Nation briefs 11/7/03

Friday, November 7, 2003

Program to help security agencies with translation

PHOENIX -- The government critically needs translators and interpreters to plow through an overflow of documents and audiotapes that could contain information on terrorist plots and other security threats, the director of a new federal translation program said Thursday.

The government is looking for linguists who can decipher both classified and sensitive material, said Everette Jordan, director of the National Virtual Translation Center.

"The work we have right now we measure by the truckload. That's why we need all the help we can get," Jordan said.

The Washington-based center, which will assist the FBI, CIA and other security agencies, will use private translators who can telecommute and begin working on documents that other government linguists have not been able to work on, Jordan said. The idea is to help overloaded government linguists.

Ferry captain cites Fifth Amendment in interview

NEW YORK -- The captain of a Staten Island ferry that slammed into a pier, killing 10 people, repeatedly invoked his right against self-incrimination Thursday under questioning by federal investigators.

Capt. Michael Gansas, appearing before investigators for the first time, gave his name and age but refused to answer any questions about the Oct. 15 crash, said National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Ellen Engelman.

"We hope we will be able to talk to Capt. Gansas again in the future," Engelman said.

The NTSB has interviewed more than 50 witnesses, including every crew member except Gansas and pilot Richard Smith, who has been hospitalized since attempting suicide after the crash.

Two dead, three injured in workplace shooting

WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- A man with two handguns opened fire Thursday at a trucking company, killing two employees and wounding three, then fled in a van, authorities said. Police later arrested a former employee of the company at a truck stop 50 miles away in Indiana.

Indiana State Police identified the man arrested as Tom West, who, according to West Chester police, had worked for the trucking company until 2001 and had been named a suspect in the shootings.

West had not been charged as of Thursday morning. Authorities said his appearance matched the suspect's description down to the green jacket he was wearing.

Greenspan: Economy poised for creating jobs

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan delivered an upbeat assessment of economic prospects, saying Thursday the odds "increasingly favor" a revival in job growth.

However, he also warned about long-term threats posed by the soaring federal budget deficit. If that red-ink problem is not brought under control by the time Baby Boomers start retiring, it could have "notable, destabilizing effects" on future growth prospects, he said.

In the debate over how to fix the deficit problem, Greenspan sided with President Bush and the Republicans, who argue that government spending should be cut to deal with the deficit rather than raising taxes.

-- From wire reports

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