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Police downplay link to Calif. girl's death

A brazen kidnapping attempt in the Sierra Nevada foothills not far from where an 8-year-old girl was stabbed to death in her home most likely is a bizarre coincidence, investigators said Wednesday.Full story

U.S. Air Force defends Afghan plane contract award

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force on Monday defended a decision to award a contract for 20 light attack planes for Afghanistan to U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corp and its Brazilian partner Embraer SA <EMBR3.SA> after scrapping an earlier contract to the companies. Full story

Space plane poised for big test flight

A private space plane is slated to fly on its own for the first time in the next six to eight weeks, a key drop-test milestone in the vehicle's quest to fly astronauts on roundtrip space missions. Full story

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Sierra Nevada's age? Space radar offers clue

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  A promising sign for California’s water supply

The amount of snow pack determines how much water the state will have in the summer, and so far the Sierra Nevada snow is 134 percent greater than normal. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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In this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, Sutter Gold Mining Company mill superintendent Paul Skinner displays a four ounce pyramid of gold he has just poured at the newly constructed mill near Sutter Creek, Calif. The company announced Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, that it poured its first gold as it