ELSEWHERE Friday, September 19,2003 — Page 7 News from the nation, world Briefs By The Associated Press Time Warner drops 4 AOU from name NEW YORK — Hoping to leave the broken hopes of the Internet era behind, the world's largest media company is dropping "AOL" from its name, and will now be known simply as Time Warner Inc. The company's stock symbol, AOL, will revert to TWX. AOL Time Warner will revert back to the name it used before it merged with America Online in 2000 in a deal valued at the time at more than $160 billion, the biggest merger in U.S. history. Though still profitable, AOL faces a host of problems, including a regulatory inquiry into its accounting and a loss of subscribers to other online services with faster Internet connections. India official cleared of charges LUCKNOW, India — A court today dismissed charges that India's deputy prime minister incited crowds that demolished an ancient mosque 11 years ago, an act that set off a cycle of violence that led to nationwide riots in which 2,000 people died. Human Resources and Development Minister Murli Manohar joshi and former Sports Minister Uma Bharti are among the other seven accused who still face charges when the court takes up the case again on Oct. 10. The Central Bureau of Investigation, India's equivalent of the FBI, had charged Advani with incitement resulting in the destruction of a religious building and causing a breakdown of law and order. deadly comeback LAGOS, Nigeria — Malaria, the ancient mosquito-borne disease that was rolled back by medical advances in the mid-20th century, is making a deadly comeback. Strains' of the disease are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment, infecting and killing more people than ever before : — sickening as many as 900 million last year, according to estimates by the U.S. Agency for International Development. More than 1 million people — and as many as 2.7 million by some estimates — of those victims died. The vast majority of the deaths were in Africa. Only AIDS kills more people worldwide. Among children, malaria kills even more than AIDS. Exchange seeks good reputation NEW YORK —The pressure is on the New York Stock Exchange to find a new leader with a spotless reputation and to ramp up its. governance as federal regulators signal they have the 211- year-old institution on watch. On Thursday, a day after Dick Grasso resigned as the NYSE's chairman and CEO amid fury over a pay package worth nearly $190 million, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson met with the board's interim leader to discuss what changes lie ahead for the exchange. The board is scheduled to meet today to discuss its search for a new leader. Government seizes herbal tea WASHINGTON — The government said Thursday it seized $4,100 worth of teas and tea mixes from a small New York herbal company, citing fraudulent claims mat the products could treat or cure ailments ranging from headaches to cancer. The Food and Drug Administration said it first warned Jean's Greens of Norway, N.Y., in 2001 to stop making disease-related marketing claims for Forticel teas. The FDA has received no reports of illnesses from use of the teas. Remnants of war Iraqi interpreter killed ByALESSANDRARIZZO Associated Press Writer ROME — American soldiers in northern Iraq fired on a car carrying the Italian official heading up U.S. efforts to recover Iraq's looted antiquities, killing the man's Iraqi interpreter, an official said today in Rome. The Italian, Pietro Cordone, was unhurt. Cordone, who is the senior adviser for cultural affairs of the U.S. provisional authority and the top Italian diplomat in the country, was traveling on the road between Mosul and Tikrit on Thursday when his car was fired on at a U.S. roadblock, said a Foreign Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said American troops fired at the car, and that Cordone's Iraqi interpreter was killed. Cordone was unharmed. The official said it appeared the car's driver did not understand the signals that the American troops were giving, and that the American's didn't understand what the car was trying to do. The Foreign Ministry said U.S. officials had expressed regret over the incident. Cordone, who was born in Egypt and spent his diplomatic career in the Arab world, was named to his position in May to head up the coalition office responsible for finding and restoring Iraq's looted antiquities. He was on hand at the Iraqi National Museum last week when three men returned the Vase of Warka, a 5,000-year-old white limestone vessel mat is one of the most valuable of the museum's artifacts. The museum, once the home of rare Islamic texts and'priceless; milleririia'-old|' *< collection's", from' 'tfie' Assyrian;'' Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations, was plundered in the lawlessness and chaos that followed the fall of Baghdad on April 9. A crowd of Iraqis held up a portrait of Saddam Hussein and pieces of burned U.S. military vehicles as they celebrated at a site where American troops were ambushed near Khaldiyah Thursday. (AP photo) Sultan Hashim Ahmad surrenders By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI Associated Press Writer MOSUL, Iraq — Former Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Iraq's last defense minister under Saddam Hussein, surrendered to the American general in charge of the north of the country today after weeks of negotiations, a Kurdish mediator said. Dawood Bagistani, who arranged the surrender to Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, said Ahmad was handed over "with great respect" and was with his family at the time. Bagistani said the American military had promised to remove Ahmad's name from the list of 55 mb'st-'wa'rit'ed;'' r meaning * he' would not,face indefinite confinement and possible prosecution. "We trust the promise," Bagis- tani said. Special treatment for Ahmad could be an effort to defuse the guerrilla-style attacks that are taking a toll on American soldiers. Many of the attackers are thought to be former soldiers in Saddam's army. Seeing their former military leader well-treated by the Americans might encourage them to lay down their arms. News of the negotiations first emerged Tuesday when Bagis- tani showed The Associated Press a letter to Ahmad from Pe- traeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, in which he promised to treat Ahmad with the "utmost dignity and respect" if he turned himself in. The letter was dated Aug. 28, and Bagistani said the negotiations had been going on since then to convince '. Ahrri^dT the AmericansVpuid keep 'their erici of the bargain. . : , ;r , ,„.,, ,.;, , "His health is excellent and he is in high spirits," the mediator told a news conference in Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad. "He Software turns cell phone into worldwide walkie-talkie By JASON STRAZIUSO Associated Press Writer PHILADELPHIA — Imagine a walkie-talkie whose range is so wide it reaches halfway around the world. Seem far-fetched? That's what a new software program for cell phones promises — and, for the most part, delivers. Although the Fastchat software promised to deliver instant com- More mumcauon lvlul G with my friend in SCieHCe, Paris from my desk in health fieWS Philadelphia, i was on page 9 a bit skeptical when I first powered up my handset and pressed the talk button now doubling as a walkie-talkie button. But after a relatively short delay, my Parisian friend was talking right back to me, although the flow of the conversation was slightly slower and scratchier than you'd get on a regular walkie-talkie. Nextel and Motorola pioneered the use of cell phones as walkie-talkies using a special "push-to-talk" button ,on the side of the handset. The other major wireless carriers now plan to introduce the increasingly popular service for their subscribers. But even when all carriers offer it, users will only be able to walkie-talkie with other subscribers to the same cell phone company. With Fastchat, subscribers to different cellular companies in this country and abroad can do so. They don't even need a phone equipped with a special button because the service uses the phone's regular buttons. The software, made by Fast- mobile Inc. of Chicago, automatically downloads to your phone through a wireless transmission after you sign up, The walkie-talkie meets the Web Push-to-talk, a digital mobile service offered by Nextel and Verizon Wireless, lets subscribers use their cell phones as walkie-talkies. Fastmobile Inc. has expanded on the concept, developing software that delivers push-to-talk to subscribers of carriers that don't offer the service. Motorola V60p Sony Ericsson P800 Push-to-talk services Fastmobile's Fastchat Equipment Works only on special push-to-talk phones Execution Push the special push-to-talk button to talk; release to listen Works only on Sony Ericsson P800 or Nokia 3650 (or now Push the "OK" button to talk; release it to listen Time factor Instantaneous communication Slight latency Functionality .Allows for speaking to multiple users simultaneously Also allows for speaking to multiple users simultaneously Compatibility Allows communication only between same-carrier subscribers Allows communication between multiple-carrier subscribers Coverage area Coast-to-coast service is available Internet transmission allows (or international calls SOURCES: Verizon Wireless; Nextel; Faslmobile AP either at Fastmobile's Web site or through a chain of retail wireless stores called American Connection. For npw, however, the $3-a- monih service is only compatible with two phone models sold in the United States: the Nokia 3650 and Sony Ericsson P800, both of which work on the wireless technology used by AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile. Carriers, including those who use other wireless technologies, will soon introduce more models with the Symbian operating system needed for Fastchat. Even so, Fastmobile says it already has signed up 2,000 users in 44 countries since its May launch. In reality, Fastchat is more like a voice version of "instant messaging" than a walkie- talkie. The software converts your voice into packets of data and transmits them just like a text message via the Internet data service now provided on most cell phones. When the message arrives at another cell phone with the software, the data is converted back into voice. But this is no ordinary walkie-talkie conversation, where your message is heard once before disappearing into thin air. Because your voice is converted to data, messages can be archived. I can scroll up and down on the phone's screen and listen to messages from 30 seconds or three days ago. It must be said that the term walkie-talkie, especially when compared to Nextel's Direct Connect service, is a bit of a stretch. Because the Internet is being used to relay Fastmo- bile's messages, there are noticeable delays. Separately, the voice quality is sometimes shaky, too. SULTAN HASHIM AHMAD ', ...Defense 'minister ... . -; '; :V.!;-I HJoi'. -.'II •;••. ' • '•' ' '•'"•' kept saying that he was a military .man * and .didjhjsijpb. I am^very happy mat the Americans have kept all their promises with regard to the former minister," Bagistani said. Three American soldiers killed By PATRICK QUINN Associated Press Writer TIKRIT, Iraq .— An ambush killed three American soldiers and wounded two others a day after the broadcast of an audiotape in which the ousted dictator called on Iraqis to step up such attacks. The attack near Tikrit was part of a wave of ambushes Thursday, and the ongoing violence has raised questions about the Bush administration's handling of post-war Iraq. The three soldiers from the Army's 4th Infantry Division were killed when attackers opened fire with small arms in the village of Uja, just five miles south of the center of Tikrit, shortly before midnight Thursday, Lt. Col. William McDonald said. Uja was Saddam's birthplace. The ambush occurred as the soldiers were investigating a site believed to be used to launch rocket propelled grenades, or RPG's, at American military convoys. McDonald provided no further details and did not say if any Iraqis had been killed in the firefight. The latest incidents followed the broadcast Wednesday by Al- Arabiya television of an audiotape in which a man claiming to be Saddam called on Iraqis to escalate attacks on American forces. Earlier in the day, insurgents ambushed two U.S. military convoys with remote-controlled bombs and opened fire on one of ! them, sparking a threer-hour . ;gunbattle in : . the town of;,/ , :1 ,Khaldiyah,The U.S.jmilitary said, u, two soldiers were wounded. Five U.S. tanks, two Bradley fighting vehicles and 40 troops surrounded the neighborhood. Helicopters hovered above. Suspects held in offer to kill Kobe's accuser By RYAN OLIVER Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES — A Swiss national claiming tics to the Russian mob was arrested Thursday in a $3 million murder-for-hire plot targeting the Colorado woman who has accused Los Angeles Laker basketball star Kobe Bryant of sexual assault. Patrick Graber, 31, was taken into custody in El Segundo moments after he accepted $1 million in phony money from undercover officers and expected to get $2 million after killing the woman. "He said he could make her not come to court," said Lt. Jim Taylor of, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department during a Thursday news conference. "He could make her disappear. He would make her have a drug overdose. He was intending to do it right away." Authorities said the suspect had sent a letter to Bryant, saying he could solve his problems. The Lakers star's bodyguards met with them and then contacted sheriff's detectives, who set up the sting operation. "The Kobe Bryant case is a case that has national significance," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said. "Sadly, there are people who as criminals wish to do deplorable, tragic acts. Enough harm has been done to those associated with this case. They need no further harm." Using the name of former KGB chief and Soviet leader Yuri An- dropov, Graber told undercover investigators he would kill Bryant's 19-year-old accuser for a price, Taylor said. In response, sheriff detectives informed the woman and her family of the threat and set up a series of contacts with Graber. Graber told the undercover officers he would carry out the hit for $1 million up front and $2 million to be given after she was dead, Taylor said. He offered to furnish evidence, possibly a Lt. Jim Taylor of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office talked Thursday about the arrest of Patrick Graber, a Swiss national seen in photo in foreground. (AP photo) photo, to prove the hit was successful. After a brief meeting, the undercover officers directed Graber to a car, where he accepted prop money from a local movie studio with real cash on top of it. "This individual made us believe his threat was credible," Taylor said. "He alleged that he was involved in organized crime. He had given us information about the (victim's) family to indicate he knew them quite well." The information about the family turned out to be accurate, but the family apparently did not know Graber, he said. Investigators are also attempting to determine if Graber does have ties to the Russian mob. "The Russian mafia does carry out assassinations, and we are trying to connect him with that," Taylor said. Graber is being held on $1 million bail on suspicion of solicitation of murder.
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