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Its 13-day mission to the International Space Station complete, the crew of the shuttle Atlantis made a final orbit of the laboratory Monday and beganthe return trip to Cape Canveral, Fla. Touchdown there is expected Wednesday. The Kennedy Space Center already is preparing the shuttle Endeavour for a March 11 launch to the space station.

The Department of Agriculture ordered the largest recall of frozen beef in US history – 143 million pounds – from a Chino, Calif., slaughterhouse, although officials said the threat to human health probably is small. Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., however, is the subject of an investigation into animal cruelty. The company supplies meat for school lunch programs.

Tornadoes and other strong storms cut a swath across Alabama and the panhandle of Florida Sunday, leveling houses, toppling trees, knocking out electricity to thousands of residents, and injuring at least 29 people – two of them seriously. Hardest hit was Prattville, Ala., where a Wal-Mart employee (above) looks at her overturned pickup truck.

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