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  Mars Rover Holds Off-Earth Distance Record
       Associated Press  
    PASADENA, California, July 29: The odometer of NASA´s Mars rover Opportunity has hit 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers), breaking the record for off-Earth distance traveled.

NASA officials said Monday that Opportunity drove 157 feet (47.8 meters) over the weekend, which was enough to surpass the record held by the Soviet Union´s Lunokhod 2 rover.

  China: Ex-security Czar Zhou Under Investigation
       Associated Press  
    BEIJING, July 29: China´s ruling Communist Party announced an investigation into a feared ex-security chief on Tuesday, demonstrating President Xi Jinping´s firm grip on power and breaking a longstanding taboo against publicly targeting the country´s topmost leaders.

The party´s anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on its website that it is investigating Zhou Yongkang, 71, for serious violations of party discipline, but gave no details. Such an announcement typically paves the way for the official to be ousted from the party and face prosecution.

  Strong Quake Shakes Mexico
       Associated Press  
    VERACRUZ, Mexico, July 29: A strong earthquake shook much of eastern Mexico on Tuesday, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.3 quake was centered in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, about 260 miles (418 kilometers) east-southeast of Mexico City. The epicenter was 59 miles (95 kilometers) below the surface.

  Suicide Bomber Kills Afghan President's Cousin
       Associated Press  
    KABUL, Afghanistan,July 28:  A cousin and close associate of outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated on Tuesday by a suicide bomber who hid his explosives under his turban, a provincial official said.

The bomber walked up to the home of Hashmat Khalil Karzai to greet him after morning prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, and detonated the explosives after shaking hands with the president´s cousin, said the official.

  US: Russia Violated 1987 Nuclear Missile Treaty
    WASHINGTON, July 29: In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on Monday of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.

The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia´s intervention in Ukraine and Putin´s grant of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

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