EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

March 3, 2013

Nation Briefs

(Continued)

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re beginning to see the effects of citrus greening on the industry,” said Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner. “This is a situation where the state’s signature agricultural commodity faces an existential threat.”

Most of Florida’s biggest crop, Valencia oranges, is used for juice, and because of a surplus from last year, consumer prices are not expected to increase this year. But they could in the future.

Cast comings and goings at ‘Downton Abbey’ announced for the British drama’s 4th season

NEW YORK (AP) — Shirley MacLaine will be returning to “Downton Abbey” next season, and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa is joining the cast.

MacLaine will reprise her role as Martha Levinson, Lord Robert Crawley’s freewheeling American mother-in-law, Carnival Films and “Masterpiece” on PBS said Saturday. MacLaine appeared in episodes early last season.

New Zealand-born soprano Te Kanawa will play a house guest. She will sing during her visit.

NASCAR to look at placement of gates along fencing after Daytona crash injured fans

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — NASCAR will look at the placement of gates at its tracks after a Nationwide Series car crashed through the fence at Daytona and injured more than two dozen fans.

The fans were injured during the 12-car crash last Saturday when pieces of rookie Kyle Larson’s car ripped through the fence, including a section where a gate connects the grandstand and the track.

“I think because of where it came through and having pieces that did get through and it being a gate area, that’s really going to be the focus for us to look at,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President, Racing Operations said Saturday from Phoenix International Raceway. “We’re certainly going to look at fencing in general, but I think that particular area, that it was a gate, did impact it. We know the gate was locked, but does that provide as much stability as the rest of the fencing we believed it did? We’ve now got to look at that impact.”

The crash occurred on the final lap of the Nationwide race the day before the Daytona 500, when leader Regan Smith tried to block Brad Keselowski and triggered a chain reaction. Larson’s car went airborne during the wreck and slammed into the fence, sending debris into the stands.

O’Donnell said two injured fans remain at the hospital, but everyone else has been released.

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