Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - Page 7 ELSEWHERE News from the nation, world Briefs By The Associated Press U.S. wins support from inspectors UNITED NATIONS — Giving some needed support to the United States, top weapons inspectors backed delivering a tough U.N. warning to Saddam Hussein, but insisted it was up to the Security Council, not inspectors, to decide on war or peace in Iraq. At a Security Council meeting on Monday, the inspectors also made clear they'd like some changes in the new inspection regime envisioned by the United States. But the key issue remains the dispute in the council over whether a new U.S. draft resolution gives a green light for the use of force against Iraq. The inspectors comments laid the basis for ongoing negotiations, beginning in capitals of key Security Council nations on Tuesday and wrapping up late in the day at another full council meeting. Bill to revamp voting machines WASHINGTON — President Bush is signing legislation to revamp the nation's voting system and protect against the kinds of errors that threw his own election into dispute two years ago. The White House scheduled a morning bill-signing ceremony for today, starting Bush's two- day respite from campaigning for GOP House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates in next Tuesday's elections. Under the Martin Luther King Jr. Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2002, states will receive $3.9 billion in federal money over the next three years to replace outdated punch-card and lever voting machines or improve voter education and poll- worker training. Al-Qaida good at raising funds WASHINGTON — AI-Qaida draws much of its income from contributions by a worldwide network of individuals and charities, including some in the United States, the CIA says. "The organization tries to raise funds from mosques, Islamic charities and individuals — rich and poor— throughout much of the world," a recently released CIA statement said. "This has helped corroborate our view that al-Qaida relies on a steady stream of contributions." Michael Bloomberg the richest politician WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the richest American politician with a net worth of $4.8 billion, according to a new list by Forbes magazine. Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller is the second wealthiest politician, with $1.2 billion. New York gubernatorial candidate B. Thomas Golisano trailed close behind with $1.1 billion. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was the wealthiest congressional member with a net worth of $550 million. He ranked fourth on the list. Other members of Congress who were among the top 10 wealthiest politicians are Rep. Amo Houghton, R-N.Y, with $475 million; Sen. Jon Coreine, D-NJ., with $300 million; Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., with $250 million; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, R-W.Va., with $200 million. Vanity plate worth $5,000 LEXINGTON, Ky. — Divorce isn't a funny thing, but firefighter Larry VanI looser turned it into a gag — at feast when it came to his license plate. VanHooser won $5,000 for coming up with his vanity plate "D-WIFED," beating out the likes of "CYTMBRK" (See why I am broke) and MANOPOZ (male menopause). The results of the nationwide contest, sponsored by car-care products maker Eagle One, were announceci on Monday. VanHooser said he got the idea for the plate as he was driving around in the 1999 Chevrolet Corvette he purchased after his divorce, his third. "It crossed my mind, and I said that's the one," he said. "It cost me $25 and the divorce cost me $100,000." Police link sniper to two more By PEGGY ANDERSEN Associated Press Writer TACOMA, Wash. — Long before a series of sniper attacks terrorized the suburbs ofWashington, D.C., police say the suspected gunmen may have begun their reign of terror on the West Coast with the slaying of a Tacoma woman and a shooting at a synagogue. Authorities said Monday they had linked John Alien Muhammad and John Lee Malvo to the February shooting death of a 21-year-old woman whose aunt once worked for Muhammad's auto repair business. Police also identified the pair as suspects in a May shooting at a Tacoma synagogue in which no one was injured. The connection to Muhammad and Malvo is based on information from a Tacoma man who came forward last week to tell authorities he loaned the pair his guns. Ballistics tests matched the weapons to siugs found at both shooting scenes. Malvo, 17, and Muhammad, 41, currently face murder charges in both Virginia and Maryland in the three-week series of attacks that killed 10 people and wounded three. Alabama has charged them in a killing outside a liquor store in Montgomery. Tacoma Police Chief David Brame-said a man contacted the FBI last week and told authorities he'd allowed Muhammad and Malvo to borrow his weapons, including a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, while the pair were staying with him earlier this year. "As a result, we now consider John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo as suspects in the Keenya Cook homicide," Brame said. Authorities said there were no plans to charge the man who came forward. Investigators recovered three handguns and two rifles from the man, including two allegedly used in the crimes, Tacoma police spokesman Jim Mattheis said. Cook was shot in the face Feb. 16 when she opened the door to the house where she lived. Cook's aunt, Isa Nichols, used to be a bookkeeper for Muhammad's auto repair business in the 1990s. Plumes of smoke and ash rose from Sicily's Mount Etna in this satellite image taken Monday. Rivers of lava poured down its slopes and clouds of ash and magma spewed out for a third day, prompting officials to close some schools. Ash was carried as far away as Libya in northern Africa, 350 miles south of Mount Etna. (AP photo) Classmates recall 'angry' student Police: Flores created 'holy hell' By BETH DEFALCO Associated Press Writer TUCSON, Ariz. — Robert Stewart Flores Jr. struggled as a nursing student at the University of Arizona. Classmates said he tangled with instructors and annoyed fellow students. "He came across'as very aggressive and mean and seemed to have a lot of issues with being angry," said Lori Schenkei, a fellow nursing student. Authorities said Flores' anger boiled over Monday when he allegedly shot three of his professors to death during a rampage at the College of Nursing that sent dozens of terrified students diving for cover. Officials said the 41-year-old Gulf War veteran had been carrying five handguns and at least 200 rounds of ammunition. After shooting the three staff members, Flores turned one of the guns on himself. "Mr. Flores went in there to create a holy hell for our community," Tucson police Chief Richard Miranda said. "I can't imagine what the building would look like if he didn't have a sudden change of mind." Bomb squad members were called in after a backpack or package was found underneath the gunman's body. The suspect had threatened to blow up the building, though it was unclear when the threat was made, police said. The college and nearby buildings were evacuated but no explosives were found. Police said Flores first killed assistant professor Robin Rogers, 50, in her office on the second floor of the nursing school building. He then went to the fourth floor, where he entered a classroom full of students taking a test being given by two teachers. There he confronted associate professor Cheryl McGaffic, a 44-year-old ethics teacher who studied death and dying and the relationship between health and spiritually in seriously ill patients. He told McGaffic "he was going to give her a lesson in spirituality," said student Laura Kelley. Witnesses said Flores fired two shots into McGaffic's chest and stood directly over her as he shot her in the head. Assistant professor Barbara Monroe, 45, was allegedly Flores' last target. She was cowering behind a desk as Fiores approached, witnesses said. "He asked her if she was ready to meet her maker. She said 'Yes,' and then he shot her once and then twice more," said student Gena Johnson. Flores worked at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Tucson as a licensed practical nurse and was studying to become a registered nurse. He was employed by a nursing agency, said Spencer Ralston, associate director for the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System. University of Arizona nursing professors (above), from left, Robin Rogers, Cheryl McGaffic and Barbara Monroe, were fatally shot by nursing student Robert S. Flores before he turned the gun on himself Monday. At left, nursing students Angela Garcia, left, and Jessica Harrison attended a candlelight service for the professors at the school's alumni building. (AP photos) 2003 cars show steady decline in fuel economy By JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — Average fuel economy for those shiny new 2003 model cars headed for showrooms is down for the third consecutive year and now stands about 6 percent below the high point set 15 years ago. Among the highest achievers, the percentage of the new crop of vehicles getting more than 30 mpg drops to 4 percent from 6 percent a year ago. Only 33 of the 934 cars, trucks and vans listed in the 2003-model annual fuel economy statistics released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency are that efficient. That compares with 48 of the 865 models available last year. In 1987 and 1988, back before Americans developed a thirst for gas-gulping sport utility vehicles, the fleet averaged 22.1 mpg—compared to 20.8 for the new year. "Clearly it is disappointing that more than 15 years after fuel economy peaked, fuel economy is still hovering around an all-lime low," said David Friedman, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Berkeley, Calif. 'And yet the technology is out there. We could be averaging close to 30 to 40 miles per gallon, and that's with conventional technology: nonhybrids, better engines, better transmissions, improved aerodynamics." This year, three hybrid gas- and electric-powered vehicles. — the two-seat Honda Insight coupe and five-seat Toyota Prius and Honda Civic sedans — top the list of fuel pinchers. Last year there were only the Prius and the Insight. The Insight has 64 mpg combined city and highway driving, the Toyota and Honda sedans 48 mpg. Next most efficient are four Volkswagen diescl cars and the Toyota Echo. During the past year, Congress rejected by a wide margin any substantial legislated increase in fuel economy improvements. Industry officials long have argued that automrkers give buyers what they want. "With gas prices at historic lows, the cost of fuel is not as important as many other vehicle characteristics such as the utility of the vehicle, how many passengers they can carry, cargo and towing and s'afety features," said Ron DeFore, a spokesman for the Coalition for Vehicle Choice, which lobbies against government fuel-economy rules. Automakers are required to meet fuel-economy standards set by Congress in 1975 for their entire fleet of models sold, not specific ones. The required average is 27.5 mpg on fleets of new passenger cars and 20.7 mpg for those of light trucks, including pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham were taking a look at some of the new fuel-efficient cars today while releasing the new Web-based fuel economy guide with emissions and safety data. The EPA said in releasing the figures that those vehicles highlight efforts to reduce the nation's dependence on imported petroleum and strengthen national security. Average fuel economy for the 488 cars in (he 2003 fuel economy list is 23.6 mpg. Questions grow over rebel raid in Moscow By ERIC ENGLEMAN Associated Press Writer MOSCOW — With hundreds of survivors from Moscow's theater take-over still in hospitals, relatives waited tearfully today for their release. Politicians, meanwhile, questioned how a iargc band of heavily armed rebels could have raided a building near the center of the capital. Outside the theater, which was hold for 5(1 hours by rebels demanding a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, former hostage Anna 'I\innika, 56, laid carnations on a growing pile. She worried about her daughter-in-law, who she said was in a coma from the gas Russian special forces released before storming the building to free the hostages. "She's still lying in the hospital, in terrible condition, in critical condition," Tunnika said. She said her daughter-in-law apparently was far more badly affected than she by the gas, which health officials blamed for the deaths of 116 hostages and which sent hundreds of survivors for treatment after the standoff ended Saturday. "She probably inhaled more gas into her body or she was in a more weakened condition," she said. "I was taken to a nearb} r hospital very nearby, and they took her farther away. Maybe that had some affect." Moscow health authorities said 338 former hostages had been released from hospitals and 317 remained hospitalized, 27 in grave condition, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Russian special forces troops released the gas — which officials have so far refused to identify — before storming the theater before dawn Saturday, killing 50 hostage- takers and rescuing hundreds of their captives. Besides the 116 hostages who died from the gas, at least two other hostages died of gunshot wounds, a spokeswoman for the Moscow Health Department, LyuboyZhomova, said Tuesday.
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