GRAPEVINE, Texas

Perry chides lawmaker for filibuster to kill abortion limits

Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday admonished the star of a Democratic filibuster that helped kill new Texas abortion restrictions, saying state Sen. Wendy Davis’ rise from a tough upbringing to Harvard Law graduate should have taught her the value of each human life.

The Republican governor expanded on those remarks later, publicly wondering what might have happened if Davis’ own mother had undergone an abortion rather than carry her child to term.

Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, shot back that Perry’s statement “tarnishes the high office he holds.”

WASHINGTON

Deal means space tourism may see a launch in 2015

A new breed of vacationers — space tourists — could launch from Central Florida as soon as 2015 under an agreement that would put Florida officials in charge of the 3-mile runway at Kennedy Space Center that once was used by space shuttles.

The preliminary deal, to be announced Friday by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, would give Space Florida, the state’s public-private promoter of the space industry, control of one of the largest landing strips in the world.

Now it looks likely that the shuttle runway will host a new different type of space traveler: tourists and scientists making suborbital trips on “space planes” that can launch from and land on the big landing strip.

UNITED NATIONS

Rape of nine young girls in Congo raises fears

The U.N. is raising the alarm about the recent rape of nine young girls in conflict-ridden eastern Congo, the youngest 18 months old. Two of the girls died, though their ages weren’t released.

Two officials say the girls were admitted to Panzi Hospital in South Kivu province over the past two months with serious internal wounds.

U.N. special representative to Congo Roger Meece and UNICEF representative Barbara Bentein released a statement through U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey on Thursday.

The U.N. has said various armed groups are linked to rapes in eastern Congo.

BAGHDAD

Iraq, U.S. looking at ways to cooperate on security

Iraq is open to greater American military cooperation as U.S. commanders explore ways to boost security assistance to the country, a top Iraqi official said Thursday as a fresh wave of bombings claimed 16 lives.

The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has recommended that military American commanders look for ways to help improve the military capabilities of Iraq and Lebanon, which both face the risk of spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Dempsey said the assistance would not involve sending U.S. combat troops, but could involve U.S. training teams and accelerating sales of weapons and equipment.

The last American combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, ending a nearly nine-year war that cost nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives.