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Archive for Wednesday, October 31, 2001

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October 31, 2001

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CHICAGO: Defense contractor accused of fraud

Northrop Grumman Corp. has been accused by the government of defrauding the Pentagon of tens of millions of dollars on defense contracts, including one to produce top-secret parts for the B-2 stealth bomber.

The government said in court papers last week that the defense contractor produced bogus inventory records and other documents to hide that it had inflated costs on contracts for producing radar jammers and other sophisticated electronic equipment.

The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday reported that federal prosecutors have also begun a criminal investigation.

Northrop spokesman Frank Moore denied the allegations Tuesday and said federal prosecutors investigated a decade ago and brought no charges.

Los angeles: Former British rocker, pub owner dead at 53

Kim Gardner, a former member of the British rock group Ashton, Gardner & Dyke and the owner of Cat & Fiddle Restaurant and Pub in Hollywood, died of cancer Oct. 24 at his home in Hollywood.

Gardner was 53.

A bassist, Gardner was a member of the British groups the Birds and Creation before forming Ashton, Gardner & Dyke with Tony Ashton and Roy Dyke in 1968. The trio, whose albums featured a light, jazz-rock style, scored a top-three hit in Britain with "Resurrection Shuffle" in 1971.

Gardner also toured with Pacific Gas and Electric and other bands in the 1970s, played bass with artists from Eric Clapton to Bo Didley and worked on 27 albums.

WASHINGTON: One million Ford cars recalled for switch

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than one million vehicles because a faulty switch on the windshield wipers could cause a fire.

Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said 40 fires have been reported in connection with the problem, but no flames have entered the passenger compartment. No accidents or injuries were reported, Vaughn said.

The recall involves 2000 and 2001 models of the Ford Focus, Taurus, Expedition, Excursion and F-series pickups; the Lincoln Continental, Town Car and Navigator; and the Mercury Sable. Nearly 1.1 million of the recalled vehicles were made between February and September 2000.

A switch on the plastic cover of the wiper motor gear case can malfunction and overheat. That can cause the wiper to fail and cause smoke or fire on the plastic cover.

In all cases, the manufacturer will provide free repairs of defective parts at its dealerships.

WASHINGTON: Feds not releasing heating assistance

President Bush hasn't released an extra $300 million to help the poor pay heating bills because fuel supplies are high and a milder winter is expected, an administration official told Congress on Tuesday.

Lawmakers representing cold-weather states have encouraged Bush to release the money. They say it's needed immediately to help people who still have bills from last winter or have had their heat turned off, and to provide relief for people affected by the economic downturn.

Even if the winter is mild, "the events of the past few weeks and the deteriorating economy make clear that this winter may well be one of the longest and hardest in many years for large numbers of people," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the Department of Health and Human Services, told the panel the administration will monitor the situation but sees no reason to release the money at this time.

Oklahoma: DNA questions lead to prisoner's release

A man whose murder conviction was thrown into question by DNA tests walked free Tuesday after spending nearly two decades in prison.

Albert Wesley Brown, 39, remains a suspect in the 1981 slaying of a retired firefighter who was bound, gagged and drowned in a lake. But a judge agreed to his release while prosecutors decide whether to retry him.

Prosecutors had agreed to Brown's release earlier this month after DNA testing showed hair evidence used to convict him in 1983 wasn't a match.

Brown's release was delayed two weeks after prosecutors learned of 44 prison infractions, including allegations he conspired with others in the stabbing of another inmate.

Pennsylvania: Murder charges filed in 1969 police slaying

Two black men were charged Tuesday with killing a white police officer who was fatally wounded as he rode in an armored car during a 10-day race riot in 1969 in York.

The arrests of Stephen Freeland, 49, and Leon Wright, 53, came five months after prosecutors charged nine white men with the murder of a black woman during the same riots 32 years ago.

Freeland and Wright were charged with first- and second-degree murder in the July 18, 1969, shooting of rookie Officer Henry Schaad and ordered held without bail. Neither entered a plea.

Schaad, 22, was shot on the second night of riots touched off when a black teen-ager was shot and wounded by a white gang member.

More than 60 people were injured, 100 were arrested and entire city blocks were burned before order was restored in the city.

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