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Pilot to be punished
for ski-lift accident
■ Other Marines
may be disciplined
for the incident, in
which 20 were killed.
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Marines involved in the Italian
cable car accident that sent 20
people to their deaths will face
disciplinary action in connec
tion with the incident, Pentagon
officials said Wednesday.
The Marine Corps has com
pleted its investigation into the
incident by finding that the
pilot of the EA-6B Prowler was
responsible for the incident and
was flying too low, said two
officials familiar with the
The jet severed a ski-lift
cable in northern Italy, plung
ing a cable car containing 20
people into the valley below.
The results were to be
announced today at the U.S. air
base in Aviano, Italy, by Maj.
Gen. Michael DeLpng, presi
dent of the accident investiga
tion board and deputy comman
der of the U.S. Marine Corps
Forces Atlantic, headquartered
in Norfolk, Va.
“They found pilot error. The
plane was flying too low,” said
one official, adding that at one
point the aircraft was found to
have been only 300 feet from
the ground, when it should have
been flying at 1,000 feet.
“We expect they will refer
the matter for disciplinary
action,” the official said,
adding that the final decision
will be up to the three-star
Marine general in Norfolk, Lt.
Gen. Peter Pace, commander of
the Marine forces in the
A second official said it was
possible that more than one
individual could be disciplined
in the matter, but Pace will have
to decide exactly what disci
pline process might be fol
That could include an
Article 32 hearing, which
would be a preliminary action
in the event of a court martial.
The aircraft had a four-man
crew on temporary assignment
at Aviano from the Marine Air
Station at Cherry Point, N.C.
They are also the target of a
civilian investigation by Italian
The crew of the Prowler has
been grounded since the acci
dent and could face serious
charges if investigators say
they were negligent.
The Marines have said the
Prowler clearly was below its
authorized limit of 1,000 feet
when it hit the lift cables on a
clear afternoon on Feb. 3. The
cable was about 370 feet off the
ground at the point of impact.
They also admitted that the ski
resort at Cavalese was not on
the crew’s map.
The crew’s Italian lawyer
suggested earlier that the
plane’s altimeter might have
malfunctioned, but subsequent
tests reportedly showed that it
The Italian air force says the
Prowler was off course, and
residents of the Alpine valley
where the accident happened
say it looked like the pilot was
Undersecretary of Defense
Massimo Brutti pLans his.pwn
news conference today after the
The tragedy stirred strong
anti-American feelings in Italy,
especially when Aviano was
less than forthcoming at the
outset with Italian investiga
tors. It drew attention to
demands from the Communist
party to close down U.S. bases
Aviano is one of the biggest
United States air bases in Italy,
a staunch NATO ally. The
United States also has several
important navy and army bases
Heads have already rolled as
a result of the incident. The
Marine Corps relieved a
colonel of his squadron com
mand at Cherry Point, saying
he had ordered subordinates to
get rid of videotapes showing
Marine aircraft in low-flying
training missions similar to one
on Feb. 3. - *
Editor: PadoUvigno OuMtto^Coni™*? Artlorlh.
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ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1998
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
-:4 - ■ ' . - ■ . • ' 7 ' , ’ .
■ ; ■■ 1 . . - t r
TV v-chip technology
will soon be available
New sets will be able to block unwanted programs
WASHINGTON (AP) - Regulators are about to take
the final step toward making available TV sets that let
viewers block unwanted shows based on ratings.
The Federal Communications Commission, carry
ing out the wishes of Congress and the Clinton admin
istration, is expected today to adopt technical standards
for equipping sets with the “v-chip” blocking technolo
A 1996 telecommunications law requires that tele
visions sold in the United States with screens 13 inches
and larger must eventually have the blocking technolo
gy built in. Roughly 23 million sets are sold each year
in the United States.
The v-chip will work with TV ratings for sex, vio
lence and language content aired on broadcast and
cable programs. New detailed ratings began Oct. 1 on
ABC, CBS, Fox and major cable networks. NBC will
continue using the less-specific ratings it now airs and
that the rest of the industry previously used. Lawmakers
are pressuring NBC to join the rest of the industry.
The FCC also is expected to approve the detailed
ratings system now in use. The 1996 law requires the
FCC to review the system’s effectiveness.
NBC officials, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said they don’t foresee anything in the FCC’s upcoming
actions that would prevent the network from continuing
to use its rating system. The officials also said viewers
would be able to use the v-chip with NBC’s ratings to
/• TV manufacturers say sets equipped with blocking
technologyprobably won’t be in stores until next year.
The FCC is expected to give manufacturers more
time than originally proposed to have all new sets
equipped with v-chips, according to commission and
industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Under that delay, manufacturers would be required to
have half the sets sold in America have blocking tech
nology by July 1999 and all of them by one year later,
industry sources said. That’s a year later than the FCC
proposed last year.
The manufacturers said they needed at least 18
months to retool production lines after the FCC adopt
ed the v-chip technical standards.
The costs of v-chip sets will
be very modest, if noticeable at
“The costs of v-chip sets will be very modest, if
noticeable at all,” said Jonathan Thompson, spokesman
for the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers
Association, estimating it would add $5 to $20 per set.
In high-end sets consumers probably won’t see a price
change, he said.
Manufacturers aren’t bracing for a consumer stam
pede for v-chip sets.
“Nobody has been clamoring for them,” said
People usually buy a new television every eight
years. The industry estimates it would take four to six
years for sets equipped with the v-chip to be in half of
the nation’s 98 million TV households. There are now
250 million sets in the United States.
Blocking technology is also expected to be put into
cable set-top boxes and devices that people can buy and
attach to their televisions.
Since the fall, ABC, CBS, Fox and major cable net
works have been airing more detailed ratings that use
the notations “V,” “S,” “L” and “D” to flag violence,
sexual situation, coarse language and suggestive dia
logue. One or more letters are added, when needed, to
the “TV-PG” for parental guidance suggested, “TV-14”
for programs unsuitable for children under 14 and “TV
MA” for mature audiences only.
NBC is not adding these letter notations, but is
using age-based ratings including “TV-PG,” “TV-14”
Both ratings systems also use “TV-G,” suitable for
all ages, and special ratings for children’s programs.
Clinton reconsiders plan to neuter his dog
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sorry,
Buddy, it’s for your own good.
After consulting with his vet -
and hearing an appeal from actress
Doris Day - President Clinton has
decided to neuter his new puppy.
The reluctant president
reserved the right to change his
mind. In announcing Clinton’s
decision Tuesday, White House
spokesman Barry Toiv said
Clinton was “inclined” to allow
The Humane Society of the
United States, the nation’s largest
animal protection group, applaud
ed Clinton’s decision, saying he
was doing the right thing to his
“Neutering or spaying dogs
and cats is one of the most impor
tant acts a responsible pet owner
can take,” said Martha Armstrong,
a society vice president. “It pro
motes better physical and behav
ioral health for dogs and cats, and
it helps to address the pet over
Clinton set no immediate date
for putting Buddy under the knife,
leaving some to wonder whether
the 7-month-old chocolate
Labrador retriever has been told of
“Buddy’s a little too young to
understand,” Toiv said.
Buddy seemed blissfully
unaware of any pending surgery as
he played fetch with Clinton on
the South Lawn with a green ten
nis ball Tuesday.
White House press secretary
Mike McCurry said today the pro
cedure was “not likely anytime
soon given the dog’s age.”
Toiv said Clinton’s decision
was driven by concerns for
Buddy’s health. He denied that it
was motivated by the more than a
few salty confrontations the dog
has had with Socks, the family cat.
Dr. Jacqueline Suarez, a veteri
narian with the Alexandria (Va.)
Animal Hospital, said neutering
can help curb dogs’ aggression
toward other animals and tenden
cy to urinate in unwelcome places.
“Although, if we have people
questioning if they should or
shouldn’t, those health reasons are
good reasons to neuter as well, so
we’ll use them as part of the case
for neutering,” Suarez said.
Doris Day, president of the
Doris Day Animal League, sent
Clinton a letter in December
expressing concern that Buddy
would suffer health problems if he
were left intact. Among them was
a risk of testicular'cancer and
prostate infections that could lead
to problems with urination.
In January, Clinton spokesman
Mike McCurry said there were no
plans to neuter Buddy, who had
moved into the White House in
Clinton physician Connie
Mariano has now told Day in a let
ter that the Clintons had decided
to neuter the dog on the advice of
Armstrong said Buddy need
not worry about losing his procre
“Pets don’t have any concept of
sexual identity or ego. Neutering a
male dog or cat will not change his
basic personality,” she said. “He
doesn’t suffer any kind of emo
tional reaction or identity crisis
Got that, Buddy?
Pets don’t have any concept of sexual
identity or ego. Neutering a male dog or cat
will not change his basic personality ”
Humane Society vice president
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