The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 27, 2001 · Page 1
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 1

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Saturday, January 27, 2001
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f 15 years after Challenger Capriati s back Remembering She upsets Hingis vv America's in Australian final lost astronauts 1 INSPOaTS TOnY,14A State money for schools just keeps up with growth LOCAL NEWS, 1C SENATORS 5 i WEATHER: Partly cloudy. PANTHERS 4 High 72. low 55. SPORTS, 108 FORECAST ON BACK PAGE OF SPORTS nera 1m Beach Post SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2001 FINAL EDITION 110 PAGES 50 CENTS India kills thousands Tji -7 ?' 'j M -U Missteps culminate in Clinton PR debacle White House controversy includes last-minute pardons and $200,000 in gifts. By John F. Harris Ihe Washington Post WASHINGTON It might have been the most elaborately planned exit from the White House ever two full months of executive orders, exit interviews, farewell speeches and valedictory celebrations for President Clinton. One week after he former president and Hillary Rodham Clinton left the White House, there is widespread acknowledgment even among close Clinton aides that all the planning nonetheless ended in a public gelations debacle. A shower of legal, financial and political issues cumulatively created a controversy-pocked transition. N The Clintons are beginning the next chapter of their lives much as they began the Whitp House chapter. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, fresh off her own impressive election victory, is facing shouted questions about family finances, including whether it was proper to take nearly $200,000 in gifts as they left the White House. The former president, whose last weeks in officf were more active than any predecessor, including a flurry of environmental orders, is reported by confidants to be stewing in his new home in New York over te uproar caused by last-minute pardons and other final-days controversies. Several Clinton friends and advisers Friday blamed news media coverage for exaggerating or distorting some of the controversies, including reports alleging last-minute vandalism at the White House. But virtually all these people said Clinton's last days fell short of high hopes. And several aides acknowledged a curious puzzle: How could a politician who regularly relied on superior public relations skills to trump Republicans stumble as he left the stage? The answer is a combination of bad luck and bad judgments, according to a variety of advisers who have worked with both Clintons. Several issues, such as Clinton's agreement with independent counsel Robert Ray to admit making false statements under oath in exchange for avoiding prosecution, were so Qi "Hi " " i " PARAS SHAHAssociated Press A crowd gattiers outside a collapsed building in Ahmedabad, India, after a powerful earthquake. As night fell, thousands huddled on sidewalks without shelter. At least 3,000 injured as massive temblor is felt through subcontinent By Moni Basu Palm Beach Post Staff Writer CALCUTTA, India India's Republic Day celebrations met with tragedy Friday as an enormous earthquake struck the subcontinent, toppling buildings, entombing victims in the rubble of buildings and killing thousands of people. Press Trust of India reported that 2,500 people died in the huge temblor in the country's west, most of them in the old walled city of Bhuj, near the epicenter. It did not give a source for its figures, but other media gave estimates of the number of dead ranging from 2,000 to 5,000. At least 3,000 were injured. The 7.9 magnitude temblor, centered in the urbanized western state of Gujarat near the Pakistani border, was felt in almost every corner of the subcontinent even as far away as Nepal, Bangladesh, and in the Indian city of Calcutta on the opposite coast. Calcutta is 1,200 miles from the earthquake's center, about the same distance as Washington is from Dallas. The death toll is expected to rise as search-and-rescue operations proceed, police said. In the commercial capital Ahmedabad, a city of 4.5 million people, hundreds of people crowded the fire station asking for help to dig out their relatives, Fire Chief Rajesh Bhat told The Associated Press. "This is an emergency. We are facing a riotous crowd," Bhat said. "A fear psychosis is developing in the city. People have fled their homes and are taking refuge in open fields." Rescuers stood atop the rubble of Please see INDIA, 4A I'. Scientists puzzled by sea turtle's strange riverside nest; Please see CLINTONS, 18A DAVID LANEStaff Photographer An 800-pound leatherback turtle begins nesting on Friday. By William M. Hartnett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer JENSEN BEACH A female leatherback turtle, wayward in just about every possible way, stunned biologists and wowed a throng of tourists Friday when she crawled onto a sandy spot apparently determined to lay her eggs on the wrong side of the barrier island and weeks ahead of schedule. Dozens of onlookers surrounded the 800-pound animal, one of the most endangered species of sea turtles, along the Jensen Beach Causeway, a strip oi land and highway joining the mainland and Hutchinson Island north of Stuart. With more than a month remaining until even the earliest part of leatherback nesting season and in a spot miles from usual nesting areas, the misplacedmom left scientists scratching their heads. So out of the ordinary was such behavior that they speculated the incident may have been a first. Perhaps biologist Karrie Singel of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission best summarizes the turtle's discom-bobulation: "She's one mixed-up momma." '. Late February is the earliest biologists have ever known a leatherback to start nesting; nesting normally takes place in March and April, Singel said. Even then, the last place one would expect to find a nesting sea turtle is in the Indian Please see TURTLE, 4A Delray restaurateur helps break credit card scheme A brother-and-sister team sold patrons' credit card numbers, an indictment alleges. By Mary McLachlin . Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DELRAY BEACH Restaurant owner Victoria Cohen did what everyone should do she checked the monthly credit card Statements ver-r-r-ry carefully. What she found puzzled her. And when she couldn't get answers from credit card companies and banks, it made her angry. Determined not to be blown off, she did her own sleuthing and wound up unmasking a multimillion-dollar computer and credit card fraud scheme targeting restaurants and thousands of their patrons, most in South Florida. "Basically, I just had to play detective," said Cohen, 41. "At the tihe I was talking to the credit card companies, they weren't re ally interested." Cohen's husband, Mitch, 53, manages their restaurant, the Atlantic Fish Co., on West Atlantic Avenue. ,A federal grand jury indicted David Prouty, 24, and his sister, Nicole Conde, 26, of Miami this week on fraud and conspiracy charges. They're accused of tapping into restaurant computer networks, getting the credit card numbers of more than 12,000 diners and distributing the stolen numbers to others. The scheme targeted at least 17 restaurants, but the full scope of the fraud may never be known. All major credit cards were involved, and American Express alone estimates its losses could amount to $7 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Secret Service agents found more than 5,500 credit card numbers in searches of Prouty's home and the office of a dummy corporation he created called Please see CREDIT CARDS, 18A Inside Coach dies Hall of Fame college basketball coach Al McGuire dies at 72. SPORTS, IB f" " ... 2F 10E 6C ANN & ABBY 2E BUSINESS ID CLASSIFIED COMICS DEATHS EDITORIALS 10A HOROSCOPE 2E CROSSWORDS Online LOTTERY PEOPLE SCORES STOCKS THEATERS 2A 2A 11B 3D 3E TV LISTINGS 9E WEATHER 12B 9E.5F Fair finale rf Catch the last days ' of the South Florida Fair on the live midway Web cam. GoPBI.com ! Z8if-.1 "10000 Copyright 2001 Palm Beach Post Vol. 31 No. 26 8 sections Disputed Palm Beach ballots held potential gains for Gore By Joel Engelhardt, Scott McCabe and Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writers WEST PALM BEACH If Democrats had gotten their way and dimpled ballots in Palm Beach County had been counted as votes, Al Gore would have gained 682 votes, which is more than President George W. Bush's 537-vote statewide margin of victory, according toThe Palm Beach Post's examination of disputed ballots. Additionally, the analysis shows that more than two-thirds of the disputed ballots were cast on Data Punch voting machines even though those machines accounted for less than one-third of the 462,644 ballots cast in the county. Democrats said the numbers justify their belief that Al Gore should have won Florida. Repub- Please see BALLOTS, 8A Disputed votes in Palm Beach County Of the 14,500 ballots considered by the Palm Beach County canvassing board during its hand recount, The Palm Beach Post found 4,513 disputed under-votes. Depending on the standard used, The Post's review showed that as many as 4,318 could have counted as votes for George W. Bush or Al Gore: Chad with . I h. Bush 0 4 3 105 1,706 i 1,818 Standard 3 comers detached 2 corners detached 1 corner detached Dimpled (with light) Dimpled (without light) Total Gore 2 1 17 148 2,332 2,500 k 1 three corners VM detached t Chad with I two comers detached - Chad with one comer detached Dimpled chad Light showed through a dimple or a side of the chad ..- Both dimpled categories do not Include ballots that had dimples for more than one presidential candidate. They would be considered over-votes if dimples were counted as votes. ? t i STAFF GRAPHIC

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