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COUNTDOWN clocks at the Kennedy Space Center began ticking Wednesday toward Saturday's scheduled liftoff of the shuttle Discovery on a satellite-delivery and astronomy research mission . . . THE PARENTS of a Japanese exchange student who was shot to death in Baton Rouge, La., when he knocked at the wrong door looking for a Halloween party are suing the man found innocent of manslaughter in the case . . . AN AIR FORCE MISSILE was test fired Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, successfully delivering dummy warheads to a target 4,800 miles away and creating a spectacular light show on the California coast.