National news briefs — April 18

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12 injured in refinery fire

A fire Wednesday at an ExxonMobil refinery in Southeast Texas left 12 contract workers injured, officials said. A Beaumont Fire Department spokesman said three of those injured were critically burned. Other workers suffered burns and broken bones. ExxonMobil spokeswoman Rachael L. Moore said the fire happened around 10:30 a.m. in a process unit that was down for maintenance. Such units are involved in processing crude oil into refined products. The company says the fire was quickly brought under control and has been extinguished. ExxonMobil said all employees and contractors working in the area of the process unit have been accounted for.


Pot licensing put on hold

Washington state is delaying its timeline for granting marijuana growing and processing licenses — and that means legal marijuana sales likely won’t begin before spring of next year. Rather than issue growing licenses this summer and processor licenses this fall, as called for in a tentative prior timeline, the Liquor Control Board will issue all licenses Dec. 1, spokesman Brian Smith said Wednesday. That means the growers likely won’t be able to get to work until December, and the final product probably won’t be ready for a couple of months after that.


Rocket launch halted

A private company hired by NASA to make supply runs to the International Space Station scrubbed a Wednesday test launch of an unmanned rocket, saying an important data cord linked to the rocket’s second stage detached too soon. The towering Antares rocket had been scheduled to blast off Wednesday afternoon from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore when the countdown clock was halted at the 12-minute mark. Barron Beneski, a spokesman for Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corp., said another launch attempt would be tried no sooner than Friday afternoon. Orbital crews were expected to examine the rocket through the night to determine how the ethernet cable came loose. Several other cables in the same area all remained attached to the rocket. Orbital officials had said initially they suspected high winds.

Compiled from wire reports.

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