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Smudged space image may be oldest galaxy

WASHINGTON -- The Hubble telescope has glimpsed a presumed galaxy that astronomers say just might be the oldest thing ever seen, a small, hot affair that blazed to life during the childhood of the cosmos 13 billion years ago.

Although Hubble has offered a generation's worth of spectacular images -- sparkling galaxies and stunning star clusters -- its latest quarry lacks charisma.

The presumed oldest galaxy is but a faint smudge on Hubble's Ultra Deep Field image, the astronomical equivalent of a days-long staring contest.

The Ultra Deep Field displays a roiling zoo of galaxies. But the oldest galaxy is nothing but a smear.

"The idea that you can detect something from the beginning of cosmic time by looking at a patch of sky for 87 hours is just wild," said Rychard Bouwens, the Dutch astronomer who led the discovery team.

The galaxy has been dated to the cosmos' childhood, only 500 million years after the Big Bang.

-- Washington Post

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Muslim cleric arrested after entering U.S.

SAN DIEGO -- U.S. border authorities have arrested a controversial Muslim cleric who was deported from Canada to Tunisia three years ago and was caught earlier this month trying to sneak into California in the trunk of a BMW, according to court documents.

Said Jaziri, the former Imam of a Muslim congregation in Montreal, was hidden in a car driven by a San Diego-area man who was pulled over by U.S. Border Patrol agents east of San Diego.

Jaziri allegedly paid a Tijuana-based smuggling group $5,000 to get him across the border near Tecate, saying he wanted to be taken to a "safe place anywhere in the U.S."

Jaziri, 43, a Tunisian immigrant, had been deported for failing to disclose a criminal conviction in France while applying for refugee status in the mid-1990s.

But Jaziri's supporters said he was targeted for his fundamentalist views: Jaziri backed Sharia law for Canadian Muslims and led protests over the publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2006.

-- Los Angeles Times

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Mosque wins approval after heated opposition

TEMECULA, Calif. (AP) -- The City Council voted early Wednesday to allow about 150 Muslim families to build a mosque in Temecula after months of angry debate over the plan that included protests and letter-writing campaigns.

In a nine-hour meeting that ended after 3:30 a.m., the Council voted 4-0 to approve the project.

Opponents had expressed fears that the Islamic Center of Temecula could bring extremist activity and traffic problems to the part of Riverside County, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The group plans to build, in two stages, a 25,000-square-foot, two-story mosque featuring domes topped with crescent moons.

Last year, residents flooded the city with letters about the mosque and attended raucous hearings about the project.

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