Archive for Tuesday, August 20, 2002

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August 20, 2002

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Washington, D.C.

Airports seek screening delay

The leaders of 133 U.S. airports, under pressure to make sure every piece of checked luggage is screened for explosives by year's end, have asked the U.S. Senate to give them more time.

A letter made public Monday signed by the airport directors presses senators to insert a "flexibility provision" in the Senate's version of the Homeland Security legislation.

Since Sept. 11, the nation's 429 commercial airports have had to meet a rolling set of deadlines designed to upgrade security. The toughest and most criticized deadline comes Dec. 31, when all checked baggage must be screened with large explosive-detection system machines or swabbing devices that detect explosive material.

A House version of the measure gives airports more time to meet the baggage deadline, allowing them to invest in better technology instead of buying what is available now.

England

Cause of missing girls' deaths remain mystery

Messages of condolence poured into an English village Monday for the families of two slain 10-year-old girls, while police questioned two suspects and tried to determine exactly how the children were killed.

Post mortem examinations of the bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who disappeared Aug. 4, failed to reveal the cause of death, so further tests would have to be made over the next few weeks, police said.

On Saturday, police arrested school caretaker Ian Huntley, 28, and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, 25, who was a teaching assistant at the girls' school in Soham, eastern England.

Police have said they found "items of major interest" at Soham Village College, the secondary school were Huntley worked.

Ohio

Judge denies election request to replace legislator

A federal judge on Monday denied the request by a civil liberties group for a special election to replace ousted Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus noted Congress was scheduled to recess on Oct. 3 and there was a strong likelihood that an individual selected by voters in a special election would never cast a vote.

The American Civil Liberties Union had sued to force Gov. Bob Taft to have the election, which the governor estimated would cost $800,000. Taft, a Republican, said replacing Traficant, a Democrat, for what could only be a few weeks was not worth the expense or the voter confusion it might cause.

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