THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Nation WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1, 1999 - 11 FBI getting cooperation in crash probe study points to need for """ more DUI education ByMICHAEL J. SNIFFEN Associated Press WASHINGTON — Despite public criticism in Egypt of the U.S. investigation of EgyptAir 990's crash, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh says bureau agents are ' ing good cooperation in 31 agents have examined aircraft and personnel records in Egypt and participated in interviews there, Freeh told reporters Tuesday at FBI headquarters. "The cooperation has been very, very good." Although Egyptian government objections halted the U.S. National Transportation Safely Board's plan to turn over control of the probe to the FBI as a potential criminal case, Freeh raised no complaints about Egyptian investigators. "We have done quite a bit of work with them, including some interviews in Egypt just recently completed," Freeh said. "And we got access — together with the safety board — in Cairo to personnel records, aircraft records. "There's a whole series of things we've requested," he added. "We have furnished the Egyptians with a list of particular investigative leads that we need to have covered" by them. "We have not had any of our requests turned down," Freeh added. He noted some requests are still being evaluated and need to move through the Egyptian police and court system. The Egyptian public reacted angrily when word leaked that U.S. investigators suspect that a relief co-pilot, Gameel El- Batouty, for unknown reasons sent the Boeing 767 into the steep dive that carried all 217 aboard to their deaths in the Atlantic Ocean off Massachusetts on Oct. 31. NTSB Chairman James Hal! has said no evidence of an explosion or mechanical problem has surfaced in the plane's flight and cockpit recorders. But last week, Gen. Issam Ahmed, who heads the Egyptian Transportation Ministry's flight training program, blamed the crash on an explosion. Freeh declined to respond to the uproar in Egypt: "I'm not going to discuss what any non- police officials have said." The FBI and the NTSB will jointly start a recovery operation at the crash site in the next couple of weeks, said Freeh, who spoke with Hall on Tuesday morning. So far, only the cockpit and flight recorders have been brought from the Atlantic floor, and investigators want to recover the cockpit itself. Bodies of victims also would be a recovery priority. The bureau has hundreds of agents assigned to checking out the plane's history and that of any person who had contact with it in the days before the crash. Freeh said there was no timetable for deciding whether to turn the lead over to the FBI. "I know it's been made an issue as to who is the lead agency," Freeh said. "But the investigation is going to proceed whether the FBI stays in a subordinate role or a lead role. The same things are being done." The only practical difference that would flow from a change in leadership would be in the release of information, he said. Software firm lets users stop the tracking By TED BRIDIS Associated Press WASHINGTON — A company that offers free software to change an Internet browser's computer cursor into cartoon characters is offering to let people delete a serial number the company was using to track its customers across the Internet. Responding to an outcry over the privacy implications of its software, Comet Systems Inc. also said it will seek certification from Truste, an organization that monitors whether Web sites are following the privacy promises they make to consumers. Truste said Comet Systems had "significantly damaged the trust of their customers." New York-based Comet Systems acknowledged earlier this week that its cursor software — used by more than 16 million people — reports back to its own com- pjuters with each customer's unique serial "number each time that person visits any of 60,000 Web sites that support its technology- : Those sites include dozens aimed at young children, such as those for the Dilbert and Peanuts characters of United Feature Syndicate Inc. and the Ty Inc. site for Beanie Babies. Comet said it never violated customers' privacy because it does not attempt to match its serial numbers against anyone's real- world identity. But it said Tuesday it will allow customers to delete those numbers, anyway, although the numbers helped Comet keep an accurate census of its customers for marketing and billing purposes. Some Web sites pay Comet based on the number of visitors using the cursor-changing technology. Customers will be able to download a program from Comet's Web site, at www.cometsystems.com, to replace their serial number with a meaningless number that isn't unique. "If that's what we need to do to appease users, we'll do that," spokesman Ben Austin said. Comet's certification to Truste could take 45 to 60 days. But that organization only monitors data collected at a company's Web site, not by its stand-alone software programs. "We don't cover software privacy practices," Truste spokesman David Steer acknowledged. Critics said earlier that the company should have more openly disclosed the behind-the-scenes transmissions, which are made without warning. They also said it would not be difficult given today's technol- ogy'to begin correlating the Comet serial number with a consumer's identity if the company suddenly decided to or if Comet — with its extensive tracking database — were purchased by new owners willing to do that. "The typical guy who goes to Best Buy and buys a computer and installs this soft- Ware, he'll never know about this stuff," said programmer Dave Gale of Tampa, Fla. "It's like a toy, but you wouldn't expect a toy to follow you around on the Internet." Steer, the spokesman for Truste, said other companies also undoubtedly are clandestinely monitoring the online behavior of their customers. "I believe there are a lot of other software companies that are collecting personal information and not disclosing it," he said. "That is just no longer acceptable." By DERRILL HOLLY Associated Press WASHINGTON — Despite the lowest level of alcohol-related traffic deaths in 16 years, a survey suggests that most Americans don't know how many drinks they can imbibe in their states without driving home drunk. "Seventy-eight percent of the drivers who were polled did not know what constituted drunk driving," said John C. Lawn, chairman of the Century Council, which commissioned the survey of 1,004 adults conducted in early November. The group wants more public education and stepped-up enforcement of drunken-driving laws to reduce the rate of alcohol-related accidents. Alcohol was a factor in road accidents that killed 15,936 people last year in the United States. "We must do a much better job in getting that hard-core drunk driver off the roads," said Lawn. The Century Council is funded by the spirits industry to promote efforts against underage drinking and drunken driving. In the survey, the typical respondent said the maximum legal blood alcohol level was .20 percent. Actually, 17 states and the District of Columbia use .08 percent, and 33 states allow the higher limit of .10 percent. All 50 states and the district allow no alcohol in the blood of drivers under 21 years old. Respondents were asked about the amount of beer, wine or liquor that a 170-pound man or 135-pound woman could consume in one hour before their blood alcohol level reached .08 percent. Just 21 percent knew the man could have three to four servings, while a woman would have to limit her consumption to just over two drinks. Experts contend that a lower fluid to mass ratio makes women more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. Just 16 percent of those asked knew that 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits contain the same amount of alcohol as 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The survey was released as many law-enforcement agencies gear up for increased enforcement of drunken-driving laws with sobriety checkpoints and other tactics during the year-end holiday season. "We will have additional patrols out especially on weekends," said U.S. Park Police Capt. Bill Lynch, who coordinates traffic enforcement on federal roadways in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. When quality counts... Matt's Custom Tree Care A BAD HAIRCUT LASTS WEEKS, A BAD TREE JOB LASTS FOREVER! Call Today: 462-6496 Instant background checks halt 1160,000 gun sales iii^first year ; ?y MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN Dissociated Press ~j£WASHINGTON — More than 1,000 people, nearly three-quar- i/'of them convicted felons, !re barred from buying a gun •jltorjrig the first year of computer*"^ J instant criminal background ks, the Justice Department .V!>he overwhelming majority of ion would-be gun buyers £ approved during the year, checks took seconds and all were complete within two hours. Combined with the 312,000 handeun purchases barred during thejjtanual checks in effect from Feb-^28, 1994, through Nov. 30, 199$ the Brady Act has barred a totalpf more than 470,000 prohibited* people from acquiring firearms, the department said Tuesday. S(ate and local authorities did background checks under the old system. Under the National Instant r £itiminal Background Check Sys- aeB that began Dec. 1, 1998, the tfjBJ (toes about half the checks and sfates do the remainder. Since the computerized system began, rifles and other long guns, as well as handguns, have been covered. "The system has proven to be highly effective, performing more than 8.7 million checks in its first 12 months," Attorney General Janet Reno said. "Keeping guns out of the wrong hands has been critical to the success of our strategy for reducing gun violence and ... (has) contributed to the unprecedented 7 1/2-year decline in crime in this country." President Clinton said in a statement: "These ... are not just numbers. They represent lives saved, injuries avoided, tragedies averted." And the president announced that the Treasury Department on Tuesday began a new computerized program.'called Online LEAD, to help local police use gun-tracing data to catch illegal gun traffickers. The FBI said 71 percent of the checks it handled resulted in immediate approvals for the gun sale, with these checks taking an average of 30 seconds once the relevant data was entered by gun store sales clerks. Within two hours, checks have been completed on 95 percent of all potential sales. Only five out of 100 checks took longer. The FBI and states have up to three days to complete the checks and halt the sale or the gun can be sold. Of the prospective buyers denied firearms in FBI checks, 72 percent were felons, 12 percent were convicted of domestic violence, 4 percent were abusers of illegal drugs, i 3 percent were subject to domestic violence restraining orders and 3 percent were fugitives from justice. The remaining 6 percent included the mentally ill, those with dishonorable military discharges, those who have renounced U.S. citizenship and illegal aliens. Some states have other categories of prohibited purchasers as well. The National Rifle Association and gun advocates have criticized the Justice Department fbV'lliarg- ing only a tiny fraction of those denied guns with illegally attempting to buy a gun. Reno and other Justice officials have responded that the law was basically designed to stop the illegal sales and that prosecuting all the denied people would swamp the federal courts. But they predict more federal prosecutions of repeat gun-purchase offenders in the future. The department said the FBI handled 4.37 million checks and the states handled 4.34 million during the last year. The FBI denied more than 80,000 gun sales and, based on data from the states, estimated that the states also denied more than 80,000. 900,000 youth basketball nets recalled Associated Press WASHINGTON —Franklin Sports, Huffy Sports and Lifetime Products are recalling more than 900,000 toy and youth basketball nets that could injure children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that children could strangle in loops or openings that come unhooked from the rim or have knots that slide; The commission has a report of a 3-year-old boy getting hfij*tie"ad and neck caught in the basketball net. No injuries have been reported. The nets are included in bas- ketball sets that come in a variety of colors and include a nylon net and hoop attached to a plastic, youth-sized pole. The pole is set in a plastic base and adjusts from 3 to 6 feet high. The recalled basketball sets are called "Slam Dunk Youth Basketball Set," made by Franklin Sports, "Youth One- On-One," by Huffy Sports and "Shoot Case," by Lifetime Products. The manufacturer's name is on the backboard, base or hoop of each toy. Toy, sporting goods, mass merchandise and discount department stores sold the bas- ketball sets nationwide since 1993 for $13.to $40; Replacement basketball sets now being sold have nets that are attached securely to the rim and are not involved in this recall. The commission recommends customers immediately remove and throw away the recalled nets and call the manufacturers for a safe replacement. ' The numbers: —Franklin Sports 877-7301962 —Huffy Sports 800-5585234, www.huffysports.com —Lifetime Products 800-2423865, www.lifetime.com Ukiah Recycles! Solid Wastes Systems, Inc. is up and running with our new recycling Processing building, shown in the photo below Since completing construction and beginning operations in April the following amounts* of materials have been processed, baled, and shipped to market from out new facility: April Mav June • July Aug. Sept. Oct. Cardboard..307454 193880 204460 305560 495720 429780 275140 Paper. 277160434320 414900 397820 575640 454860 382580 * amounts shown are in pounds In addition to the material shown above that was baled and shipped from the Taylor Road recycling facility we also have processed and shipped recycled materials from our buy-back center and drop-off recycling locations as well as our curbside recycling and commercial recycling collection programs. The amounts of glass, plastic, tin & aluminum cans, junk metal, tires, oil & antifreeze, and batteries for the same months are: April Mav June July Aug. Sept. Oct. *222860 303320 295300 192340 321810 203131 411478 For the seven month period since completing the recycling processing center a total of 7,099,513 pounds(or 3,549 tons) of materials have been shipped to market from the Ukiah Solid Waste Taylor Road Recycling Center. Solid Wastes Systems, Inc* wants to thank the City and Residents of Ukiah and everyone that has helped contribute to the success of our new recycling processing center. Happy Holidays!
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