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Looking ahead

Looking Ahead | News to watch in the weeks to come

Issue: "Four horsemen of the apocalypse," Oct. 4, 2008

Town Hall debate

October 7: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain will have his chance to engage Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama in the Arizona senator's preferred format: the town hall debate. NBC's Tom Brokaw will moderate the event at Belmont University in Nashville exactly four weeks before Americans head to the polls to select the next president.

Atlantis takes off

October 10: When the Space Shuttle Atlantis blasts off on Oct. 10 to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the final time, it will also be the last time space shuttles will occupy both launch pads at one time. Because of Hubble's orbital positioning, Atlantis will be unable to retreat to the International Space Station in case of emergency. Therefore, NASA will have the Space Shuttle Endeavor on emergency stand-by throughout the mission in case it needs to stage a rescue.

Palin bio released

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October 10: Just 42 days after John McCain added Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP presidential ticket, the first post-vice-presidential-nomination biography should hit retail shelves. Christian publisher Zondervan and author Joe Hilley plan to release a favorable biography, Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader, just in time for a heated final month of campaigning.

Canadians poll-bound

October 14: While American politics sizzle through the fall, Canadians will head to the polls for the nation's third general election in four years on Oct. 14. With the present Canadian parliament "at the end of its productiveness," according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his ruling Conservative Party will try and consolidate some power away from the ­minority Liberals in an election that, like the contest held by its southern neighbor, could turn on high gas prices.

Big Tobacco in court

October 14: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments from lawyers contesting U.S. v. Philip Morris, a long-standing civil racketeering case brought against Philip Morris (now Altria Group) contending that executives at the tobacco giant conspired for years to mislead the public about health risks of so-called "low-tar" and "light" cigarettes. Lawyers for the federal government will ask the court to uphold a lower-court ruling in 2006 and will seek more than $12 billion in damages.

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