Forecasters: Debby sets sights on Alabama, Florida

Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby’s outer bands lashed Florida with rain and kicked up rough surf off Alabama on Sunday, prompting storm warnings for those states and causing at least one death.

The death in Florida was blamed on a tornado spawned by the storm, while in Orange Beach, Ala., a 32-year-old man vanished in rough surf in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coastal Alabama and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle, were under tropical storm warnings. Forecasters discontinued a tropical storm warning for Louisiana after forecast models indicated Debby wasn’t likely to turn west.

Debby already has dumped heavy rain on parts of Florida and spawned isolated tornadoes, damaging homes and knocking down power lines.

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that several tornadoes moved through the area southeast of Tampa, damaging homes. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nell Hays said a woman was found dead in a house in Venus that was destroyed in the storm.

Residents in several counties near the crook of Florida’s elbow were urged to leave low-lying neighborhoods because of a flooding threat.

Debby’s center was essentially stationary about 110 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., on Sunday evening. Debby’s top sustained winds were at about 60 mph.


Chinese spacecraft docks with orbiting module

A Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts docked manually with an orbiting module Sunday, a first for the country as it strives to match U.S. and Russian exploits in space.

The Shenzhou 9 capsule’s maneuver with the Tiangong 1 module was shown live on national television.

The Chinese astronauts have been working in the module for a week in preparation for manning a permanent space station. They returned to the Shenzhou 9 capsule early Sunday and disconnected in preparation for the manual reconnection.

Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China’s manned space program, told reporters in Beijing that hand levers were used to control Shenzhou 9 and position it to dock with the orbiting module. The maneuver was “precise and perfect,” Wu said.


At least one person dead in collapse of mall roof

At least one person was feared dead and another trapped in the rubble of a roof collapse at a northern Ontario mall, authorities said Sunday.

More than 24 hours after Saturday afternoon’s collapse, rescue workers were unable to reach the victims because the structure was too unstable. They said it would take until early today before the structure was deemed safe enough for search and rescue teams to go back in.

A portion of the roof that serves as a parking area crumbled down two floors into an area near the Algo Centre Mall food court, leaving behind a hole that was 39 by 79 feet.

QUITO, Ecuador

Lonesome George, famed Galapagos tortoise, dies

The giant tortoise Lonesome George, a symbol of disappearing species, was found dead Sunday, officials at the Galapagos National Park announced.

Lonesome George was believed to be the last living member of the Pinta island subspecies and had become an ambassador of sorts for the islands off Ecuador’s coast whose unique flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution.

The tortoise’s age was not known but scientists believed he was about 100, not especially old for giant tortoises, who can live well over a century. He’d been expected to live another few decades at least.

Various mates had been provided for Lonesome George after he was found in 1972 in what proved unsuccessful attempts to keep his subspecies alive. The eggs he produced with two female tortoises were infertile.

He was found Sunday morning in his pen by his longtime keeper, Fausto Llerena, the park said in a statement. The park said the cause of his death would be investigated.