The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 06, 1999, Page 2, Image 2

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Wednesday, October 6,1999 _____ Page 2
Trains collide in London
■ At least 26 passengers
have died; search of
wreckage continues today.
LONDON (AP) - Two London
commuter trains smashed into each
other during rush hour Tuesday, killing
26 passengers and injuring 160 on the
same rail line as another fatal crash two
years ago.
Ambulance and fire crews, police
and rail workers swarmed around the
overturned, mangled rail cars for
hours, locating and freeing injured sur
vivors in the wreckage near the
Ladbroke Grove residential area in
west London.
Many passengers sobbed as they
described frantically crawling out bro
ken windows after Britain’s worst train
accident in more than a decade.
“I was thinking, ‘God, please don’t
let me die,”’ Stuart Allen said. “You’ve
got flames. You’ve got smoke. You’ve
got a big bang. You’ve just got to think
the worst.”
Police said one badly damaged car
could contain more bodies but called
off the search until daylight today.
The cause of the collision was not
immediately known, but health and
safety officials began an investigation.
Great Western, one of the train
companies involved in Tuesday’s dis
aster, had been fined $2.47 million for
“dereliction of duty” in connection
with the crash in 1997 that killed seven
people and injured 150 others.
“I felt an almighty bang,” passen
ger David Taylor said of Tuesday’s
crash, which occurred at 8:11 a.m. “I
looked up, and I could see the front of
the coach was on fire. There were balls
of flames coming down both sides.”
Emergency crews said 18 people
were seriously injured and 124 trans
ported to area hospitals.
“The injuries are among the worst I
have seen in my professional career,”
said Robin Touquet, an accident and
emergency consultant at St. Mary’s
Others were haunted by the cries of
those trapped in the wreckage.
“I could see people with blood
pouring down their faces,” said Joe
Bannerman, who was working nearby.
I could see people with blood pouring down
their faces.”
Joe Bannerman
London worker
“Someone was running with their
clothes on fire. I could see lots of peo
ple were burned badly on their faces
and hands.”
Authorities could not immediately
determine the total number of passen
gers aboard the trains. Great Western
said as many as 500 people might have
been on board its train. Thames Trains’
cars may have carried 150 passengers.
While safety officials were cau
tious about speculating the cause of the
collision, many said it was possible
that the investigation would study the
1997 Southall crash in its search for
The immediate cause of the
Southall accident was that the driver
had bent down to pack a bag and went
through two amber warning lights and
a red signal. But an inquiry said a con
tributing factor was that two automatic
safety devices were not fully operative
as the train traveled at speeds of up to
125 mph.
Great Western pleaded guilty to the
charge that it exposed passengers to
risks to their safety in that crash.
“To have two very serious fatal
accidents is a great tragedy and obvi
ously a great disappointment,” said
Victor Coleman, Britain’s chief inspec
tor of railways. “What we need to do is
to learn the lesson and prevent this sort
of thing from happening again.”
Tuesday’s accident was Britain’s ,
worst rail crash since December 1988,
when three trains collided outside
London’s Clapham Junction, killing 35
Stocks fluctuate
after rate decision
■ Interest rates were left -
alone for now, but the
central bank warns
increase could be pending.
Federal Reserve left interest rates
unchanged Tuesday, passing up a
chance to boost rates a third time since
June. But the central bank warned that
further increases could still be needed
to cool the booming economy and
keep inflation under control.
The Fed’s warning sent stock
prices on a wild roller-coaster ride dur
ing the final two hours of trading,
swinging from a gain of 106 points to a
124-point loss. The Dow then
rebounded to finish down by 0.64
point at 10,400.59.
Interest rate jitters also pounded
the bond market, where a sharp drop in
demand pushed the yield on 30-year
Treasury bonds up to 6.17 percent, the
highest level since early August
Stocks had posted a 128-point gain
on Monday in hopes that the Fed
would not raise rates and would also
keep its policy directive, meant to sig
nal possible foture moves, at neutral.
The Fed raised its target for the fed
eral funds rate, for the first time June
30, then followed that action with
another quarter-point raise on Aug. 24,
pushing the funds rate to 5.25 percent.
Commercial banks matched those
increases with similar quarter-point
increases in their prime lending rate,
the benchmark for millions of con
sumer and business loans. The prime
rate now stands at 8.25 percent.
After the August increase, the Fed
left its policy directive at neutral, say
ing it believed its two quarter-point rate
hikes “should markedly diminish the
risk of rising inflation going forward.”
However, since that time, various
economic statistics have shown that
the economy has continued to grow
strongly, powered by strong consumer
spending and the lowest unemploy
ment rate in almost three decades.
In its statement, the Fed said “the
growth of demand has continued to
outpace that of supply, evidenced by a
decreasing pool of available workers.
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Lincoln NE 68588-0448. Periodical postage paid at Lincoln, NE.
Clinton says nuclear
test ban fight still on
■ Senate’s top Democrat
says that the support isn’t
there to ratify the measure.
Senate’s top Democrat on foreign
affairs issues told President Clinton
Tuesday the votes aren’t there to ratify
an international ban on nuclear test
The immediate White House reac
tion was that Clinton would continue
to fight. “The vote’s still scheduled for
Tuesday, and the president is going to
continue to make the case,” National
Security Council spokesman David
Leavy said.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said
that while all 45 Senate Democrats are
prepared to support the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty next
Tuesday when a vote is scheduled, any
Republican support that might have
existed appears to be disappearing.
“Republicans have evaporated into
the ether” on the treaty, he said. At
least 22 Republican senators would
have to join the 45 Democrats for the
pact to be ratified.
Biden said his instinct was that
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R
Miss., would withdraw the treaty from
the Senate calendar.
Lott said he would consider that.
“If they would indicate some will
ingness to let the next administration
and the next Congress consider this
and vote on it, we’d entertain that,”
Lott told reporters.
On Tuesday, the Senate is sched
uled to vote on the treaty, a troubled
Clinton administration initiative
signed by 154 nations but ratified by
only two of the seven acknowledged
nuclear powers, Britain and France.
The Senate Armed Services
Committee opened three days of hear
ings Tuesday on the treaty. The first
session, a closed one, explored a cen
tral question: Can the United States
maintain the integrity of its nuclear
arsenal without occasional testing?
“If there were some feeling of
weakness about that stockpile, it could
induce a leader of another nation or
some terrorist to challenge the United
States,” said the committee chairman,
Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
Senate critics say the treaty, which
would ban all nuclear testing and set
up a seismic monitoring network to
gauge compliance, is seriously flawed
- and unverifiable because there are
ways to muffle atomic blasts. They
contend it would not prevent U.S. ene
mies or terrorist elements from devel
oping nuclear weapons.
Russian forces advance
GROZNY, Russia (AP) - The dis
tant echo of crashing artillery rounds
signaled the approach of the Russian
military Tuesday - now only 15 miles
outside Chechnya’s gloomy capital.
Russian forces have seized the
northern third of Chechnya, Russian
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in
Russian troops battled Chechen
forces near Chervlyonnaya, on the
Terek River 15 miles northeast of
Grozny, the Chechen capital.
The Interfax news agency said the
Russians had taken the bridge across the
river, though the report could not be
confirmed. The sound of the Russian
artillery could be heard in Grozny.
Russia took military action after
Muslim militants based in Chechnya
invaded neighboring Dagestan in
August and September, seeking to cre
ate an Islamic state in southern Russia.
The mood in Grozny was bleak.
Markets were open and food was dis
played in the stalls, but business was
poor. Gas, water and telephone services
have been cut, and there is electricity for
only a few hours a day.
Chechen President Aslan
Maskhadov on Tuesday night declared
martial law, Interfax reported.
Many Chechen civilians are critical
of both the Russian government and
their own leaders, saying there was no
need for a new war. Most denounced the
Chechen warlords who helped trigger
the fighting by raiding Dagestan.
■ New York
Regulators question
benefits of buyout
WorldCom Inc.’s bold $115 bil
lion plan to take over Sprint Corp.
and unite the nation’s second- and
third-largest long-distance com
panies met immediate resistance
from a top federal regulator who
asked “How can this be good for
MCI WorldCom and Sprint,
however, insist their deal, the rich
est corporate buyout ever, would
strengthen competition across the
WorldCom, as the combined
company will be known, could
offer customers local and long
distance service, as well as mobile
phone, paging and Internet prod
ucts, all for one, flat-rate monthly
Regulators, however, point to
WorldCom’s control of 36 percent
of the $110 billion U.S. long-dis
tance market, second only to
AT&T Corp.’s 43 percent.
■South Korea
Leak exposes 22 workers
to radioactive water
SEOUL, South Korea (AP)
-Radioactive water leaked inside
a South Korean nuclear power
plant during repair work, expos
ing 22 workers to small amounts
of radiation, the government said
About 12 gallons of so-called
“heavy water” was leaked during
the accident Monday evening at a
nuclear plant in Wolsung, 190
miles southeast of the capital
Seoul, the Science and
Technology Ministry said in a
It said the radioactive water
was contained inside the plant and
did not escape into the environ
The mishap followed neigh
boring Japan’s worst nuclear acci
dent, in which at least 49 people
were exposed to radiation last
The town or Tokaimura was
temporarily closed down amid
heightened fears about the safety
of Japan’s nuclear plants.
■ NewYoric
College tuition rise is
smallest in four years
NEW YORK (AP) - College
tuition and fees rose an average of
less than 5 percent this year - the
smallest increase in four years -
thanks in part to the booming
economy. But the increase was
still more than twice the rate of
The average tuition at a four
year private college in 1999-2000
is $15,380, a 4.6 percent increase
over last year, according to a sur
vey released Tuesday by The
College Board.
That doesn’t include the aver
age room-and-board cost of
$5,959, up 3.6 percent from last
In-state tuition at public four
year schools averages $3,356, a
3.4 percent increase, while out-of
state tuition is $8,706, a rise of 3
Room and board at those
schools average $4,730, a 4.6 per
cent rise.