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In brief: Giffords' husband mulls space trip

The astronaut husband of a US congresswoman seriously wounded when she was shot in the head will decide by mid-February whether to join the last NASA shuttle launch as scheduled, the space agency said yesterday.

Mark Kelly has been on leave to tend to his wife, Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords, since the January 8 attack in Tucson.

Mum held after children shot dead

A Florida woman accused of killing her teenage daughter and son has been released from a hospital and is back in jail.

Police say Julie Powers Schenecker was taken to jail late yesterday morning. Schenecker is said to have shot her son twice in the head in the family car. Schenecker then allegedly shot her daughter in the face at home.

Smith plans porn documentary

Former UK home secretary Jacqui Smith, who claimed on expenses for two adult films watched by her husband, is making a documentary about the porn industry.

The politician, who lost her Redditch seat in the 2010 election, will interview porn stars and film-makers for the Radio 5 show 'Porn Again'.

Panther or puma spotted in Wales

Council chiefs have hailed a big cat sighting as the best proof yet the so-called mythical beasts really exist.

A former policeman based in west Wales spotted a "puma or panther-like animal" in the Welsh countryside. The sighting is being treated as authentic.

Holograms ease airport queues

Passengers at Manchester Airport are to be greeted by holograms of staff in a bid to reduce security check queues.

The images of of actual employees will appear at Terminal 1, reminding passengers to have their boarding cards ready.

Fraudster too big and fat for jail

A Dutch lawyer says his client must be released from jail -- as he is too big and fat.

Bas Martens says his client is about 6ft 10in tall and weighs 500lb. He claims his imprisonment is so painful it violates European human rights law. The prisoner is serving a two-year sentence.

Irish Independent