The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 01, 2000, Page 2, Image 2

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    News Diaest
PARIS - The first word that
something had gone terribly
wrong with the Concorde cafne
from die control tower wheiyjie
plane was in die air, according toa
preliminary report made public
Thursday by investigators prob
ing the fiery crash.
“Concorde zero... 4590, You
have flames. You have flames
behind you,” the control tower
It was 4:43 p.m. on July 25. Air
France flight 4590, a sleek super
sonic Concorde, had just lifted its
needle nose toward the heavens
after roaring down the runway at
breathtaking speed.
Seven seconds after the mes
sage from the control tower at
Charles de Gaulle airport, the
chief navigator confirmed,
“Breakdown eng... breakdown
engine two.”
“Cut engine two,” he said, four
seconds later.
The aircraft tried to gain
speed for an emergency landing.
But pilot Christian Marty could be
heard saying: “Too late.”
The chilling seconds - during
which a vacation jaunt to America
by a group of German tourists was
transformed into a tragedy - were
resurrected in five minutes of
cockpit conversation posted on
the Internet on Thursday.
They were part of a highly
technical 75-page preliminary
report by France's Accident and
Inquiry Office, the investigators
probing the crash.
All 109 passengers and crew
died when the Concorde, spew
ing flames, dove into a hotel near
the airport. Four people were
killed on the ground
It was the first crash in the
Concorde’s 24 years of commer
cial flying history. The Concorde’s
airworthiness certification was
withdrawn by France and Britain
- the only countries which oper
ate the 12 remaining planes - in
early August
The Accident and Inquiry
Office has said it believed a tire
blowout was at the origin of a“cat
astrophic chain of events” that
sent the Concorde plummeting to
die ground, its left wing afire.
Tyler Hicks/Newsmakers Liaison
In control:
Security gunmen
work to contain
the crowd as
they wait for
Salad Hassan,
the new Somali
Wednesday ata
stadium in
thousands of
crowded into the
stadium to see
the new presi
dent but when
the crowd
became too con
gested, Hassan's
speech had to be
cut short Several
people were seri
ously injured as
the crowd
rushed to leave
the stadium.
Tire death toll may grow by 26
authorities said Thursday that 26
more U.S. traffic deaths - for a
total of 88 - are under investiga
tion in connection with recalled
Firestone tires.
Meanwhile, authorities in
Venezuela recommended crimi
nal prosecution of Ford Motor Co.
and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
for deaths there.
The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration has
received more than 1,400 com
plaints, including reports of 88
deaths and more than 250
injuries, since opening its investi
gation into Firestone tires that
reportedly lose their tread, some
times while traveling at highway
NHTSA spokesman Rae
Tyson said the death toll included
77 fatalities reported directly to
the agency and 11 reported by
Previously the agency said it
was looking into 62 deaths from
accidents that could have been
the result of blowouts, tread sepa
ration and other problems with
the tires.
The agency was poised to
upgrade the probe, an official
said, from a preliminary investi
gation in which the agency asked
the companies for paperwork of
an engineering analysis, during
which government engineers
studied parts to see if they were
Bridgestone/Firestone is
recalling 6.5 million of the ATX,
ATX II and Wilderness AT tires in
the United States, but NHTSA is
still determining if the recall
includes all defective tires.
Congress is holding a hearing
next week, and Ford CEO Jac
Nasser announced Thursday at a
news conference that he would
testify, reversing his earlier deci
sion. Nasser also expressed sym
pathy to those affected by prob
lems with the tires, often found on
Ford vehicles.
“At this point it's a very diffi
cult situation, I would say, for
everyone,” Nasser said. “I would
like you to know that I’m sorry
that these defective tires are on
our vehicles, and I’m depressed
about the resulting anxiety,
injuries and deaths."
Nasser said the problem “was
a tire issue, not a vehicle issue.”
The Venezuelan consumer
protection agency, known as
Indecu, issued a report Thursday
to the country’s attorney general
7 would like you to know that I’m sorry that these defec
tive tires are on our vehicles, and I’m depressed about the
resulting anxiety, injuries and deaths."
Jac Nasser
Ford CEO
alleging Ford and
Bridgestone/Firestone sup
pressed information about
defects in Firestone’s Wilderness
As complaints about the tires
mounted, die companies held a
secret meeting in early 1999
where they agreed to change the
tire design ratherthan issue a
recall, IndecuPjesident Samuel
Ruh said. Ford eventually recalled
tires in some foreign countries in
August 1999, and in Venezuela last
The delay, the report said,
could have resulted in “many
consumers of their products los
ing their lives or the lives of their
loved ones.”
Chief Indecu investigator
Jorge Dominguez said "approxi
mately 46 deaths” in Venezuela
could be linked to accidents
involving Ford Explorers and
Firestone tires.
“We believe that all people
who suffered should be compen
sated for the human and material
damages,” the report said.
Nasser insisted Ford did not
cover up the problem.
“I want to just emphasize the
accusation from the Venezuelan
government official that Ford
Venezuela lied is completely
unfounded,” he said. "We did not
lie to the Venezuelan govern
The Indecu report indicated
that the Firestone tires and the
Ford Explorer design made a
“deadly combination.” Indecu
said Ford should offer to replace
its suspension system on
Explorers and
Bridgestone/Firestone should
expand its recall. *
Ruh said a conviction for
involuntary manslaughter in
product liability cases could
result in jail terms of three to eight
years under Venezuelan law. The
attorney general will decide
whether to bring criminal
charges, he said.
Partly cloudy
high 89, low 71
Partly cloudy
high 93, low 70
Partly cloudy
high 91, low 68
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Plans to let
Serbs vote
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -
Caught between the United States
and European powers, Kosovo's
chief U.N. administrator consult
ed with Western diplomats
Thursday on President Slobodan
Milosevic’s surprise plans to allow
Kosovo Serbs to vote in Yugoslav
Milosevic’s plans added a new
element of volatility to already
high political tensions and securi
ty concerns in the province.
Washington opposes includ
ing Kosovo in the Sept. 24 elec
tions, while European govern
ments are not as adamant, point
ing out that Kosovo formally
remains part ofYugoslavia, even if
presently run by NATO and the
United Nations, said the officials,'
speaking on condition of
The officials did not specify
why the Americans were
opposed, but security concerns
were one possible reason. The
province remains a violent place
more than a year after Milosevic’s
forces pulled out and NATO and
the United Nations moved in,
with politically and ethnically
motivated killings a daily occur
Any plans to include the
province in the Yugoslav parlia
mentary and presidential elec
tions is a sure recipe for violence
against Serbs and voting facilities.
Additionally, the move by
Milosevic could be an attempt to
gain popularity by showing Serbs
outside the province that Kosovo
remains part of their republic,
which makes up Yugoslavia along
with Montenegro. Many Serbs
blame the Yugoslav president for
losing Kosovo to the United
Nations and NATO.
Putin rips media, tycoons
■ The Russian president blames the
downsizing of the country's military on
the power of business leaders; critics say
he is only trying to deflect criticism.
MOSCOW - In a rare public display of
anger, President Vladimir Putin accused
business tycoons and independent media
of ruining the country’s military and
sought to distance himself from the legacy
of his predecessors.
Putin’s remarks, made at last week’s
closed meeting with relatives of 118 sea
men who died when the nuclear subma
rine Kursk sank, were his strongest criti
cism yet of the so-called oligarchs - the
magnates who acquired their fortunes
thanks in part to close links with the
Kremlin during Boris Yeltsin’s rule.
“They have embezzled enough,
bought up the media, and are now manip
ulating public opinion,” Putin said,
according to a transcript of an audio tape
published by the Vlast weekly. The maga
zine belongs to the most politically aggres
sive of all Russia’s tycoons: Boris
Putin’s government has been harshly
criticized in Russia and abroad for its ini
tial reluctance to accept foreign aid, which
was offered immediately after the Kursk
exploded and sank in the Barents Sea on
Aug. 12. Russia’s own rescue efforts were
bungled by the lack of deep-sea divers, but
the authorities agreed to invite British and
Norwegian rescue teams only after a four
day delay.
Facing tears and angry shouts at the
Aug. 22 meeting at the Vidyayevo subma
rine base, Putin defended himself and the
military, saying the authorities had done
all they could. He quickly blamed the fail
ure of the salvage efforts on the economic
turmoil that resulted from the chaotic
reforms of his predecessors - Mikhail
Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
“I'm ready to account for the 100 days
that I have been president. As for the previ
ous 15 years, I’m ready to sit on the same
bench with you and pose these questions
to others.”
The president’s statements appeared
aimed at deflecting criticism rather than
signaling a new attack on the oligarchs or
an attempt to sever his links with Yeltsin’s
"Putin owes his election victory to
YeltsinVteam,” said Yevgeny Volk, the
director of the Heritage Foundation’s
Moscow office. “His statement is no more
than a public relations effort, an attempt
to shift the blame.”
Pressed with questions about the
Russian Navy’s bungled rescue effort,
Putin said the answer was in the pitiful
state of the military, which is struggling to
survive a drastic funding shortage.
“As for rescue equipment, it has been
ruined and there isn't a fig left,” he said.
“There isn’t a fig left in the country.”
He said the nation could no longer
afford a huge army and should drastically
cut the number of men and weapons in
order to increase military wages and the
army's combat effectiveness.
Putin pointed at the tycoons as the cul
prits for Russia’s economic and military
decay, saying they had their media "lie”
about the disaster in order to blackmail
the government.
“The people on television,... who for
10 years were destroying the army and the
navy where people are now dying, are the
first among the army’s defenders,” Putin
said. “Then ^oal is to discredit and com
pletely ruin the army and navy.”
He wouldn’t name names, but he was
clearly referring to both Berezovsky and
Vladimir Gusinsky - the owners of Russia’s
largest media empires.
“They want to influence the mass
audience in order to show the military and
political leadership that we need them
(the media), that we sire on their hook and
must fear and obey them and let them fur
ther rob the country, the army and the
navy,” Putin said.
Putin has previously sought to dis
tance himself from the oligarchs, and the
authorities earlier this year took action
against some of the nation’s largest com
panies, accusing them of tax evasion or
illegal privatization.
Gusinsky, whose media outlets have
repeatedly criticized the Kremlin, spent
several days in jail in June on charges of
defrauding the state. The charges were
later dropped — but the case had already
provoked international concern about
media freedom in Russia.
The Associated Press
Groups oppose
Philip Monis donations
American Lung Association and
other smoking opponents
called on California community
groups to reject donations from
Philip Morris, accusing the
tobacco company of using
charity to deceive the public
and curry favor with politicians.
Health advocates and pri
vate citizens said Wednesday
that they were outraged by
Philip Morris advertisements
highlighting its philanthropy.
Peggy Roberts, spokes
woman for Phillip Morris, said
the company wants to better
inform people about its philan
thropy, promote awareness of
causes like domestic violence,
and let people know that Philip ,
Morris, is more than just tobac
Among the groups turning
down the money were the
Democratic National
Convention's local host com
mittee and the West San Gabriel
Valley Boys & Girls Club, said
Pat Etem, spokeswoman for L~A
Link, an umbrella organization
for anti-tobacco groups.
Shallow-water shark attack
claims man's life
swimming in shallow water in
the Intracoastal Waterway was
killed in a shark attack wit
nessed by his wife.
Thadeus Kubinski, 69, was
dead by*the time emergency
workers arrived following the
rare shark sighting in the water
way, St. Pete Beach Fire Chief
Fred Golliner said.
Kubinski’s son Edward said
his mother, Anna, told him the
couple went swimming in 5 feet
of water about 10 feet off his
dock in Boca Ciega Bay.
Mrs. Kubinski, who was too
distressed to speak with the
media, noticed her husband
struggling with a marine animal
and leaped out of the water to
seek help. She told another son,
Richard, she saw a dorsal fin
that was “just like the Jaws situ
FBI nabs suspect
in phony press release case
suspected of putting out a
bogus press release that sent a
high-tech company’s stock
plummeting last week has been
arrested. The FBI said the man
made nearly $250,000 on the
The phony release, issued
last Friday, said that the chief
executive of Emulex, a Costa
Mesa maker of fiber-optic
equipment, had quit and that
the company was restating its
quarterly earnings from a profit
to a loss.
Emulex's stock plunged as
much as 62 percent in the min
utes after several financial news
services ran stories based on
the fake release.
The stock eventually recov
ered most of its ground after the
company denied the reports.
Government reports drug use
down second year in a row
Teen-agers are continuing
to shun illegal drugs, with
reported use falling for a second
year in a row, the government
said Thursday.
Though more young adults
are reporting drug use, federal
health officials and interest
groups said a survey shows that
anti-drug messages are nipping
lifelong abuse in the bud.
The National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse was
released by McCaffrey and
Health and Human Services
Secretary Donna Shalala.
In the survey, 9 percent of
12-to-17-year-olds questioned
said they had used an illegal
drug such as marijuana or hero
in within the previous month.
That is down from 9.9 percent
who said they did so in 1998;
and the 11.4 percent that did so
in 1997.
Shalala repeatedly stressed
a deep downward trend from
1997 through 1999, billing it as
"a statistically significant
Use among young adults,
18-to-25-year-olds, continued
its steady rise, according to the
household survey of 67,000
people ages 12 and up.