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Archive for Tuesday, September 12, 2000

News briefs

September 12, 2000

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Massachusetts

Joan Kennedy charged in court

Joan B. Kennedy, the former wife of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy who has described herself as a recovering alcoholic, has been charged with drunken driving on Cape Cod.

Kennedy, 64, pleaded innocent Monday to charges of driving under the influence and to refusing to provide a license or registration when she was stopped Sunday night.

Sgt. Arthur Caiado said police received a call at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday from a motorist reporting a car being driven erratically and swerving over the center line.

When police arrived, Kennedy was outside the car, police said. She gave her name only as Joan and refused to give the officer any other identification, police said.

Kennedy has spent time in a number of rehabilitation programs following arrests for drunken driving. According to the Cape Cod Times, she was arrested in Virginia in 1974, in Barnstable in 1988 and was ordered into alcohol treatment in 1991 after an arrest in Quincy.

Detroit

GM warns of air bag problem

General Motors Corp. has warned owners of 290,000 Buick and Oldsmobile sedans that driver-side air bags could deploy unexpectedly, but a recall will not begin until later this year because GM does not have parts to fix the problem.

GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said 60 injuries, all minor, have been reported from 115 incidents of air bag deployment in the vehicles. The problem affects 103,000 1995 Buick Regals and 187,000 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes from 1995-96 sold in the United States and Canada.

The problem is caused by corrosion on a wire linked to the air bag inflator. GM has to find a supply of new air bag inflators, which will take a few months, Rhadigan said. GM hopes to start repairing vehicles in December.

Miami

Teen describes teacher shooting

The 13-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of his English teacher said he "wasn't thinking clearly" when he returned to school with a gun after being suspended for throwing water balloons.

Nathaniel Brazill told The Miami Herald in an interview published Monday that he pointed a gun at the teacher May 26 after he was denied permission to talk to a girl in the classroom. Brazill said he didn't mean for the gun to go off.

Brazill, an honor student who had ambitions of becoming a Secret Service agent, said he was upset over his 10-day suspension, which would have taken effect the next school year.

"I thought I'd never catch up at the beginning of the next year," Brazill said. "All of my friends would leave me behind. I thought my future was ruined."

Brazill is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Barry Grunow, 35, who he said was his favorite teacher. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Peru

Machu Picchu damaged

A massive crane being used to help film a beer commercial toppled over, damaging a stone sundial in Peru's famed Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, officials said Monday.

The Intihuatana, or "hitching post for the sun," is a granite block carved into the peak of the mountain where Machu Picchu lies, high in the jungle-covered Andes, about 310 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

A jutting edge of the sundial the length of a ballpoint pen was chipped off Friday when a 1000-pound crane being used to film the commercial fell over.

The Intihuatana was used by Inca astronomers to predict solstices and was of great importance in Inca mythology and agriculture. It is considered to be the most important shrine in Machu Picchu, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

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