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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Astronaut and University of Illinois graduate Michael Hopkins will deliver the commencement address at his alma mater's spring graduation next month.
Hopkins recently returned from a 166-day stay aboard the International Space Station. He says in a statement released by the university that he'll be every bit as nervous delivering his speech as he was for his first walk in space.
 
Hopkins graduated from Illinois in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering. He was also a member of the school's football team.
The Richland, Mo., native was accepted into NASA's astronaut training program in 2011 after trying without success for almost 12 years.
 
The spring commencement ceremony will be May 17 in Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
   
 
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 07:11
Published in Local News
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A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile tonight, strong enough to be felt nearly 300 miles away in the Bolivian capital, and triggering a small tsunami.
 
Five people are confirmed dead - four men and one woman, Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said. The victims died from either cardiac arrest or falling debris.
 
The quake, which was centered 61 miles west-northwest of Iquique, and was 6.21 miles deep, was initially measured at 8.0, but was later upgraded, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
 
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a six-foot tsunami hit Pisagua, Chile, at 8:04 p.m. ET. There was some damage reported on roads linking northern towns between Iquique and Alto Auspicio.
A tsunami warning for countries in the area - including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama - was canceled.
 
An advisory remains in effect for Hawaii, but the waves aren't expected to cause much damage, Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told ABC News.
 
"The waves will not be big enough to cause any flooding, so nobody needs to evacuate. But we just want to clear the beaches. And fortunately, since it's 3:30 in the morning, that's really no hardship," Fryer said.
 
“The biggest worry is the currents. If anyone is in the water, you know fishing or something like that, they could get banged up or swept out to sea or something.”
 
The northern part of Chile is being declared a disaster zone and armed forces are on their way to the area, President Michelle Bachelet said at an overnight press conference. The presidents of Peru and Argentina have called, lending support if needed, Bachelet said.
 
The earthquake was so strong that the shaking it caused in La Paz, Bolivia, 290 miles from the epicenter, was the equivalent of a 4.5-magnitude tremor, authorities there said. The quake triggered at least eight strong aftershocks in the first few hours, including a 6.2 tremor.
 
In Chile, evacuation orders were issued for the cities of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta. All cities were along a low coast and each evacuation involved a significant climb to higher land further inland.
 
Salvador Urrutia, the mayor of Arica, said there were minor injuries in the city but no deaths reported. Some homes were damaged, but the modern structures and taller buildings were not damaged.
 
He said the city was without power and had no cellphone service.
 
Despite the fear caused by the evacuation order, which was not limited to the coast, he said people remained calm.
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DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling nearly 870,000 SUVs because corrosion may make the vehicles' brakes harder to use.
 
Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from the 2011 through 2014 model years are involved.
 
Chrysler says crimp joints in the brake boosters can corrode if they're exposed to water. If the water freezes, the boosters won't aid braking as they usually do.
 
Chrysler began investigating after some customers said their brakes felt too firm when pressed down. The company knows of one accident, but no injuries, due to the defect.
 
Dealers will install a shield to protect the boosters for free and replace boosters that aren't working properly.
 
Chrysler has since changed the design to make the boosters more corrosion resistant.
 
Chrysler will notify owners of the recall, which involves 867,795 vehicles.
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