon would be jettisoned and the capsule would glide back to Earth beneath an inflated parasail.


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