The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 6, 2001 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

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Friday, April 6, 2001
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Page 5
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THE SALINA JOURNAL BRIEFLY USDA defers to Bush on bad-meat testing , WASHINGTON — The White House backed off Thursday trom an Agriculture Department plan to ease salmonella testing requirements on ground meat purchased for school lunches. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman will leave in place current contract procedures for salmonella testing, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. ' Fleischer said the proposal announced by the agency Wednesday originated in "the lower level of the Department of Agriculture" and was not official administration policy , "That is not the secretary's position," Fleischer said. "Their concern will be to make food supplies for our children as safe as possible." "It makes for a very tough morning when you open most newspapers in this country and find a front-page story that your administration is relaxing standards on the safety of school lunch programs," Durbin said. "That's a hard one to sell." Hydraulics cited as cause of Osprey crash .WASHINGTON —A hydraulics system failure compounded by software problems caused a V-22 Osprey aircraft to crash in December, killing four Marines, the corps said in a report Thursday The corps acknowledged it had been aware since June 1999 of a problem that could damage the hydraulic line that failed. Berndt said the report recommended — and Marine Corps headquarters concurs — that there be a "possible redesign of the hydraulic system" in the V-22 to prevent failures like the one in the December crash. It also recommended a review of the entire computer software on the V-22 to identify design deficiencies that "may exist," he said. The crash was one of two fatal Osprey crashes last year that killed 23 Marines and put the fate of the controversial, multibillion-dollar aircraft program in jeopardy From Wire Service Reports WASHIMBTOM FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2001 AB T ENDANGERED SPECIES Preserve doesif t live up to its name The Associated Press A panda born In captivity atWo- long Breeding Center In China has a snack In Its new natural enclosure. As panda habitats disappear, centers and zoos around the world are breeding more pandas In captivity. • TECHNOLOGY China's pandas lose trees to people who share their habitat By LAURAN NEERGAARD TIte Associated Press WASHINGTON — The dappled forests necessary for pandas survival are being destroyed faster inside China's flagship nature preserve than before the park was created. A recent study shows creating parkland isn't enough to protect endangered species. The problem is the doubling of the human population living inside the Wolong Nature Reserve, people who cut wood from endangered pandas' best- quality habitats, a joint U.S.­ China research team reports today in the journal Science. The finding raises serious Foreign hackers step up attacks on U.S. computers Valuable research and Medicare records could be at risk By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Foreign hackers increasingly are breaking into U.S. government computers so insecure someone could steal valuable research or Medicare patients' records, lawmakers were told Thursday Thirty-two federal agencies reported 155 computers were taken over temporarily by hackers last year, government officials disclosed. Three-quarters of hacking attempts involved foreign attackers, they said. "I think it would come as quite a surprise for most Americans to learn the extent to which these federal civilian agencies are the target of attacks by foreign and domestic sources bent on espionage or other malicious actions," Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., said at a House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing. Lawmakers expressed particular alarm about a February computer security study at the Health Care Financing Administration, which controls Medicare. The report cited 124 weaknesses on government and contractor computers that left data about Medicare recipients vulnerable. "I can envision incredible fraud opportunities with that scenario, as well as privacy problems," Tauzin said. HCFA investigators are trying to determine whether data has been stolen or changed. The report cited faulty passwords, lack of security plans and other problems at Medicare's central office. "Weaknesses in such controls can compromise the integrity of sensitive program data and increase the risk that such data may be inappropriately used and/or disclosed," the report warned. HCFA officials said the agency has no reports of any hackers gaining access to their claims processing payment system or other computers with sensitive data. Subcommittee chairman Rep. James Greenwood, R-Pa., had demanded updates from 15 federal agencies to check their compliance with federal computer security regulations. Shop This Weekend! Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Example of the Storewide Savings! ETerything Interest FREE* Until April 2003 Leather Sofa List $1,980.00 Sale $1,099 Interest Free Price $45.79 Per mo. plus tax ThonmsviUe' Sleigh Bed List $2,145.00 Sale $1,299 Interest Free Pnce $54.12 Per mo. plus tax 54" RoU Top Desk List $1,249.00 Sale $739 Interest Free Price $30.79 Per mo. plus tax *Shop this Saturday and Sunday at Orr's Furniture City in downtown Clay Center, you will receive 2 years interest free financing with approved credit! $399 Minimum purchase. No down payment required. Offer good through April 30,2001. ORR'S FURNITURE CITY Phone ToU Free 1-888-557-5865 518 Lincoln Ave. P.O. Box 23 email: orrs@kaiisa8.net Downtown Clay Center questions for environmentalists about how to manage nature preserves worldwide, to balance the needs of local residents with those of fast-disappearing species. "We were surprised" at the extent of forest destruction, said lead researcher Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University. "We always perceived that if you designate a protected area, then they (the pandas) are safe." His solution is to provide better education for the mostly ethnic minority groups, largely Tibetans, who live inside the park. He says then many young people may voluntarily leave Wolong for jobs in China's cities, letting the forest recover. The report comes just weeks after the World Wildlife Federation warned the giant panda still is facing extinction because its mountain forest home is dis­ appearing. The wild panda population is estimated at 1,000. Satellite photos taken between 1965 and 1997 show the best-quality panda habitat disappeared faster after the park's 1975 creation — 52 acres a year before 1975 vs. 237 acres a year since then, the researchers report. The loss equals, in some spots exceeds, forest destruction in nearby areas that are not protected parkland, Liu said. Wolong's wild panda population dropped from 145 in 1974 to 72 in 1986, the latest count. Liu said it is likely even fewer exist now. Pandas need a temperate mountain forest, mixing evergreen and deciduous trees that provide dappled shade for the bamboo they eat and large trees inside in which to nest. But the human population is booming. In 1975, 2,560 people lived in 421 households in Wo­ long. By 1995, there were 4,260 people in 904 households. Ethnic groups residing in Wolong are not subject to China's one- child policy More people use more wood to cook and heat; few can afford the electricity or coal used more commonly outside the park, Liu said, As they used up low-elevation forest near their homes, residents began cutting from the higher elevations pandas prefer The park's 50,000 annual tourists play a role, too, buying large amounts of the local delicacy — smoked pork — that requires burning wood, he said. The study doesn't mean conservation is failing, but it implies workers must address continuing dilemmas after parkland for any species in any country is set aside, said the World Wildlife Fund's panda conservation chief. Karen Baragona. T INTERNET Taxes aren't voluntary IRS says if it sounds too good to be true, it is By The AsBoclated Press WASHINGTON — As tax evasion scams proliferate on the Internet, victims and self- appointed watchdogs told the Senate Finance Committee Thursday the IRS isn't doing enough to pursue promoters or warn guUible taxpayers. Aaron Bazar of North Potomac, Md., said he lost $8,000 after responding to unsolicited e-mail touting what appeared to be a way to legally eliminate federal income taxes — but was actually an illegal pyramid scheme. His initial skepticism wavered when he was given evidence that other people had done the same thing and was shown false claims that the 16th Amendment creating the income tax was never properly ratified or that paying taxes is purely voluntary "If somebody wants to steal from people, the Internet is the place to do it," said Bazar, who quit the scheme "We are definitely focused on this in both public education and enforcement." Charles RossottI IRS Commissioner on efforts to quell Internet tax scams months later after making no money "The chances of getting caught, in my opinion, are virtually nil." While these tax scams have been around for years, they are being marketed globally via the Internet. The IRS points to its 117 criminal convictions and a Feb. 28 raid by agents on dozens of promoters — the largest in IRS history — as evidence that it is making inroads. "We are definitely focused on this in both public education and enforcement," Rossotti said. But people concerned about the growth of these scams say even when authorities are presented with evidence of fraud, they say little is done to shut down the sites or pursue the promoters. Sen. Charles Grassley, R- lowa, chairman of the Finance Committee, said taxpayers should take care when tempted to sign up for anything that appears to offer a free tax ride. Grassley says to; • Watch out for pitch lines such as: "If it were illegal, the government would have arrested me," "Taxes are voluntary, and you can volunteer not to pay" or "The IRS is weak — play the audit lottery" • Talk to an accountant before signing over any money Be wary if the promoter says their scheme is one your accountant or attorney won't understand. Or you can check with the IRS and report suspected fraud at 1-800-829-0433. CONSTRUCTION IfEIITAIi YES YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF! 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