Archive for Monday, April 23, 2001

Nation Briefs

April 23, 2001

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Iowa
No Powerball jackpot winner

None of the tickets sold for the Powerball game Saturday matched all six numbers drawn in Des Moines. Players matching all five numbers and the Powerball would have won or shared the $12 million jackpot. The prize goes to an estimated $14 million for Wednesday.

Tickets that match the first five numbers, but miss the Powerball, win $100,000 each, and there were four of those. They were sold in Arizona, Connecticut, Montana and New Mexico.

Florida
Thousands of acres scorched by wildfires

Firefighters on Sunday battled wildfires across the state, with at least one blaze expected to burn for much of the week. State officials were monitoring 64 fires and mopping up 23 others, including one that had destroyed nearly 7,000 acres and caused more than $1 million in damage in Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

In Sarasota County, a 5,400-acre blaze in the Carlton Reserve was 80 percent contained Sunday, said Paul Palmiotto, duty officer with the Division of Forestry. However, officials said they didn't expect to contain that fire until Friday.

A 1,500 acre fire in Miami-Dade County burned near the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. The cause of that fire, which was about 50 percent contained Sunday, was still unknown, Palmiotto said. Since the beginning of the year, 2,183 wildfires have burned across more than 170,000 acres throughout the state.

HONOLULU
Sub skipper faces punishment for crash

The skipper of the USS Greeneville has been assured his disciplinary hearing today will be conducted "with an open mind" and expects to retire with full pension and an honorable discharge, his attorney said. Cmdr. Scott Waddle plans to travel to Japan after he retires to meet with families of the nine Japanese students and adults killed when the Greeneville collided with the school's fishing boat on Feb. 9, said civilian attorney Charles Gittins.

Waddle's commanding officer, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Thomas Fargo, will punish Waddle at a hearing known as an "admiral's mast," rather than institute a court-martial proceeding. It will mean the end of Waddle's Navy career, although he will not face the prospect of prison.

California
Robot plane tries Pacific crossing

A robotic airplane took off Sunday in an attempt to fly from California to Australia to become the first drone to cross the Pacific Ocean.

The unpiloted Global Hawk U.S. spy plane took to the air at 4:48 a.m, said John Haire, an Edwards Air Force Base spokesman. It was expected to land 22 1/2 hours and 8,600 miles later at a Royal Australian Air Force Base outside Adelaide, he said.

The plane will fly at 65,000 feet, well above other air traffic and the nasty weather that plagues the Pacific. Ground crews in Australia will monitor the flight but not control it as the plane follows a preprogrammed route.

SAN FRANCISCO
City insurance to cover sex-change surgery

San Francisco is prepared to make history by becoming the only city to pay for employees' sex changes a move some say is long overdue in ending discriminatory practices against transsexuals.

After a five-year fight in the city's Health Service System, the gender-switching benefits earned approval last week from a city committee and will go before the full Board of Supervisors today.

On average, male-to-female surgery costs about $37,000, while female-to-male surgery runs about $77,000.

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