WASHINGTON, D.C.

VA secretary reiterates apology for false claim

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized again for falsely claiming to a homeless vet in Los Angeles last month that he had served in the military’s special forces.

“I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces,” McDonald said outside the VA office in Washington. “I apologize for that. I have no excuse for it.”

McDonald, a West Point graduate, served five years with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He qualified as an Army Ranger but did not serve in a Ranger regiment or other special forces unit. The White House said it accepted his apology, and he faced no serious demands for his resignation.

SALT LAKE CITY

Chinese rocket booster creates Western fireball

People from Arizona to Canada looked up at the sky late Monday to see a cluster of weird lights followed by an orange tail streaking across the night.

The lights were not a meteor, but a Chinese rocket booster that broke apart, said Maj. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command.

There were no reports of damage or injuries, O’Donnell said, pointing to statistics showing there is a 1 in a trillion chance of being hit by space debris.

Canadian photographer Neil Zeller was on his way home from shooting the Northern Lights when he saw the cluster of fireballs in a rural area outside of Calgary about 11 p.m. MST. “I’d never seen anything like it,” he said. More than 150 people reported seeing the group of about three dozen fireballs, said Mike Hankey with the American Meteor Society. It lingered in the sky for more than a minute, showing slow movement that is a sure sign of a man-made object, he said. Naturally occurring meteors last just a few seconds.

– From news service reports