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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Briefly

May 29, 2003

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California

Gunman surrenders after postal standoff

A man angry with the Postal Service over a traffic accident stormed into a post office with a gun Wednesday and took two employees hostage for several hours before surrendering, authorities said.

No shots were fired and there were no reports of injuries during the siege in Lakeview, 25 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

he gunman, whose name was not immediately released, had "a beef with the Postal Service" over its response to an accident involving a postal vehicle, said Chris Saunders, a San Diego County Sheriff's spokesman. San Diego postal inspector Jody Kowahl said the gunman was not a Postal Service employee.

Pittsburgh

Airport-security lapses investigated

Detectives poked around airport conveyor belts and reviewed videotapes Wednesday to pinpoint the security lapses that allowed a man to sneak on board a parked, unlocked commuter plane overnight.

Pittsburgh International Airport's security chief said he was "extremely upset" about the weekend incident, which was at least the second time this year an unauthorized person has been found on a parked airplane at a U.S. airport, despite heightened security.

A flight attendant found Louis Esquivel, 21, of San Antonio, asleep in a seat of an American Eagle jet at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, without a ticket or a pass. He was held Wednesday on charges including trespassing and theft.

Police said Esquivel told them he was able to dodge security by ducking behind a closed ticket counter and crawling to the airfield through the baggage system late Friday night, when the area was mostly deserted.

Washington, D.C.

Merle Haggard donates to museum exhibit

A gift from country music singer Merle Haggard provided a first glimpse Wednesday of what will be the largest-ever exhibit at the National Museum of American History.

The 26,000-square-foot "America on the Move" will document American transportation from 1876 to 1999. It opens Nov. 22.

The gift ceremony was held on a 40-foot concrete slab of Highway 66, the road that carried thousands of migrants west to California in Dust Bowl days of the Depression. The Haggard family made the trip in 1935 in a 1926 Chevrolet with a two-wheel trailer.

Haggard, born two years later, gave the museum family relics taken with them from Oklahoma: a kerosene lamp, an old trunk, and his father's first courting gift to his mother -- a scarf commemorating a Woodrow Wilson campaign for the presidency.

Also in the exhibit will be a 90-foot, coal-burning "1401" locomotive that pulled President Franklin D. Roosevelt's funeral train in 1945; a narrow-gauge locomotive that traveled between small towns south of San Francisco in 1876; and a 1903 Winton, the first auto driven across the United States.

Atlanta

Tests show CDC doctor does not have SARS

Preliminary lab results indicate that a government doctor who became ill in Taiwan while investigating SARS does not have the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

More tests will be conducted to see if doctors can rule out the coronavirus that causes SARS as the source of Dr. Chesley L. Richards' illness, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said.

Richards, a CDC infection control expert, returned to the United States last week after he developed a fever and cough last week that indicated the possibility of SARS.

Three other CDC officials -- a doctor and two other disease experts who had contact with Richards when he became ill -- also returned from Taiwan and were isolated.

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